Little Women is one of my most-loved classics, and I’ve staunchly been among those who’ve loved the original ending. That being said, I couldn’t help but be infinitely intrigued by Margaret Stohl and Melissa de la Cruz’s YA reimagining: Jo & Laurie. The story picks up as an alternate ending to Little Women, where Laurie and (Jo’s youngest sister) Amy don’t end up together. Instead it’s romantic tension between Jo and Laurie all the way as the story unfolds and leads to… the happily ever after many in the fandom have been wishing for?
Well, you’ll have to read to find out. And whether you’re a purist Little Women fan (like me), have been wishing for that alternate (Jo hearts Laurie) ending, or just need a bit of romance in your life, Jo & Laurie is one of those rare crowd-pleasers. The love story of two of literature’s most beloved characters: fiercely independent Jo and boy-next-door Laurie. But just to reiterate, I’m forever team Amy and Laurie. Ha.
What’s more to love? Jo & Laurie (told from Jo’s point of view) is set between the publication of her first-ever book, Little Women, and its sequel, Good Wives. Jo is now a successful author; Little Women is out in the world and selling like hot cakes. Her publisher (like Louisa May Alcott’s publisher in real life) wants another book. But not just any book, a happy (societally appropriate) ending for the Little Women of Orchard House. And thus, the story of Jo & Laurie also affords us a glimpse of Jo’s (at times, dark) struggle to write Good Wives. For Jo (as it was for Louisa May Alcott), it’s a balancing act of writing while navigating public wishes and publisher’s expectations while remaining true to her characters and herself.
Book: Jo & Laurie
Published: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: June 2nd, 2020
Age Range: 13 – 18
Penguin Teen kindly sent me a free eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion, rating, or the content of my review.