Review Detail

Sixteen Scandals Featured
Young Adult Fiction 728
A PG Regency Novel
(Updated: January 26, 2021)
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
SIXTEEN SCANDALS by Sophie Jordan is a YA novel set in regency London. The story follows Primrose on her sixteenth birthday, after her mom drops the worst news ever: Prim won’t be coming out in society that night like she expected. In fact, Prim’s debut is completely postponed until her older sister, Astrid, is married off, and that task is proving more and more difficult. Determined to mark the special day, Prim sneaks away in the late evening with her friend, Olympia. They travel down to Vauxhaul, an island full of wonders, but they’re separated in a tavern brawl. Luckily for Prim, a handsome, young man, Jacob, swoops in to rescue her, and together, they embark on quite an adventure, making it a night Prim won’t soon forget.

This is the kind of story I absolutely love – it’s light, romantic, and funny. I actually found myself laughing out loud multiple times as the author does a great job with contrast. For instance, at the beginning of each chapter, we get an excerpt from a book on propriety about how young ladies are supposed to act. Then, in the following chapter, we get to see Prim break that rule. Prim feels suffocated by these expectations, and as such, sexism and gender are a few underlying themes. Through Prim, Jordan points out how unfair the lack of freedom is for women, in comparison to their male counterparts. She explores class differences as well.

That being said, there are a couple of elements keeping this book from truly shining. The first is the dialogue. It oftentimes feels like the characters just say phrases that the readers expect for this genre and time period, rather than being authentic. The pacing also feels rushed at the end. The whole time I was reading it, I was expecting this book to be a setup for a series, but then it sped up, making the ending less impactful.

With that in mind, SIXTEEN SCANDALS is perfect for new regency readers. It’s an enjoyable mashup of a more PG BRIDGERTON and a more adult CINDERELLA. It has a fairytale quality rather than a realistic one, and will appeal to readers with those sensibilities.
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