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Review originally posted on Mostly YA Lit: There's no other way to put it. In the Acknowledgments, the authors say that the book would not have existed if people hadn't voiced their love, affection, and concern for this version of Lydia Bennet.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. Because while Lydia's story can be read as a standalone, it's just not as captivating or compelling if you don't get the full story.
The context is very important here also, spoilers for the whole LBD series. In The Epic Adventures of Lydia Bennet, we really, finally get to see how George's betrayal he encouraged Lydia to make a tape of them having sex, and then left town, intending to sell it to an online company affected Lydia, changed her.
Yes, we saw her videos and her in Lizzie's videos. But now we get a taste of what it's like being in her shoes, and it's a hard place to be. Even though LBD ended on a good note for Lydia, we never got closure on her story.
Her last video where she says she feels so happy and safe with George? There's no conclusion after that. And it makes sense, because the Lydia we saw at the beginning of the show is gone.
She's in counselling, she's thinking about majoring in psychology, she's got a plan to go to San Francisco with her cousin Mary and start at a school there, but she's struggling to finish her credits for her Associate's Degree so she can leave.
And she's scared, because all of her classmates her whole town, in factknow what happened to her.
In particular, there are a few classmates who really make light of what happened to her, and it's upsetting to see her in that position. Luckily, Lydia still has her family support - Mary plays a huge part in this book, and Lizzie and Jane make more than brief appearances.
But still, she feels alone. What I really loved about this book is that it doesn't give an easy answer to what Lydia went through.
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She's healing, but she's still going through something really hard and scary, something that makes her question every action and every belief.
It's definitely darker than what we saw in LBD. But it was also very, very real, and one thing I've learned about mental illness is that sometimes, it really is two steps forward and one step back.
But the thing with Lydia is - she also knows when enough is enough. And she's stronger than she knows. The second half of the book is all about her making small steps to change her life, to celebrate herself, and to be kind to herself.
And it's about understanding what people are saying to her, with their actions and words the Bennet family is almost smothering her with their pity and worried looks at the beginning of the book and reconciling it with what makes sense in her heart.
I feel like I'm just babbling here, but it's because this book is SO emotional. Lydia is a girl who wears her heart on her sleeve, but she's also someone who is excellent at avoidance and ignoring problems.
Watching her go through this journey to realize what she needs and wants is both exhausting and exhilarating. She was more than just a character to me. I was living this with her and to see her change throughout the book was so personal.
Secondary Characters Represent aka all of the Bennets: Want to know how Lizzie and Darcy are doing? Or Jane and Bing? I Want to Go To There: There's a surprising amount of travel in this book, and it just works so well.DRESSES.
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