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Book reviews

Becoming Jo

Becoming Jo

About the Book

Author: Sophie McKenzie

Age Range: 11-14 Years 14-16 Years

Publisher: Scholastic

Price: £6.99


Taking a much-loved classic like Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women and rewriting it for a modern audience was always going to be a bold move – but with Becoming Jo, Sophie McKenzie (clearly a fan) has certainly risen to the challenge.

At once satisfyingly familiar and authentically fresh, the story of four very different sisters growing up in a home that’s short of cash but rich in love translates incredibly naturally from 19th-century America to today’s UK; its themes of sibling conflict, inequality, love – including the unrequited kind – and coming of age are timeless, and McKenzie’s judgement about where changes to Alcott’s novel can and should be made is spot on throughout (recasting rich, orphan Laurie as an Iraqi refugee, for example).

Of course, Scholastic has repackaged the original novel with a complementary cover, too; if students can be persuaded to read both books, they won’t regret it.

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