Review – By the Book by Amanda Sellet

**Disclaimer: I was given a free e-ARC in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley.**

Title By the Book

Author Amanda Sellet

Description from Amazon

Mary Porter-Malcolm has prepared for high school in the one way she knows how: an extensive review of classic literature to help navigate the friendships, romantic liaisons, and overall drama she has come to expect from such an “esteemed” institution. When some new friends seem in danger of falling for the same tricks employed since the days of Austen and Tolstoy, Mary swoops in to create the Scoundrel Survival Guide, using archetypes of literature’s debonair bad boys to signal red flags. But despite her best efforts, she soon finds herself unable to listen to her own good advice and falling for a supposed cad—the same one she warned her friends away from. Without a convenient rain-swept moor to flee to, Mary is forced to admit that real life doesn’t follow the same rules as fiction and that if she wants a happy ending, she’s going to have to write it herself. 

Release Date May 12, 2020

Initial Thoughts

I was super excited to have been approved for this book on NetGalley. I’ve been seeing ARCs floating around on Instagram for a while now and really wanted to get my hands on a copy. I love Jane Austen and this book gave me major Jane Austen feels.

Some Things I Liked

  • References to classic literature. I love a well read character and Mary Porter-Malcolm was probably one of the best read sixteen year olds I’ve ever read about. I loved all of her references to Moby Dick, Emerson, Jane Austen, and more throughout the story. She makes me want to read more of the classics.
  • Jane Austen vibes. I absolutely adored the fact that Mary felt like a perfect mash up of Emma (of Emma) and Elizabeth (of Pride and Prejudice). Mary’s family felt like the Bennetts while her antics with matchmaking reminded me of Emma.
  • Sixteen Candles vibes. I also loved that this story reminded me of the classic Molly Ringwald movie. I was missing a certain character at Mary’s birthday party that would have really completed the Sixteen Candles atmosphere (but the feelings were there nonetheless).

Series Value

I loved Mary’s story and I think there is a lot of potential for spin-off stories especially among the other Porter-Malcolm children. I’d love to read more about any of Mary’s siblings or her friends.

Final Thoughts

I really enjoyed this book. Once again, this was one that I was approved for on NetGalley and immediately started reading (despite the numerous older titles that I should have read first). Totally worth it.


Recommendations for Further Reading

  • What I Like About You by Marisa Kanter – if you liked a main character who was obsessed with books, definitely try this April 2020 release. The romance was a bit more dramatic in What I Like About You, but it had similar feelings.
  • Tweet Cute by Emma Lord – if you like cute rom-coms with a sort of enemies to lovers vibe, try this book by Emma Lord.
  • Finding Mr. Better-Than-You by Shani Petroff – if you liked the idea of taking inspiration from the classics, you will love this book. It’s all about taking inspiration from classic rom-com movies.

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