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<anon I1="BLANK" I2="BLANK">"Miss McKnight, I want to be frank," Ann Foster said. "I am retained by the Bluebonnet Club to plan and execute the debutante season. I have held this position of trust for more than twenty years, and they look to me to make absolutely sure everything comes off without a hitch. I host this tea so that I may, in an informal atmosphere, meet each young woman selected, and not only explain the significance of making a debut but also ascertain to my complete satisfaction that she understands, accepts, and is prepared for the ordeal ahead. Of the utmost importance is promptness--" "Sorry about that," I interjected. "Soccer practice went late." "Soccer practice does not concern me, Miss McKnight. What does concern me is your tardy and"--here she gestured to my gaping, sweat-stained dress--"tawdry appearance, which clearly demonstrate your lack of regard for myself and the other young women selected." "I've already apologized," I said, feeling my cheeks flush. "I promise it won't happen again, and I'm sure given the opportunity I can learn to curtsy just as well as the other girls." Ann's nostrils flared and she tensed. She now looked less like a ballerina and more like a Siberian tiger eager for lunch. Her change so shocked me I nearly took a step back. "Curtsy, Miss McKnight," she said icily, "derives from the word courtesy, a word and concept clearly foreign to you." Dang. "A proper curtsy is neither frivolous nor submissive--it is a posture of respect. Respect--there's another word gathering dust on the shelf of your vocabulary." "Ms. Foster, I--" "I see in you, Miss McKnight," Ann went on, "nothing more than the selfish, self-absorbed child so common today. You have no thoughts beyond your own comfort, and what intellect you do possess you employ solely in cheap sport. This is not a game, Miss McKnight, not to myself nor to the people who attend, and I have no intention of working to change your obvious disdain for the institutions I represent and have little hope you will manage it yourself. Therefore, I think it best if you voluntarily withdraw." I was so derailed by this tart and targeted barrage that a good twenty seconds must have passed before I managed to speak. She waited patiently while I wobbled like a punch-drunk fighter, in danger of going down for the count. "I think you've misjudged me," I managed. "I highly doubt it." My heart thumped against my chest, and my cheeks were red as cherries. Withdraw? We hadn't even started . . . "I don't want to withdraw," I began, cautiously. "This is important to my parents, and I am not, and never have been, a quitter. I'll do whatever I have to do to prove myself." "Moxie," she stated flatly, "while admirable, will not suffice, Miss McKnight." The Miss McKnight thing was starting to grate. "It is abundantly clear that you cannot walk properly," she continued, "so it would naturally follow that you are unable to dance--and I do not mean Zumba." "My Mom has already signed me and my sister up for dance lessons." "I wish it were that simple. You will need to learn to stand up straight, dress appropriately, and behave with some clear sense of modesty and decorum. You're miles from a satisfactory Texas Dip, and frankly, given the time allowed and the list of requirements, I doubt you're up to it." Suddenly I was not just insulted, but mad. "You'd be surprised, Miss Foster," I stated with reckless confidence, "what I can accomplish in a short amount of time." She looked me over again, still dubious. Why was I even fighting this? I had my chance right here to be gone. I could tell Mom that Ann felt I wasn't up to it, that she knew, like I did, that I just wasn't debutante material. But I thought of Dad begging me to do it, and while I wasn't sure why, it was clear he needed me to stay. "Please, ma'am," I said, softening my tone and smiling at her with all the Texas charm I could muster, "I realize today did not start well, but I would very much appreciate you allowing me the opportunity to prove that I belong." She weighed my "ma'am" and the sentence that followed for a moment, unsure if they were mocking or sincere. "Miss McKnight, you have a month," she said. "Surprise me." Excerpted from The Season by Jonah Lisa Dyer, Stephen Dyer All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.</anon>
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Publishers Weekly Review
In this contemporary retelling of Pride and Prejudice, Megan McKnight (standing in for Elizabeth Bennet) is a college soccer star and tomboy whose mother demands she go through the prestigious Dallas debutante season with her twin sister, Julia, representing Jane. Megan and Julia are debutante royalty-all of the women in their family have been debs-and live on a struggling cattle ranch, which their mother hopes to sell to solve their financial woes. The Dyers, a married screenwriting team, send the twins to party after lavish party, with suitors swirling around them, including two for Megan (Hank, in place of Mr. Wickham, and Andrew, a Darcy figure). The authors paint Megan in broad strokes, portraying her as the unlikeliest of debs and playing up the physical comedy (Megan goes to her first event of the season with a wicked black eye) before giving her a dramatic transformation from clumsy tomboy to polished-but not too polished-debutante. Austen fans will enjoy recognizing classic Pride and Prejudice moments and appreciate the message about staying true to oneself. Ages 14-up. Agent: Simon Lipskar, Writers House. (July) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal Review
Gr 9 Up-Megan McKnight's got her eye on the Olympics. She's more comfortable on a soccer field than executing a "Texas Dip" for the Dallas elite as a Bluebonnet debutante. But with her family's ranch in jeopardy and her parents' marriage in similar straits, Megan reluctantly agrees to debut with her twin sister, Julia. What follows is a Southern-flavored Pride and Prejudice, with the Texas upper crust and one Manhattan socialite substituting for the English gentry. Plenty of familiar characters and plot points abound. The strongest literary revamp is Hank, the charming but ultimately caddish manipulator, and, of course, Megan, who jumps off the page, sticking to her guns when it's important while also evolving. Sadly, Andrew (the Darcy) is close but not quite a match for the heroine. With extravagant parties, a car chase, family scandal, and even a brawl, the Dyers keep things interesting. Megan learns what she's capable of (for good or ill) and what it means to misjudge others. Occasional swearing and sexual situations happen off-page. The dialogue ranges from wonderfully cheeky to occasionally overdramatic, with a few forced lines from the source material peppered throughout. VERDICT This tale covers no new territory and yet is a thoroughly enjoyable read, especially for fans of Austen retellings.-Danielle Serra, Cliffside Park Public Library, NJ © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
A junior at S.M.U., Megan is a Division I soccer player with World Cup dreams. Shocked when she learns of her selection as a Dallas debutante, she is furious with her mother, who arranged it. Unwanted shopping sprees and remedial Etiquette and Deportment classes are followed by lavish themed parties and arranged escorts with eligible young men. Not even her personal stylist can conceal Megan's soccer-related black eye before her first formal event two hours after the game. Still, playing along with the show dog debutante process for family reasons, she becomes increasingly involved and is ultimately changed by the experience. Throughout the novel, the Dyers weave elements of characters, scenes, and dialogue from Pride and Prejudice, including an enigmatic, Darcy-like love interest and a conniving, Wickham-like cad. While the amusing scene in which an embarrassed Megan makes her first condom purchase may have no nineteenth-century equivalent, elements such as misjudging people, dealing with social disasters, and falling in love are common to both eras. A wryly amusing first-person narrative.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2016 Booklist
Horn Book Review
College athlete Megan dreams of playing Olympic soccer, not being a stupid Texas Bluebonnet debutante with her twin, Julia. But it means so much to their mother, and it might even save her parents' marriage--if she isn't thrown out. As Megan navigates millionaires' parties and crams into gowns and torturous underwear, she finds love and her own definition of poise in this breezy comedy. (c) Copyright 2017. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Book Review
College soccer defines 20-year-old Megan's life, until her mom forces her to participate in an exclusive debutante season.Megan immediately makes the debutantes' pedigrees clear, noting that, "even in 2016 a Bluebonnet debut in Dallas still meant white girls of privilege and wealth." And while her family's cattle ranch is bleeding money, Megan's trust fund ensures that she's largely able to keep up with the ridiculous expenditures on stylists, custom designer attire, and lavish parties. Megan's rough edges (such as her inability to flirt) are eventually smoothed as she learns the importance of becoming socially acceptable through the use of plastic "chicken cutlet things" to increase her bust size and shapewear to alter her silhouette and by learning to properly serve tea. As in any good ugly-duckling metamorphosis story, brash Megan manages to catch the eye of just the right man. Unfortunately, as the romance plotline plays out, any notions of female empowerment that Megan's transformation supposedly represents are thoroughly undermined. The novel does introduce real issues of domestic violence and sexual abuse but then largely marginalizes them in favor of focusing on the challenges of being a rich debutante.Ultimately, though a season undoubtedly presents conflicts for its participants, Megan's are unlikely to resonate with most modern readers. (Fiction. 14-18) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.