Sass & Serendipity (review)
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Reviewed by
Ziegler, Jennifer. Sass & Serendipity. Delacorte, 2011. 371p Library ed. ISBN 978-0-385-90762-0 $18.99 Trade ed. ISBN 978-0-385-73898-9 $15.99 E-book ed. ISBN 978-0-375-89681-1 $15.99 R Gr. 7–10.

Sisters Daphne and Gabby Rivera couldn’t be more different. Gabby is super-serious and hyper-responsible with a strong cynical streak where love is concerned, while Daphne is a hopeless romantic, spinning a chance encounter with a new boy at school into a full-fledged fantasy of true love and destiny. Predictably, the girls agree on very little, with Gabby continually preaching and Daphne feeling unjustly put upon. When their landlord raises their rent beyond what they can afford, Daphne goes into denial while Gabby tries to help their divorced, cash-strapped mother find a new place; against Gabby’s wishes, they end up living on the grounds of the town’s richest family, which includes a very good-looking boy whom Gabby feels she has reason to loathe beyond class jealousy. Since the girls’ characterizations and circumstances are based loosely on Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, there are few surprises in the plot arc; that predictability doesn’t detract from story’s appeal, though, which lies largely in the details of the girls’ relationships with each other and their respective crushes. Like real sisters, the girls bicker with stamina and enthusiasm; like their classical counterparts, each sister learns the lesson about love that she needs: Gabby to be more open and forgiving, and Daphne to temper her dreams with something a bit closer to reality, with the modern twist of negotiating parental divorce and high-school gossip. Readers who savor realistic sibling stories with shades of romance will enjoy this homage to Jane Austen.

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