September 13, 2018

Review: Pride

Pride by Ibi Zoboi
Grade: B+
Release date: September 18, 2018
An e-galley was provided by HarperCollins via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: Zuri Benitez has pride. Brooklyn pride, family pride, and pride in her Afro-Latino roots. But pride might not be enough to save her rapidly gentrifying neighborhood from becoming unrecognizable.

When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, Zuri wants nothing to do with their two teenage sons, even as her older sister, Janae, starts to fall for the charming Ainsley. She especially can’t stand the judgmental and arrogant Darius. Yet as Zuri and Darius are forced to find common ground, their initial dislike shifts into an unexpected understanding.

But with four wild sisters pulling her in different directions, cute boy Warren vying for her attention, and college applications hovering on the horizon, Zuri fights to find her place in Bushwick’s changing landscape, or lose it all.

In a timely update of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, critically acclaimed author Ibi Zoboi skillfully balances cultural identity, class, and gentrification against the heady magic of first love in her vibrant reimagining of this beloved classic.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Jane Austen retellings, when done well, are one of my favorite things. And in most areas, Pride succeeds and will be a P&P retelling I laud for years to come.
The Benitez sisters and family are great. Zuri, while annoyed by the youngest two, never hates them as much as Elizabeth dislikes Lydia and Kitty. Zuri looks out for all her sisters. I also appreciated the new life Marisol (Mary) is given in this retelling. She's still not super important, but she's fleshed out a bit. Even Caroline Bingley isn't as much of a villain in Pride, which is a positive and a negative. I appreciated less girl hate, but without her as opposition, there wasn't a clear antagonist always. The Wickham and Lady de Bourgh characters function as antagonists the most, but despite this, the back half of the book lacks a little substance to bring the plot full-circle and give it the strength of the original novel. I also expected something more akin to Renee Watson's This Side of Home, with the gentrification of Bushwick being addressed more fully rather than just being referenced at key moments. The ending came about as a surprise as a result.
The romances weren't quite as epic as the original, but I did root for Zuri and Darius and Janae and Ainsley. Jane and Ainsley's romance was super weak, though, which could be partly because of how the separation in P&P translates into a modern story. But I think it could've been written better.

Content warnings: a little foul language, underage drinking, references to pressuring young teen girls into taking sexual pictures.

The Verdict: Imperfect but fun and definitely something I'll recommend.

Will I be adding this book to my library?: Absolutely.

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