High school junior Franny Pearson reluctantly accepts a job sewing costumes for the renowned Mansfield College Summer Theater Program and finds herself in the middle of her own romantic drama.
Franny enjoys acting, but with her parents divorced and money tight, she settles for working as her aunt’s assistant in Mansfield’s program and is pleasantly surprised when an old friend, Julia Braverman, arrives for the program with her brother Alex. Franny’s always had a crush on kindhearted Alex. When she’s not sewing, Franny hangs out with the self-absorbed, well-to-do Mansfield students, who find her sympathetic and intelligent. She’s pleased and hopeful when Alex pays attention to her, even though he seems involved with another student. She’s confused and mildly irritated when flirtatious heartthrob Harry Cartwright pretends he’s attracted to her. Convinced Harry’s not serious, the flattered Franny flirts back with surprising results, leaving her even more confused about Alex and Harry. Bemused Franny’s first-person, present-tense voice gives humor and urgency to her firsthand chronicle of the vagaries of the human heart. The novel is loosely based on Mansfield Park, and unfortunately, the somewhat superficial teen characters and twisted plot pale in comparison with the original.
This light summer romance with a theater theme is good for a getaway but not much more. (Fiction. 13 & up)