Paperback, 204 pages
Expected publication date: May 8th, 2012 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Pre-order from Amazon HERE
Pre-order from Amazon HERE
A story of crushes, corsets, and conspiracy
Libby Kelting had always felt herself born out of time. No wonder the historical romance-reading, Jane Austen-adaptation-watching, all-around history nerd jumped at the chance to intern at Camden Harbor, Maine’s Oldest Living History Museum. But at Camden Harbor Libby’s just plain out of place, no matter how cute she looks in a corset. Her cat-loving coworker wants her dead, the too-smart-for-his-own-good local reporter keeps pushing her buttons, her gorgeous sailor may be more shipwreck than dreamboat — plus Camden Harbor’s haunted. Over the course of one unforgettable summer, Libby learns that boys, like ghosts, aren’t always what they seem.
Truth: When reading e-books, I love highlighting certain turns of phrase, word choices, swoony moments, and things that are just fresh and cool and I admire.
Second Truth: I found myself highlighting more sections in PILGRIMS DON’T WEAR PINK then I remember doing in any other book in a very long time.
This story renewed my faith in the need and immense value in young adult literature that is light and pleasurable and just plain out fun. Don’t get me wrong, PILGRIMS DON’T WEAR PINK has serious moments. Several of the characters learn lessons and grow, and you end up learning a ton of random and awesome sauce historical factoids along the way. But you do it all while laughing out loud (a lot), smiling like a freaking goon, and wishing you could have a best friend like Dev who can not only can toss out one-liners like tissue paper, but whip up a beyond gorgeous dress at the spur of the moment.
There is so much to love about this book I almost don’t know where to start. And I so don’t want to keep anyone from having the experience I did, where every turn of the page (or click of the Kindle button) revealed something unexpected, shocking, or completely sigh-worthy.
Let’s discuss the dudes. So we have two excellent specimens, Cam and Garrett. Don’t worry; this isn’t a triangle like you would think. And what I really love about these guys is that while obviously one is a better choice for Libby, Stephanie Strohm doesn’t take the easy, obvious choices I expected. Neither guy was absolutely perfect—kinda like real life—and both made some mistakes. Okay, one guy’s mistakes were a lot worst, but still, it felt authentic. They both had endearing qualities, too, and both delivered lines that had me highlighting, sighing, and rereading repeatedly.
Libby. Oh my word, do I love this girl. She is funny, sweet, knows her way around the kitchen, and is a history nerd. My kind of chica. She is beautiful but that doesn’t define her. She is a fashionista, but not annoyingly so—it truly was just another one of her character traits, not there to be a gimmick or take over the story. Her Scooby Doo references, love and loyalty to her best friend, cute way with the band of eight-year-olds she is in charge of for the summer, and love affair with Austen all add up to a spunky heroine who feels like a girl you could totally meet inside any high school you walk into. She’s real, and I think any teenager—heck, any woman—who picks this book up will find themselves within the pages.
The band of eight-year-olds was a hoot…Ms. Strohm must have a children or be an awesome aunt because she totally nailed it (this coming from a mother to a six and seven year old). And no review would be complete without a huge shout out for Dev, my absolute favorite character in the entire story. With his Kelly Clarkson happy places, fierceness in the face of a sewing machine, and lines like, “No self-respecting fairy leaves a party before four” when referencing the Cinderella story, what’s not to like??
In many ways, Stephanie Strohm has created a modern day fairy tale…but it is so much more. In the end, the guy Libby chooses is “better than Mr. Darcy, Rhett Butler, and Henry Tilney combined. Because he was real.” She embraces the feminine desire to romanticize our romantic heroes and search for them in our everyday world, but shows us how to find true, real happiness. I picked PILGRIMS DON’T WEAR PINK on a whim, not really knowing what to expect, and walked away with what may be my favorite read so far in 2012. It surprised me, elevated me to another place for a few hours, and left me believing in the power of love, friendship, and a really good dress. I totally recommend it.