Genres: F/F Romance, Contemporary Fiction, Retelling, Young Adult
I received an eARC of this book from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
Most Ardently is the story of Elisa Benitez, the second of five sisters, who starts taking classes at University, where she meets the insufferable, cold and condescending Darcy. She’s tall, beautiful and… fifthly rich. Elisa despises her, admires her and is determined that, no matter what, Darcy is the kind of girl she could never fall for.
This is a YA F/F retelling of Pride and Prejudice – what else did I really need to know to pick this up? I’ve read quite a few retellings of P&P, which is one of my favorite books of all times, and this one is among my favorites! It’s a light-hearted hate-to-love romcom, with a half-Black lesbian girl (Darcy) and a bisexual Latina (Elisa). This is a lovely read which also touched on sensitive topics like student loan debt, consent, statutory rape. But while these topics were treated seriously and are quite relevant to the story, it didn’t make the novel emotionally difficult to read.
Elisa is also a great fat rep, with only one comment on her weight in the whole novel (made by one of the characters you’re not supposed to like), and isn’t really repeated through the novel – I loved how not a big deal this was at all. I was admittedly confused by Darcy being called Darcy in the retelling, because the name immediately made me think of the actor from the movie, so I had to remind myself this was a teenage girl. The side characters were fantastic, so well-rounded.
I loved this novel, it was so sweet and cute and made me smile a lot. I think it’s a great romcom, although it has some plot flaws in my opinion, that work to make the story fit into P&P’s plot better, but still could be a little odd if you don’t know the original story. So I’m not sure it stands on its own, but it surely works well if you are willing to suspend disbelief and enjoy the love story.