A Breath of Eyre
Eve Marie Mont
Released: March 27, 2012
You can read the Goodreads summary here.
There really was only one reason I wanted to read this book: Jane Eyre is my favorite piece of classic literature, so any sort of YA piece of fiction based off it is going to end up in my hands at some point. PaperBackSwap was being slow, so I was ecstatic to find this in my favorite little used book shop in Decatur. The YA section was filled with youths (*gasp!*) when I arrived and the one girl had it in her hand - I had to use some restraint to not snap it out of her hands and was happy she didn't actually want to buy it. So I bought it. For $3.99. It seriously made my day and I started reading it right away - something I never do.
Was it worth it? It certainly pulled me out of a funk, so I say yes, but the book only gets three and a half stars from this reader. I'll tell you why - it felt pretty basic to me. If the brief swearing and heavy petting and been removed, this very easily could have been a middle grade novel. Let me start at the beginning, here.
Emma Townsend has just turned sixteen when she returns to her boarding school for a new school year. She's glad to leave home because her step-mother isn't even coming close to filling her deceased mother's shoes, but things aren't super at school, either. She's looked down by the rich kids because she's on scholarship and she has a wicked crush on her English teacher. But she finds a new friend in her roommate and finds herself spending more time with a childhood friend attending a nearby school.
So Emma doesn't have a fantabulous life when she attends school, but it's not horrible either. Of course, things start getting really interesting when she decides to use Jane Eyre as the basis for her English thesis. When Emma is struck by lightening she finds herself waking not as herself, but as Jane, arriving at Mr. Rochester's Thornfield. Emma finds herself right in the plot of Jane Eyre! This was probably the most interesting part of the novel to me, the sections where Emma was Jane. I loved the way she fell into the story and how it mirrored her reality somewhat. It really made me want to reread Jane Eyre, which I haven't read since high school but still remains one of my favorite classics.
Of course, Emma's reality seems to be the more important part of the novel. She's struggling with friend and roommate issues, as well as a little bit of boy trouble. Emma and Gray have been friends for a long time, but they don't exactly fall in the same social circle. So when things with Gray start getting a little serious, Emma's a little confused by that. I loved watching the chemistry between Emma and Gray develop. They were each completely different people than they originally assumed. I was rooting for them, for sure.
Like I said, this one gets three and a half stars from me. I loved the premise and Emma's world traveling was as interesting to read about as her new romance. It really made me want to pick up and reread Jane Eyre again, which, by the way, you don't have to read in order to understand the plot of A Breath of Eyre. Even though I found it a bit basic and predictable, I will definitely be continuing on with this series when I can. Emma visits The Scarlet Letter in the next book!