“Picture Wednesday (the Netflix series), but less supernatural and more introspective, and that’s what reading this book felt like.”
Review by AnnaScott Cross
Never Have I Ever meets The X-Files in Amanda Quain’s Ghosted, a gender-bent contemporary retelling of the Jane Austen classic, Northanger Abbey.
Hattie Tilney isn’t a believer. Yes, she’s a senior at America’s most (allegedly) haunted high school, Northanger Abbey. But ever since her paranormal-loving dad passed away, she’s hung up her Ghostbusters suit, put away the EMF detectors and thermal cameras, and moved on. She has enough to worry about in the land of the living–like taking care of her younger brother, Liam, while their older sister spirals out and their mother, Northanger’s formidable headmistress, buries herself in her work. If Hattie just works hard enough and keeps that overachiever mask on tight through graduation, maybe her mom will finally notice her.
But the mask starts slipping when Hattie’s assigned to be an ambassador to Kit Morland, a golden retriever of a boy who’s transferred to Northanger on—what else—a ghost-hunting scholarship. The two are partnered up for an investigative project on the school’s paranormal activity, and Hattie quickly strikes a deal: Kit will present whatever ghostly evidence he can find to prove that campus is haunted, and Hattie will prove that it’s not. But as they explore the abandoned tunnels and foggy graveyards of Northanger, Hattie starts to realize that Kit might be the kind of person that makes her want to believe in something—and someone—for the first time.
With her signature wit and slow burn romance, Amanda Quain turns another Austen classic on its head in this sparkling retelling that proves sometimes the ghosts are just a metaphor after all.
Release Date: 7/25/23
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance | Retelling
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own, and I am writing a voluntary review.
Picture Wednesday (the Netflix series), but less supernatural and more introspective, and that’s what reading this book felt like. It is a (very loose) gender-bent Northanger Abbey retelling, where Henrietta (Hattie) Tilney has sworn off ghosts despite attending a school that is famous for its many ghosts. In walks Kit Morland (a fan of all things supernatural) and a shared assignment on Northanger’s ghosts, and now Hattie has to come to terms with her past. To start with, I loved the creative way that Quain nods to the original Jane Austen novel. We even get a nod to the infamous Mysteries of Udolpho with Udolpho University. I also really appreciated where Quain landed with the whole ‘are ghosts real’ issue. Overall the story had fun, gothic vibes, mixed in with some excellent character development. My biggest complaint is that – aside from the nods to key elements of the original story – there isn’t really anything else that screams Jane Austen. Overall, I don’t really see the majority of Austen fans enjoying this story because the two are so different. That being said, it was good in it’s own right, but it was just a bit disappointing as a retelling. Overall it was a fun read! The only caveat is that I would be more likely to recommend it to fans of Wednesday instead of fans of Jane Austen.
Action & Gore:
2. Very mild action (mentions common injuries like broken bones, without gruesome details).
Romance & Spice:
4. A bit more moderate content (fade-to-black scenes/ no on-page scenes).
Cursing & Vulgarity:
5. Infrequent moderate cursing (mild curse words paired with 2/3 strong words. Think PG-13).
Other Trigger Warnings:
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