Thursday, June 1, 2017

seeking mansfield: stardust arc reviews

Seeking Mansfield
Kate Watson

release date: May 16 by Flux



Sixteen-year-old Finley Price has perfected two things: how to direct a world-class production, and how to fly way, way under the radar. The only person who ever seems to notice Finley is her best friend, the Bertram's son Oliver. If she could just take Oliver's constant encouragement to heart and step out of the shadows, she'd finally chase her dream of joining the prestigious Mansfield Theater.

When teen movie stars Emma and Harlan Crawford move next door to the Bertram's, they immediately set their sights on Oliver and his cunning sister, Juliette, shaking up Finley and Oliver's stable friendship. As Emma and Oliver grow closer, Harlan finds his attention shifting from Juliette to the quiet, enigmatic, and thoroughly unimpressed Finley. Out of boredom, Harlan decides to make her fall in love with him. Problem is, the harder he seeks to win her, the harder he falls for her.

But Finley doesn't want to be won, and she doesn't want to see Oliver with anyone else. To claim Oliver's heart—and keep her own—she'll have to find the courage to do what she fears most: step into the spotlight.

full review under the cut!

 Thanks so much to Flux and Netgalley for letting me read this one! Mansfield Park is absolutely one of my favorite books ever, so you can imagine my utter joy when I received this book! And let me tell you, it did not disappoint! I think that this is the perfect modern retelling of the Austen classic. I loved the ways that the story was kept similar and I loved the ways that it was changed or updated for a modern day story. I think this was a totally adorable and endearing read, and I would definitely recommend it to you, even if you haven't read Mansfield Park itself, I definitely think you would still enjoy this book.

Mansfield Park is the story of Fanny Price, who grows up extremely poor, as she is being sent to live with her aunt and uncle, who are rich, so they can improve her quality of life. Seeking Mansfield is about Finley Price, a girl with a dead father and a mother in jail, being raised by the Bertrams, who were close to her father. Fanny is in love with Edmund Bertram, and Finley is in love with Oliver Bertram. See the pattern here? A lot of the elements from the original story are taken and updated (esp the whole falling in love with your cousin thing, which I appreciate). I also like how this book gives Finley more spunk and drive than Fanny originally had, and how Oliver is not as oblivious as Edmund was.

Okay, I'm done comparing this book to Mansfield Park, let's just talk about this as a whole. I really liked Finley as a character, I thought she was really great to be along for the ride with. She was fiesty and knew what she wanted, but she also had a lot of unresolved things still going on from the death of her father. It was nice to see her develop throughout the book, and I really liked that she went from this person who was super content to be invisible to someone who was okay with being really seen every once in awhile. I also liked that she was strong in a way that a lot of these characters weren't, because she provided the sort of moral backbone that the rest of the story and the characters went from. Oliver was an equally enjoyable character. I really liked how he and Finley both had feelings for each other from the beginning, but they both thought it might be a bad idea to act upon them. I really love when two characters obviously like each other but have to go through some stuff before they realize they need to do something about their feelings. I think Oliver also changed over the course of this book, from someone who wanted to protect and better everyone to someone who realizes that it's okay to focus on himself from time to time. Together, I think Finley and Oliver were so cute, and even though I knew a lot of shit was going to go down, I was always shipping them and looking forward to the moment when they would get together.

I loved that this book took the Crawfords and made them into teenage movie stars, I think that was a perfect way to update the original material! I have to say that I liked Emma and Harlan wayy more than Henry and Mary from the original book. I was so hopeful for Emma, because I wanted her to be friends with Finley and not fall into the mean girl trope, and she didn't! It was so great! She and Finley actually got along and I think she really liked her, before the falling out caused by Harlan. (sorry, not really a spoiler tho because this is a retelling) Harlan was okay. I didn't trust him for one second, because I knew what was coming, but I was still pleasantly surprised by how I was inclined to like him despite myself. I love the idea of the paparazzi getting involved and exposing the cheating, instead of Fanny/Finley simply stumbling across it. There's a lot of good drama involved already when Harlan and Emma become movie stars, so I liked that aspect a lot.

I just thought this book was a lot of fun. I liked that Finlety's dad was a movie star, and that is why Finley loves the theater so much. I loved the relationship between Oliver's parents and Oliver, and Oliver's parents and Finley. I liked the drama and the scandal and the back and forth between Oliver and Finley, because it was all at once very Austenian and very modern at the same time. I would absolutely recommend this as a summer read, it definitely hooked me from the start!


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