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By the Book by Amanda Sellet

A sweet young adult story for those who love the literary classics


Mary is part of a large family, headed by two academic parents. Their home is full of discussions of literature. When her on-campus school closes and Mary enters regular public high school, she must make new friends and learn the ways of public school life.

In this adorable tale of friendship and finding one's place, Mary - a huge fan of classic literature- uses anecdotes from her readings to help guide her and her friends through high school life.

My Thoughts/Feelings:

This book was the Once Upon A Book Club box May Young Adult selection.

I may have loved this book in part because I am so very much like the main character. I was this way in high school, also. As I read the first few chapters I thought, "Hm. That was ME!" We moved around a lot because my step-dad was in the Army, I loved classic literature even before high school, I used big words and didn't understand why people didn't like the way I spoke. I wish could crawl into the pages and be a part of Mary's family, LOL. I adore that the characters compare modern day activities to those of characters in classic novels. I also loved all of Mary's summaries of the classics and how when summed up in those ways, the exciting and interesting parts of the stories were highlighted.

Something I really appreciated in this book (this may be a spoiler--although I don't think mentioning this would ruin the book-- but if you want to stop reading at this juncture and come back AFTER you read the book, you totally could!) that it didn't follow the typical "new girl goes to new school, gets bullied by mean popular girls" story line. I was so happy at the way the story actually unfolded and I much prefer the relationships and what they portrayed in this book to that "mean girl" type of story. I also really liked that this story included some LGBTQ+ representation.

Favorite Quotes:

"The good news is that I have no desire to be part of the ruling order or their cruel games. Give me a simple life with interesting companions, far from the movers and shakers. I'd rather be safe than sorry any day."

"Sometimes past associations hold us back. Nostalgia can be a trap. Don't confuse loyalty and sentimentality..." "What would Jane Austen do?"

What Was Inside the Box:

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