DEBATING DARCY, by Sayantani DasGupta, Scholastic Inc., April 19, 2022, Hardcover, $18.99 (young adult)
Jane Austen’s classic novel Pride and Prejudice gets a YA makeover in Sayantani DasGupta’s Debating Darcy.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that Leela Bose plays to win.
A life-long speech competitor, Leela loves nothing more than crushing the competition, all while wearing a smile. But when she meets the incorrigible Firoze Darcy, a debater from an elitist private school, Leela can’t stand him. Unfortunately, he’ll be competing in the state league, so their paths are set to collide.
But why attempt to tolerate Firoze when Leela can one-up him? The situation is more complicated than Leela anticipated, though, and her participation in the tournament reveals that she might have tragically misjudged the debaters — including Firoze Darcy — and more than just her own winning streak is at stake…her heart is, too. —Synopsis provided by Scholastic Inc.
Pride and Prejudice has been retold so many times, it’s hard to keep track. Luckily for readers, Sayantani DasGupta’s Debating Darcy is one of the better nods to the original.
Debating Darcy is as much a character study as it is a story. Leela is a strong protagonist who thinks she has all the answers. She’s smart and clever and isn’t afraid to work toward her goals. Firoze is a worthy dueling partner and Jay and Bingley are inviting secondary characters. Kitty, Lidia, Colin and DasGupta’s version of George Wickham round out the cast.
DasGupta’s decision to have the story play out against the backdrop of high school forensics (competitive speech teams). It elevates the story and allows the author to explore real-life issues within the context of competition.
Debating Darcy is a fairly quick read that is as thought-provoking as it is humorous.
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