Young Adult Review: Being Mary Bennet by J.C. Peterson

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See what we thought about this Pride and Prejudice retelling with a twist in our review of Being Mary Bennet by J.C. Peterson. A funny coming of age young adult book.

Disclosure: I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. This post contains affiliate links. That means we receive a small commission at no cost to you from any purchases you make through these links.


YOUNG ADULT

Being Mary Bennet
by J.C. Peterson

Standalone
Released: March 15, 2022
384 Pages | ebook

read this book if you’re in the mood for

friends to lovers | funny | characters you love | sweet read

I’ve had this e-arc for a while, and I kept starting it on an off. But I’m so glad I committed to it, because it ended up being such a moving but fun story!

Marnie Barnes has always felt like an outsider in her own family. Next to her sisters, she’s always the one in the shadows, with nothing special to claim as her own. Which is why winning this year’s annual Hunt Prize is so important to her; her sister, Lindy – aka the Barnes’ very own Elizabeth Bennett – won when she was a senior, so maybe if Marnie wins, her family will finally notice her. Marnie embarks on a mission to root out and destroy all traces of the unnoticeable sister, the Mary Bennett, within her and become a new Marnie. But with the help of an animal shelter, her outgoing roommate, and a cute love interest, she begins to learn that she doesn’t have to cast off the “old” Marnie to find herself – and that perhaps she can be the hero in her own story.

This book was so so so good! It’s primarily a coming-of-age sort of story, where the main character Marnie goes from seeing herself as the “Mary Bennet” of her family, invisible and replaceable, to understanding who she is and what she contributes to the world, regardless of anyone’s perception of her. I personally related a lot to her thought process and many of her actions. I’m an enneagram 6w5, and I’m convinced Marnie is a 5w6 because of these similarities. Many of her insecurities are doubts she’s internalized and projected onto others, and in this book, we get to see her realize this and learn how to overcome her self-doubt and believe in herself. She also reconnects with her family as she realizes her exclusion is partially self-inflicted, due to her own assumptions. I identified with her internal conflicts and found myself inspired by the end.

So don’t expect a fluffy, happy story – I mean, it is that, but it’s also got its fair share of emotional damage. I was on a bus ride with a bunch of my classmates while reading at one point, and something incredibly sad happened. Just giving y’all a fair warning because I was literally crying at this dang book.

But on to the fluffy stuff! There are so many laugh-out-loud moments, and Marnie is the kind of dryly sarcastic that I love in a narrator! And I can’t neglect the romance – Whit is absolutely perfect, in every way, my goodness I love him. And he’s perfect for Marnie; their personalities fit so well together, and they had me giggling many times.

It’s not a five-star read simply because there were a couple of story elements that didn’t feel as true to her character, but I won’t mention them specifically because *spoilers*. But overall, it didn’t affect my reading experience!

in conclusion

I definitely recommend this book! It is cute, but also moving! I didn’t feel like I had read anything like it before, which I don’t feel often with YA contemporary romance. I really liked the characters; they took me on quite the emotional journey, and I’m grateful I got to experience it! I recommend this one to readers who enjoy YA contemporary romance but want something fresh, something that’s fun yet emotional, that’s clever and inspiring.

“To us tower-bound women. Break free.”

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Amy R

Thanks for the review.