The Code for Love and Heartbreak audiobook
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The Code for Love and Heartbreak audiobook free
I usually guess from an illustrated cover like this that I’m going to get a piece of fluffy, politically correct chick lit. While that’s exactly what it was, it had one (for me) major redeeming quality: it was a retelling of Jane Austen’s “Emma.” I knew this going in (otherwise I never would have bought it), but I think I expected it to be looser than it was. It was Emma with a very modern twist: instead of simply fixing people up, she’s a coder who literally writes a dating app for coding club in her high school. What really hooked me was the fact that all the characters had the same names as in the original, or very close to the same names in some cases. This meant that I had emotional associations for and attachments to all of the characters the second they were introduced. This version of Emma is a nerd, not a beautiful young socialite who happens to not care to marry. Instead of marriage with children, her sister Izzy went off to college with John on the other side of the country. John’s younger brother George (Knightley) is Emma’s neighbor and family friend, but they aren’t really friends with each other so much as rivals in all of their classes. Now, they’re co-presidents of the coding club. He disapproves of her dating app idea for the state coding competition, but it catches on… and, like the original Emma’s disastrous matchmaking attempts, it has unintended consequences. The character of Frank Churchill this time is called Sam as a nickname. Certain elements of his original dynamic with Emma and Jane don’t fit into modern times. Nobody in high school would really be engaged, secretly or otherwise, so the author had to go about it differently. Harriet Smith in this version is called Hannah (I guess Harriet is too old-fashioned) and rather than her low status deriving from her uncertain parentage, in this case she’s a freshman to Emma’s and George’s senior. One thing that kind of didn’t work for me was that in the Victorian era, there was no courtship at all: there was flirtation followed by engagement, or flirtation followed by heartbreak. This left opportunity for misunderstandings, such as when Harriet believed that Mr Knightley was in love with her and likely to marry her, when in fact he was just being kind on someone else’s behalf. Such misunderstandings could never occur today, so the author had to have characters actually date people they didn’t truly have feelings for. She explains this away as a sense of obligation in order to show faith in their app, but I can’t see any of them actually doing this–it would be too deliberately misleading and cruel, and the person getting “used” would be rightly outraged when they found out about it. Yet that never happens in the book. While this version of Emma isn’t really all that likable, I guess the original wasn’t either… yet they are both identifiable, which is all that matters in a main character I suppose. I did love the dynamic between Emma and George as much as I did in the original. Once I got about 2/3 in, I didn’t want to put it down. My rating: **** Language: none that I can recall Sexual content: alluded to but only vaguely, not present in the story Violence: none Political content: present, in an annoyingly overt box-checking kind of way. But, it’s a mainstream chick lit book, what did I expect.
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A clever and heartfelt updating of Austen’s Emma for the 21st century. Instead of the original Emma as bubbly, clever, and overly interested-in-others’ affairs of the heart, this Emma is an introvert much more familiar with the world of coding, classical piano, and the coding club at high school, where she’s a senior intent on getting into Stanford. Older sister Izzy has already beaten the path from their New Jersey home to attend college in California, same as her boyfriend John. But Em worries about her dad, lonely already after the death of his wife some years earlier, and now would be on his own if she decamped westward. Em’s meddling in the heart affairs of others is based on her unshakable conviction that mathematics and coding can answer most if not all questions, including those surrounding human behavior in who is attracted to whom. Just as with the original, good intentions lead to disastrous consequences, though all come right in the end. Engaging characters, enough hark-back to Austen’s Emma to keep things tied together, but with a distinctly 2020’s feel. Highly recommended.
Audiobook The Code for Love and Heartbreak by Jillian Cantor
This was so cute. I enjoyed reading it. It was witty and emotional and full of teenage heartbreak.
Audio The Code for Love and Heartbreak narrated by Leah Horowitz
This review is based on an ARC ebook received for free from NetGalley. I am not being paid to review this book and what I write here is my own opinion. The Code for Love and Heartbreak is a sweet retelling of Emma set in contemporary New Jersey with Emma cast as a high school senior with abandonment issues who hates being social and who is losing her big sister Izzy to UCLA. She loves coding and math and numbers because they don’t like or behave unpredictably. She does not have high hopes for her senior year, even though she is co-president of Coding Club. Since this is a Jane Austen adaptation, I feel obligated to mention that all of the characters have basically their names from the book except for Harriet, who becomes Hannah, and Frank Churchill, whose name hasn’t changed but who goes by Sam. They are brought together by Coding Club, where they working on a coding competition. For their competition, Emma convinces the group to write a dating/matching app, though the more socially savvy folks she knows have their doubts. Once she starts matching people up, the math doesn’t work out the way she thinks it ought to, but she pushes on, even though the things people say made them fall in love all seem to be quantifiable. When some older guys take advantage of her app to try to scam on underclass girls, recalling the unfortunate scene with Mr. Elton in the original, Emma thinks it’s time to throw in the towel, only the competition application has been submitted so she’s stuck. Fortunately, she has other club members to rely on, like her co-president, George Knightley. Things with George are on a tremendously slow burn, even though it’s clear to the reader that she’s going to fall for him, and that he’s got some kind of feelings for her. His drawn out relationship with someone else that Emma’s app matched him with adds more tension than Austen did, I feel, because it gives everyone more reason to think that there is a true attachment between those two characters, rather than wishful (or fearful) thinking. The character he was in this relationship with gets kind of a non-ending, but she was never as interesting as Austen’s version of her anyway. One of the things I liked a great deal were that Emma’s dream of going to Stanford is constantly met with adults and other authority figures warning her that the odds are really against her getting in. And then she doesn’t get in. I’m so glad she didn’t. It seems much more realistic to me that someone with her resume would not be selected, plus entirely too many YA books have students getting into Ivy League schools. More than that, though it was really great that in this telling Emma and Jane find things in common with one another and become friends rather than remaining aloof and envious rivals throughout the book. I really liked that they were never pitted against each other for a man’s affection or social status/approval. As a general note, there was some casual LGBT representation (Robert Martin, rather than being a farmer, was gay) but not in any main characters, and there were no people of color from what I can tell. Even so, this was a sweet book that honestly felt more like an update of Clueless than Jane Austen, but I enjoyed it nevertheless.