Alterations is a wonderful retelling of the classic movie Sabrina. The original movie featured Audrey Hepburn as Sabrina, the daughter of a rich family’s chauffeur. Humphrey Bogart plays Linus, the more serious of the family’s two sons, with William Holden playing David, the playboy of the family. Sabrina has pined for David her whole life, but he doesn’t notice her until she spends two years in Paris, and then she returns and must decide what (and who) she wants. In this retelling, Amelia takes the part of Sabrina. She’s the daughter and granddaughter of the maids to the Laurenti family, who are pretty well-off. She has a HUGE crush on Ethan Laurenti, one of the family’s teenage sons, and is rather indifferent towards Linus. Instead of going to Paris for two years, she leaves the family’s home to go to a fashion internship in New York for the summer, leading to interesting developments in her life, as she figures out who she is and what she wants.
Having known the movie, I already knew how the story was going to play out in this novel. That being said, it was still quite a joy to see it played out, and had some hidden surprises that made the novel very relatable (particularly for YA readers, but also for me as an adult reader). Amelia is a very well-developed character. She narrates the book, and it’s really interesting to see her go through several metamorphoses as the book goes on. Like most teenagers, she’s very unsure of herself when leaving home for the first time, and that leads to her making some unwise decisions, and a very realistic turn of events caused by her choices. Also, while she’s unsure of herself, she also realizes that she has to figure out who she wants to be, and that maybe that person is not the person she has been for so long. It was a joy to see her come to these realizations and change, and then get nervous, and then change again. It was a very realistic character arc.
The secondary characters were also fairly well-developed. The brothers have their own distinctive personalities, and they are developed realistically throughout the book. Amelia’s friends from the internship, as well as her best friend from home, are also painted in very realistic lights, from the new friends’ emotions when Amelia’s poor decisions are revealed, to her best friend from home’s unease when Amelia returns as a slightly different person. Some of these emotions weren’t specifically outlined, but as I saw things from Amelia’s point of view, I really could figure them out based on past experience, which is part of what made the book so relatable. We’ve all had pieces of Amelia in us at one time or another, and we can all empathize with her journey, as well as enjoy her romance. I recommend this book to lovers of YA romance, but also just readers who love great coming of age stories. Also, if you’re a fan of Sabrina, you’ll enjoy this modern retelling. The book releases a week from today on December 6.
Note: I received this book from Netgalley and Bloomsbury SPARK in return for a fair and honest review.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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