A LOVE FOR THE PAGES
by Joy Penny
If you’re a classics fan, Joy Penny’s A Love for the Pages may be the book for you. Taking from three of romance’s timeless stories, Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, and Wuthering Heights, A Love for the Pages is the story of soon-to-be-college sophomore June Eyermann. June’s home for the summer and being pressured by her mother and stepfather to find the “right” internship, one that will end with a recommendation bound to increase her social status. June’s trying hard to be the obedient daughter so when she takes a volunteer position at the local library she needs to convince them that spending her days surrounded by her beloved books will help her check that block. When she meets Everett Rockford, son of the town’s wealthiest family and patron of the library, June is sure she’s found the way to make everyone happy. What she doesn’t realize is that Everett is the worse part of her three favorite book boyfriends: Mr. Darcy, Mr. Rochester, and the brooding Heathcliff.
Tagged as New Adult/Coming of Age, A Love for the Pages misses the mark for this genre. June is likable enough but falls short of being a mature 19-year-old. Her narration sounds like it belongs to a high school girl and this becomes very distracting as the book progresses. The premise is clever and reminiscent of Rainbow Rowell’s FanGirl as June is reluctant to leave the fantasy world of books behind for the real world. Living your life inside of a book tends to make one rather dramatic and June is definitely vying for the title of Drama Queen. Even as she participates in a battle of wills with the grumpy Mr. Rockford, she appears to be pining for Sinjin, the younger (still in high school), best friend of her brother who she attended a few high school dances with, leaving me feeling like I’ve picked up a Young Adult novel rather than a coming of age story.
The book was easy to read, Penny’s storytelling solid and descriptive, the narrative dramatic, as mentioned, but it also paints vivid scenes, especially the meet-cute between June and Everett. But, honestly, there were times I missed the inside joke because I haven’t read Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights (gasp, I know, I saw the movies though). Scenes that should have been familiar weren’t and that disrupted the pacing, limiting my enjoyment. There was enough of Pride and Prejudice for me to recognize many of the supporting characters. Everett’s best friend, Blake, is clearly P&P’s Mr. Bingley, June’s parents sounded enough like the beleaguered Mrs. Bennett to make me dislike them, but I couldn’t place June’s unlikable best friends or her brother and Sinjin. Maybe it’s my fault for not being better read, but it was distracting.
There is romance in this story, a hint of it between June and Sinjin, but it’s the bad-tempered Mr. Rockford that is this book’s hero. Unfortunately, I was rooting for Sinjin because he seemed better suited for our heroine. The relationship between June and Everett goes from nothing to him being in love faster than you can say “You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” And I hate being negative about this because Penny is talented and the idea of this book is brilliant, it just falls short of expectations.
Three stars. Heat level: none. *I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*
A Love for the Pages was published in June 2014 by Joy Penny.
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