Teen Art & Lit — Book Reviews
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Sense and Sensibility
by Jane Austen
Sense and Sensibility, by Jane Austen, best known for her undisputed masterpiece Pride and Prejudice, like all Austen's work, shines with hilarious wit and breathtaking romance. The premise: Elinor, a young aristocrat, is in love with the handsome Edward (no, Edward isn't a vampire) who is seemingly unattainable. Unfortunately, the book is flawed with the frustrating aspect of Austen's style: her old-fashioned storytelling. Nowhere is it more annoying than at the very end. (Major spoiler alert.) "...about three hours after his arrival, he had secured his lady..." That is how we discover, after anticipating it since chapter three; Elinor has obtained the love of Edward! Hmmm… does that seem a bit underdone and anticlimactic to you? (End of spoiler alert.) However, the book is thoroughly entertaining. It's exceptionally funny (My mother says I laughed out-loud when I read it a lot.) One finds it easy to sympathize with the characters. One may even find it relevant to one's own life: after all, who hasn't felt heartache after a shattered romance with a man or woman? Or fallen in love only to discover that the one you feel passion for can never be won? Can any of us honestly say we have never been in the same situation as the protagonists of this story? Other books by Jane Austen: Mansfield Park, Emma, Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion.
Five Children and It
by Edith Nesbit
Although best known for The Railway Children, E. Nesbit is one of the great masters of the Fairytale genre, alongside such geniuses as Christopher Paolini (Eragon) and C.S. Lewis (The Chronicles of Narnia.) But these stories existed before the Narnia books. It was Nesbit who invented the idea of children of the (then) current time period encountering magic of past traditions. Like the immortal Narnia books, E. Nesbit’s novelettes are easy reading and rather tame, intended for children. At the same time, the plots are riveting, the characters are well realized, and comedy enlivens the stories. Wet Magic and The Enchanted Castle are good examples, but The Five Children and It is among Nesbit’s greatest achievements. The premise: five children (duh) encounter a comical, grumpy being who grants wishes, but the wishes seem to only lead to trouble and often danger. Full of charm and well worth reading, whatever your age. The Five Children and It is relevant to today, as similar books like Harry Potter continue to hit the shelves and fly off, continuing the tradition E. Nesbit began.