Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 531
Jo & Laurie
(Updated: July 04, 2020)
Overall rating 
 
3.3
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
Jo March is surprised at how well her novel LITTLE WOMEN has done. Now her publisher and readers want a sequel. She's asked by her publisher to write a happily-ever-after ending to all her characters. Only Jo's having a hard time writing this. Her life has some unexpected twists like her father staying in the South to help with rebuilding and Beth's serious illness. Then Laurie proposes after a trip to New York. When Beth rejects his proposal, Laurie goes off to college. She goes back to her writing. Only she gets a case of major writer's block and her finished work is rejected. When Laurie comes back to Concord with a new girlfriend, Jo life takes an unexpected turn. Should she continue on the path of being independent or follow her heart?

What worked: Okay, confession time. When I read LITTLE WOMEN as a tween I hated that Jo turned Laurie down. I mean, they were perfect together. I didn't quite buy the whole Laurie and younger sister Amy together. It felt forced and too sudden to me. So when I found out Stohl and De La Cruz did a retelling? I wanted to read that novel. And I wasn't disappointed!

In this 'What if' scenario Jo doesn't know what to think of her modest success with LITTLE WOMEN. Readers get to meet the same characters they loved in the original story, but Stohl and De La Cruz fleshed them out a little more. I really enjoyed seeing the dynamics of the 'real' sisters and I loved Laurie even more!

Jo suffers from doubt, writer's block, and a driving motivation to succeed at writing in a mostly male's world. Meg is the older, prim sister, but unlike the original novel, she also has her own insecurities and fears. Amy is younger in this novel and suffers a devastating illness that brings everyone together.

I really enjoyed this engaging historical, though at times the pacing was slow. It does pick up, especially during Amy's illness and Jo's struggles on her writing. The romance is sweet, not only with Jo and Laurie, but Meg and Brooke.

Sweet retelling of LITTLE WOMEN where Jo struggles to write the perfect sequel and finds that truth is stronger than fiction.
Good Points
1. Sweet retelling of LITTLE WOMEN
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