This modernization of Sense and Sensibility follows the classic book’s basic plot, with the action set mostly in today’s Hollywood.
Grace is steady and hopes for a career in science; Hallie’s determined to become an actress and routinely gives in to her volcanic emotions. Their father has just died without a will, leaving the girls’ socialite stepmother in complete control of the considerable fortune. She cuts the family off without a penny. The girls and their impractical artist mother move into the guesthouse owned by their TV–movie producer cousin in Beverly Hills. By then, sensible Grace has fallen for her stepmother’s brother, now out of reach at Stanford. Emotional Hallie meets musician Dakota and falls massively, almost catastrophically in love. McDonald’s update to Austen’s plot works. Broken into five parts, the story alternates between Grace and Hallie as lead characters. Readers can laugh at Hallie’s excesses and despair at Grace’s reticence, but both characters come across as admirable in the end.
Readers familiar with the original will enjoy seeing McDonald’s spin, and those who are not will get the benefit of the tried-and-true plot all the same. (Romance. 12 & up)