by Katie Heaney
read by Sara Fransco
Publisher: Hachette Book Group
Remember those good ol' college days? Katie Heaney's Jane Austen inspired novel Dear Emma will take you back. The story line is light, easy to read, filled with equally light characters. English Major Harriett is a college junior, living with her BFF's, Logan and Mel, obsessively cyber-stalking Keith, a 'gorgeous' senior she shares a Spanish Civil War class with and casually dated for a couple weeks, has been moonlighting as "Emma" dispensing advice via the campus newspaper column, surprisingly titled Dear Emma. (Sheeeeeshhhhhh, take a breath.) That's how it felt.
Harriett Smith aka Emma has been doling out advice for lovers, love seekers and heart breakers for two years. The wisdom in her advice would serve her well - if only she practiced what she preached. However, up to this point, she was on the outside of life looking in on others. (An opinionated observer if you will.) Until she met Spanish Civil War classmate, Keith.
She fell "hard" for Keith and thought she had found the ideal mate. That is until his text messages stopped. Harriett over analyzes every word of everything. And I do mean everything. She pours her heart out to Logan and Mel, who listen patiently til Harriett is spent, then they offer their advice. Mel actually posed the question - "what would Emma say?"
An Instagram picture started this in motion. Facebook posts from a pretty girl spin it sideways. As Harriett continues to unload her drama on her BFF's, their unwillingness to share what's going on in their lives begins to gnaw at her. Paranoia, self-doubt, and a serious lack of communication swirl together threatening to create the perfect storm. Assigned the same shift at the library..."FB girl" and Harriett come 'face to face.' Remy, an attractive, artsy senior is impossible to hate. Harriett likes her despite her best efforts the two girls form a friendship, of sorts. But when Remy seeks advice from Emma, Harriett has to ponder the real-life consequences of her answer. The power and integrity of the Dear Emma column, the true meaning of friendship and how far she was willing to go to pursue a boy.
Sara Fransco does a wonderful job narrating. Her controlled inflections paint a vivid picture of each character. The cute, charming, hilarious and the annoying, OMG, "are you serious" aspects of each character are painted as vividly as a bright yellow sunflower on a solid black canvas.
In a nutshell: It's a solid read that will make you chuckle more than once.