Are you ready for another round of my favorite young adult adaptations of Jane Austen's novels? This time, my picks include Tirzah Price's murder mystery series, A. K. Pittman's 1980s-inspired take on Pride and Prejudice, queer romances from Rachael Lippincott, Rey Terciero, and L. C. Rosen that are perfect for readers of all ages, and more! If you want to round out your 2024 TBR with a few more Austenian novels before the year is in full swing, you should definitely add these fun, fresh YA retellings to your Goodreads shelf. (PS. If you missed Part I of my YA round-up series, you can read it here!)
Pudge and Prejudice
A. K. Pittman
This totally tubular Pride and Prejudice adaptation will take you all the way back to the rockin’ 80s! Fans of Eleanor & Park and Freaks and Geeks will delight in the nostalgic undertones of Pudge and Prejudice, which follows Elyse Nebbit’s search for belonging at a new high after her family moves to Northenfield, Texas. When her sister Jayne starts dating the charming, popular Charlie Bingley, Elyse meets her own match in Charlie’s brooding best friend, Billy Fitz. But first, Elyse must reckon with her complicated relationship to her own body and learn to accept herself for who she is, “pant size and all.”
Pride and Premeditation
Calling all fans of Holly Jackson and Enola Holmes—especially if you like your murder mysteries dressed in Regency garb! In the first book of her Jane Austen-inspired series, Tirzah Price re-imagines Pride and Prejudice as a thrilling high-profile murder case. When Mr. Bingley is accused of a scandalous crime, Lizzie Bennet takes it upon herself to prove herself as a capable lawyer and ensure justice is served. Unfortunately, Mr. Bingley’s existing representative, the snobbish Mr. Darcy hailing from a rival law firm, is stepping on her toes at every turn, but with a killer on the loose, they must work together to destroy the evil threatening to destroy their beloved London.
Sense and Second-Degree Murder
Sense and Second-Degree Murder, the second novel in Tirzah Price’s Jane Austen-inspired series, follows Elinor and Marianne Dashwood from (you guessed it!) Sense and Sensibility in the aftermath of their dear father’s death. When Elinor, an astute aspiring chemist, finds Mr. Dashwood dead in his study, she suspects foul play, and she and her sisters embark on a quest to discover the identity of his killer. But as her half-brother John and his insufferable wife Fanny invade their home and take over the family business, the sisters must race against the clock to restore justice and save themselves from sharing their father’s dire fate.
Following Pride and Premeditation and Sense and Second-Degree Murder, Tirzah Price’s adaptation of Mansfield Park follows Fanny Price’s investigation into the murder of her uncle, Thomas Bertram, a wealthy art dealer. Fanny’s budding relationships with Edmund Bertram—and in a twist of fate—Mary Crawford, as well as the delightful surprise reappearance of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, lend this queer retelling further dramatic appeal. Of all Price’s Austen-inspired novels, Manslaughter Park definitely takes the most creative liberties with its source material, but it’s nevertheless a YA adaptation you won’t want to miss!
In this charming adaptation of Sense and Sensibility, sisters Plum and Ginny could not be more different, and their family could not be more dysfunctional. While fifteen-year-old Plum is introverted, practical, and academically motivated, eighteen-year-old Ginny, is boisterous and dramatic, utterly consumed by the college admission process. When their widowed mother loses her primary source of income, they must overcome their differences to keep their family together while simultaneously juggling financial stressors and budding romances. Thornburgh’s examination of sisterhood is insightful and funny—and according to Kirkus Reviews, Ordinary Girls passes the Bechdel Test with flying colors.
Secrets in the Snow
We’ll admit, we cheated a bit with this pick—it’s not an adaptation at all, but rather a fictionalized account of young Jane Austen’s life, complete with murder, espionage, and a dash of romance. Jane’s family seems intent on marrying her off to the first eligible suitor who comes around, but Jane would rather write novels than waste time trying to find her perfect match. When the War Office accuses her cousin Eliza of treason, Jane must join forces with Mr. Tom Lefroy, the irritable, Darcy-esque nephew of one of her neighbors to prove her family’s innocence and clear Eliza’s name. Will she find herself falling for Tom along the way…? Read Secrets in the Snow to find out!
Pride and Prejudice and Pittsburgh
From the bestselling co-author of Five Feet Apart and She Gets the Girl comes a new sapphic rom-com that boldly defies the boundaries of space and time. When Audrey Cameron, a down-on-her-luck art student and Pittsburgh native, finds herself suddenly transported back to 1812 England, the last thing she expects is to fall head-over-heels for Lucy Sinclair, a regular Regency heroine. Lucy, tired of entertaining a repulsive suitor her father insists she marry, gladly welcomes Audrey into her life, twenty-first-century quirks and all. But will their love survive Audrey’s return to the present, or will two hundred years of distance destroy the love they’ve just managed to find?
If you’re a fan of graphic novels, this gothic Heartstopper-esque Northanger Abbey retelling is for you! Rey Terciero brings Catherine Morland and Mr. Tilney to life in Northranger as Cade and Henry, two Texas teens working on a ranch for the summer. Horror-obsessed Cade Muñoz, a closeted queer Latino in the American Southwest, is less-than-thrilled to be working on a ranch to earn extra money for his family, but when sparks fly between himself and Henry, the ranch owner’s handsome son, he decides farm life might not be too bad. But Henry is hiding something, and if Cade isn’t careful, his life might become a horror story of its own…
L. C. Rosen
If you grew up wishing Clueless were a just liiiiittle gayer, you’ll love this modern-day Emma retelling. Emmett Woodhouse has it all—wealth, status, privilege, and even self-awareness (sort of). When Harrison, his current study partner and occasional friend-with-benefits, announces his intentions of finding a real boyfriend, Emmett takes it upon himself to locate someone worthy of his affection. But though Emmett himself has sworn off love until the ripe old age of twenty-five, his budding feelings for Miles, a childhood friend, begin to challenge all he knows—or thinks he knows—about romance. Will Emmett’s misconstrued ideas sabotage both his and Harrison’s chance at a relationship, or will True Love prevail?
Prom & Prejudice
This short and sweet Pride and Prejudice retelling is one of our absolute favorites! Lizzie Bennet, a gifted piano prodigy at the elite Longbourn Academy for Girls, isn’t really into corsages and frilly dresses—after all, she’s too worried about maintaining her scholarship to care about something as shallow as prom. But when her best friend Jane begins to fall for Charles Bingley, Lizzie is unwillingly thrust into the company of his irksome, insensitive friend Will Darcy, whom she immediately loathes. Lizzie briefly finds a kindred spirit in local bad-boy Wick, but his inappropriate actions quickly force her to re-evaluate everything she thinks she knows about the people in her life, including Will, who might not be as horrible as she once imagined…
And that concludes my Jane Austen young adult adaptation spotlight! Did I miss any of your favorites? Be sure to let me know in the comments below. In the meantime, stay tuned for my upcoming article series on my favorite adult-targeted Austen adaptations, featuring several beloved JASP and Jane Austen & Co. veterans. You won't want to miss it!