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Since it’s still Pride month, today’s pick is an unconventional queer Jane Austen retelling that I inhaled, and I hope you’ll love, too!
Northranger by Ray Terciero and Bre Indigo
Cade is a horror-movie-obsessed teen whose family has fallen on hard times. It’s decided that he’ll work on a ranch owned by a stern general that his stepdad used to serve under, to help out the family. Cade couldn’t be more upset at this idea, but soon he finds himself shoveling manure and fixing fences in rural Texas. The only thing that makes it bearable is Henry, the general’s son, whom Cade has a massive crush on…and who might just like Cade back. But Henry is secretive about some things, like how his mom died. And with rumors swirling around the ranch, it’s not long before Cade’s imagination runs off with him and he’s suspecting that Henry is harboring a truly dark secret.
This retelling of Northanger Abbey is really clever and unexpected, but I loved it so much. Cade’s obsession with horror movies make sense, as a closeted queer teen growing up in rural Texas, and it becomes a really lovely point of connection between him and Henry. There is just enough intrigue that it’s really easy to see how Cade can make certain assumptions about Henry and his family, and it’s not long before it seems like there is a true mystery. This is also a fish out of water story, as Cade struggles to fit in at the ranch, with its traditional masculinity and expectations. The color palette of this one — sort of a burnt maroon/brown — also feels really fitting for this Texas gothic story, and it really sets the perfect mood. I loved seeing Austen’s story translated into this new setting, and it works surprisingly well!
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