Being Mary Bennet

Being Mary Bennet
Age Range
Release Date
March 15, 2022
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Acerbic and delightful, this YA rom-com about a girl who resolves to become the main character of her own story is perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Becky Albertalli.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that every bookworm secretly wishes to be Lizzie Bennet.

A less acknowledged truth is that Mary Bennet might be a better fit.

For seventeen-year-old Marnie Barnes, who’s convinced she is the long-suffering protagonist of her life, this revelation comes at the end of a series of self-induced disasters that force her to confront a devastating truth: Marnie has more in common with Mary Bennet—the utterly forgettable middle sister—than the effervescent Lizzie.

Determined to reinvent herself, she enlists the help of her bubbly roommate and opens herself up to the world—leading lady style. And between new friends, a very cute boy, and a rescue pup named Sir Pat, Marnie realizes that being the main character doesn’t mean rewriting your life entirely. It’s about finding the right cast of characters, the love interest of your dreams, and, most important, embracing your story, flaws and all.

With a hilariously sharp voice, a sweet and fulfilling romance that features a meet-cute in an animal shelter, and a big family that revels in causing big problems, this charming comedy of errors will have readers cheering for Marnie during every step of her obstacle-ridden journey toward embracing who she truly is.

Editor review

1 review
How do you become the main character of your own story?
(Updated: April 18, 2022)
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Marnie Barnes wishes she were like her favorite heroine, Lizzie Bennet. After several kerfuffles, Marnie realizes the devastating truth: she isn't Lizzie Bennet. She's Lizzie's unlikable, pedantic middle sister, Mary. Seeking to change her story, Marnie sets a plan to leave Mary Bennet behind and become someone better. Once Marnie gets out of her comfort zone with the help of supporting friends and even a supporting sister or two, Marnie starts to see that maybe there isn't anything wrong with herself or with Mary. Maybe it's less about changing yourself and more about accepting yourself.

BEING MARY BENNET is a cute retelling of Pride and Prejudice with a strong voice. Austen retellings are never in short supply in YA or Adult fiction, but recently, there has been an increase in retellings from different perspectives, such as Mary and Georgianna. I particularly enjoyed the focus on the "Mary" character in BEING MARY BENNET. Marnie isn't immediately likeable like most consider her sisters to be. She likes sharing statistics and facts, she values organization and accomplishments, and she isn't the smoothest at social interactions. At times, she can be petty and even occasionally mean. I love Marnie's journey in learning that everyone has their own strengths and their own flaws. What one person considers uptight, another may see thorough or dedicated. The important lesson is to embrace yourself as you are, rather than trying to wear someone else's personality, and to surround yourself with people that encourage and support you.

While I love the voice and Marnie's character arc, I wasn't as sold on the romance. Whit felt a little flat, and I would have loved more scenes with him and Marnie getting to know each other on a deeper level, especially since they spent a good portion of the story misinterpreting each other's signals.

Overall, BEING MARY BENNET is an ode to the Mary Bennets of the world. You do not have to be Lizzies or even Janes to be incredible.

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