Seeking Mansfield: {ARC Review}

Publication Date: May 16th, 2017
Publisher: Flux
Series: None
Source: Netgalley

Sixteen-year-old Finley Price has perfected two things: how to direct a world-class production, and how to fly way, way under the radar. The only person who ever seems to notice Finley is her best friend, the Bertram's son Oliver. If she could just take Oliver's constant encouragement to heart and step out of the shadows, she'd finally chase her dream of joining the prestigious Mansfield Theater.  

When teen movie stars Emma and Harlan Crawford move next door to the Bertram's, they immediately set their sights on Oliver and his cunning sister, Juliette, shaking up Finley and Oliver's stable friendship. As Emma and Oliver grow closer, Harlan finds his attention shifting from Juliette to the quiet, enigmatic, and thoroughly unimpressed Finley. Out of boredom, Harlan decides to make her fall in love with him. Problem is, the harder he seeks to win her, the harder he falls for her.  

But Finley doesn't want to be won, and she doesn't want to see Oliver with anyone else. To claim Oliver's heart—and keep her own—she'll have to find the courage to do what she fears most: step into the spotlight. 

This modern YA re-telling of Mansfield Park was surprisingly very well done. It had a dual POV which allowed me to get to know not only Finley, but her best friend Oliver. Usually in YA we do not get to know secondary characters except from the main's perspective, but it was a nice change of pace reading Oliver's POV. 

I loved the writing style. It was definitely YA but it had a more mature feel, if that makes sense. It was very realistic and relatable for teenage voices. 

Finley was obviously my favorite character. She was not your average teenager. While most teenagers are trying to find a boyfriend or girlfriend, Finley was just trying to achieve her dreams. Her top dream was to get in to the prestigious Mansfield theater program, if only she had the confidence to submit her application. 

Fortunately for Finley, she has her best friend Oliver who is always looking out for her. Now this was one area that I did not like about the book. I'll admit, I have not read the original Mansfield Park so this review is based off of this version. I was not a fan of how he was always trying to save her and speak for her. Oliver kept saying how she needed to be strong and face her fears, but then he would swoop in and speak for her, just like Harlan. 

It was very nice to see Finley transition from a shy and scared girl into someone that was sure of herself. I hated how weak she was for the majority of the book. She just let Nora walk all over her and speak to her the way she did. It was hard to read because I wanted Finley to shut her down every single time. Finley just needed a damn backbone. She didn't need anyone to save her, she just needed to believe in herself. 

Juliette was a character that I never cared for. At all. She was a straight up b$*ch who had zero character development. 

I never believed the romance between her and Harlan. He was constantly buying her affection by doing great deeds for her and getting her things. That is one of the main reasons that she started to like him. 

Finley and Oliver on the other hand, were quite believable and adorable. I was waiting for them to get together and it was infuriating watching them with other people throughout the majority of the book when the reader clearly knows that they were meant to be. 

Seeking Mansfield was a cute retelling of a classic Jane Austen novel. It would definitely read more of Watson's work if she chose to do more Austen retellings.  


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