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Guest Blog: Is Jane Eyre THE Ultimate YA Romace? Plus! Free Books!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Today's blog entry is from Kate Kingsley, author of Pretty On The Outside:

Why Jane Eyre Is the Ultimate Teen Romance Novel

The other day, I inadvertently exposed my geeky side to one of my good friends. I’d just found out that a new movie of Jane Eyre is coming out next year, starring Mia Wasikowska of Alice In Wonderland fame, and I practically started jumping up and down. Because to me, Jane Eyre is the ultimate teen romance novel.

“I really hope it’s a good adaptation,” I panted, “because I freaking love that book. I read it at least once every 3 years.”

My friend stared at me like I was insane. “Excuse me, are you talking about Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte?? I can’t stand that novel.”

I asked her why.

“I think it was high school that did it. They made us write essays about every single theme, and analyze every paragraph to death.”

That’s when I decided: I had to save one of my favorite books before high school tainted it for anyone else.

Ok, so maybe it sounds a little weird – Jane Eyre as the ultimate teen romance? After all, the book’s 150 years old. And it’s written in English that (I admit) is a little old-fashioned. But I’m sticking to my guns.

Jane has all the ingredients of a great teenage heroine. At the age of 18, she’s a brave, fiery, independent spirit. She doesn't have looks, money or family to fall back on. And she makes her way in life purely on her own brains and hard work. To me, that’s the essence of an awesome teenage girl: someone who breaks free from authority, who embarks on her own adventures. Someone who tries to find out who she really is, and begins to trust her own judgment.

The book’s passages where Jane talks about breaking free, exploring the horizon, and challenging herself resonate just as much with me now as they did when I was fourteen. I’m sure they were pretty powerful 150 years ago, too.

Then there’s the romance. Don’t worry, I’m not forgetting about that. In fact, I want to grab the book and read it again just thinking about all the sexual tension. Jane’s first love hits her like a lightning bolt. (In fact, there is an actual lightning bolt at one of the more prophetic moments.) She falls for her boss, Mr Rochester, who’s much older, much richer, and much more experienced – yep, basically out of her league.

To complicate matters, he has a terrible secret of his own. The language Jane uses when she writes about her love is deliciously passionate. Her ardor brews and smolders for pages upon agonizing pages. This book specializes in the kind of lingering, longing, unfulfilled love that I’m sure inspired contemporary teen novels like Twilight.

Which brings me to my final point. Vampires. Who needs them when you have what Jane Eyre offers – all-consuming love, remote mansions, and a mysterious presence in the attic with murder on its mind? But just in case you are a vampire fan, Jane Eyre even packs some blood-sucking action of its own. I won’t say any more on that topic, though. You gotta read it (or re-read it) yourself for that...


Thanks so much, Kate!

So, what do YOU think--is Jane Eyre the ultimate YA romance?

Let me know in the comments by midnight EST this Friday, October 1st, and one lucky person will win a copy of Kate's Pretty On The Outside AND an ARC of the upcoming Jane Eyre retelling, Jane, by April Linder AND a copy of the NYT bestseller The Haunted by Jessica Verday!

in addition to having a US mailing addy, please, PLEASE make sure you leave a way for me to contact you if you win! Also, congrats to Karen for winning last week's contest!


Blogger WindyA said...

Unfortunately, I'll have to agree that Jane Eyre was ruined by high school. However, many years out now, I may need to revisit and see if, perhaps, I can love it when I'm not forced to read it.

September 27, 2010 12:07 PM  
Blogger Natalie (Mindful Musings) said...

I LOVE this book! It's one of my favorite classics. I'm actually having to re-read it now for my British Novel class. So excited!

September 27, 2010 2:17 PM  
Blogger Spunk said...

SO I had read this book last year and it's one of my faves! I think it could qualify as a classic teen read. BUT the thing is for it to be a teen read, teens should Want to read it. Don't get me wrong, it's the best classic ive read along side pride and prejudice. And to me, the way it's written is far too modern for it's time. SO yeah, it's a great book. But a YA Romance? I don't think so. Who was the last teen (beside me haha) you would hear reading Jane Eyre willingly and happily? Not in this day and age. Now it is deffinitely the Ultimate Romance of literature... but thats a different genre for another time. =)


September 27, 2010 3:11 PM  
Blogger Haleyknitz said...

i agree with everything she said. i have two copies of it :P it's amazing! my mom read it outloud to us when we were little and i didn't fully respect it until i was older.


September 27, 2010 5:00 PM  
Blogger Kristina said...

Even though I haven't read Jane Eyre yet, my best friend has read it. She said that it was amazing, and was one of her favorite books of all time. I hope that I am not forced to read it in high school, because everytime I am forced to read a book, I always hated it for some reason. I would rather read it on my own time and understand it by myself. I have heard that it was one of the most used theme in many young adult books.

September 27, 2010 5:03 PM  
Blogger Kristina said...

oh and my email is jayhawks22@sunflower.com

September 27, 2010 5:08 PM  
Blogger Sandy Shin said...

I'm not sure if it's the ultimately YA Romance, but it is certainly a classic one, and one of my favorite romances, too. Jane is stronger than a lot of heroines, though. :)

September 27, 2010 7:32 PM  
Blogger Sandy Shin said...

Oh, I'm sorry -- and my email address is sandyshin7@gmail.com

September 27, 2010 7:37 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

I love Jane Eyre, for me it's almost as prominent as Romeo & Juliet. These types of books are what paved the way for YA today. So excited to see the new book.

Erin D.

September 27, 2010 8:11 PM  
Blogger Alicia said...

I've never read it, so I can't say, but it sounds like it could be.


September 27, 2010 8:16 PM  
Blogger twentyxfragments said...

I think Jane Eyre is ONE of the ultimate YA romances. There are many different plot lines in many different situations, and Jane Eyre effectively uses the gothic style and charm of the English classics. I love Jane Eyre!

September 27, 2010 10:00 PM  
Blogger DeNiSe said...

anything that writen by Charlotte Brontë tho I havent read Jane Eyre yet I'm getting there I'm sure like charlotte works its amazing I must pick it up denisemadness
denisemadness at yahoo dot com

September 27, 2010 11:15 PM  
Blogger The Lovely Reader said...

I love Jane Eyre. I was lucky enough to read it as a choice book in high school and can't get enough of it :)

barbrafl737 (at) yahoo (dot) com

September 28, 2010 7:24 AM  
Blogger Little_Dhampir91 said...

I absolutely LOVE the story of Jane Eyre! It's one of the classics that I can't help but love nor will ever forget! Jane herself is such a compelling character and by the time the book ends, you've learnt and read how much a person can change with love brought into the mix. It made Jane herself into one of those characters that you could fully respect! It's rare for a character to have that appeal, in my opinion.

I think one of the main reasons why the story is the ultimate YA romance is because it's filled with everything a romance story should have: a strong heroine who isn't liked based on her looks but on personality which is why I love Jane the way she is, then there's relationships (an important factor in the novel) and you see those relationships overcoming troubling situations as faced in the book, and of course, the most important element that every romance story should have is the viewing of each and every character's independence! The last one is important since Jane doesn't have to always depend on her love interest and/or other characters and Charlotte Bronte has written beautifully on how Jane is trying to get recognition of an individual's worth. When she was a child it seemed no one could accept her just being herself, but when the book ends, she's living life the way she wants with a person who accepts her own gifts and talents...if you know what I mean.

September 28, 2010 9:01 AM  
Blogger Little_Dhampir91 said...


(Forgot to add)

September 28, 2010 9:03 AM  
Blogger Anna said...

Hmmm...it does have many things a good YA novel needs: romance, a strong heroine, surprises, angst, a brooding male lead. But I did read it as a young teen age, and my reaction at the time was that Rochester was a total creepy loser. Of course, that changed with time, but it still leaves feeling at my gut that it's not THE ultimate. At least, not for me! (annareadsbooks@gmail.com)

September 28, 2010 2:12 PM  
OpenID bunkercomplex said...

Anything gothic will usually make me swoon, and the fact that I was able to get around reading/analyzing it to death in High School also makes me happy.


September 28, 2010 7:37 PM  
Blogger Lena said...

I absolutely love, love, love Jane Eyre!

"Gentle reader, may you never feel what I then felt? May your eyes never shed such stormy, scalding, heart-wrung tears as poured from mine. May you never appeal to Heaven in prayers so hopeless and so agonized as in that hour left my lips; for never may you, like me, dread to be the instrument of evil to what you wholly love."


September 28, 2010 10:07 PM  
Blogger Jane said...

We are watching the movie of Jane Eyre in my English class, and I am falling in love... so much in love that I am fully intending on picking up a copy as soon as I can spare a few dollars.

If the movie is this good, I can't IMAGINE how amazing the book is!


September 28, 2010 10:20 PM  
Blogger dreaming days away said...

When I saw this blog I literally almost fell out of my chair! I am an avid reader of all things YA, but Jane Eyre will always be one of my top 5 favorite books of all time. It is the very first book that kept me up all night reading (probably around the age of 12?) Before there was Twilight and the YA romance of today, there was Jane Eyre and her irresistable and forbidden story.

faithfulbrowneyes at yahoo.com

September 29, 2010 12:06 AM  

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