Author: Eve Marie Mont
Publication Date: March 27, 2012
Purchased ebook via bn.com
I was totally excited about Eve Marie Mont's debut YA novel, A Breath of Eyre. Jane Eyre is one of my favorite novels, but I'm okay with taking liberties with it. Jasper Fforde has a ton of fun riffing on it in The Eyre Affair. A Breath of Eyre is getting a lot of love with positive reviews, including a starred review from Kirkus. But I got to tell you, I didn't feel the love so much.
Emma is a quiet, lonely girl at an exclusive prep school. She's the scholarship kid, so she keeps under the radar to steer clear of the mean girls. Her mother died when she was young, and she feels disconnected from her father and step-mother. She crushes on her English teacher and thinks cute boy Gray, whom she has known since she was little, is equally out of reach. She doesn't have any friends except for the books she reads. Then on one storm-filled night, she finds herself at Thornfield ...
I did enjoy how certain events in Emma's life mirrored Jane's and I think the contemporary sections work well. And Emma does grow as a character, from the quiet girl to someone who learns to speak her mind. Which is awesome.
But several things bumped me. The first time Emma enters Jane's world felt slow and went on too long without moving Emma's story forward. I know Jane's world has to be introduced, largely to an audience not familiar with it, but it really stalled for me.
Another thing that bumped me was not that Emma thought a certain character from Jane Eyre gets a bum rap, but that she thought this was an original and controversial idea. I so wanted to hand Emma a copy of Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys.
*SPOILER* And maybe it's just me, but the fourth (!) time Emma ends up in the hospital, I found it unintentionally funny.
So this one wasn't a complete winner for me, but I would recommend it to readers who enjoyed Entwined by Heather Dixon or The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor. This is also the beginning of a series, with Emma next visiting the world of The Scarlet Letter.
A Breath of Eyre book trailer: