‘Emmett’ Review: A Clever Interpretation of ‘Emma’ by L.C. Rosen


Author L.C. Rosen (also known as Lev AC Rosen) has just released a new YA book, entitled Emmett, a modern-day gay retelling of Jane Austen’s Emma. The book centers on its title character, a teenager raised in a privilege life who is aware of the advantages life has provided him. As such, Emmett makes it a point to give back to those who aren’t quite as well-off as him in various aspects. One way he does so is by helping his friend-with-benefits find a boyfriend, something Emmett isn’t searching for until he’s at least 25 and his brain is fully developed (or so he says). Despite Emmett’s confidence, his childhood friend Miles doesn’t think it’s such a good idea, but that only makes Emmett more determined. However, the further along Emmett gets in his pursuit, the more he begins to realize that love and relationships aren’t as simple as he may have initially thought.

Something that caught my attention immediately — and that Rosen does well in illustrating throughout the book — is that Emmett is specifically a nice person, rather than someone who views him or is described as a kind or good one. As Emmett goes about his mission of finding Harrison a boyfriend, Rosen showcases the different ways in which Emmett approaches not only his main goal, but in how he interacts with others. He can be a self-centered character, though one with good intentions who doesn’t seem to quite grasp where he goes wrong until things escalate. It eventually forces him to look at certain events with a new perspective, whether it’s owning up to his mistakes or contending with bigger ideas and beliefs he holds.

Another facet I thought was interesting is how Emmett views relationships in general. Early on, readers learn that Emmett’s mother died a few years prior to the events of the book. One tidbit he’s firmly held onto since her death is how the human brain is fully developed until 25-years-old. So, Emmett built that into his own philosophies on romance. In doing so, Rosen unravels many of Emmett’s fears, especially when it comes to losing more people close to him. Though he’s adamant he can’t properly be in a relationship until he’s 25, his cynicism goes much deeper. Moreover, it informs Emmett’s careful tactics in finding a boyfriend for Harrison and provides insight into Emmett’s relationship with his father.

Emmett is a strong retelling of Austen’s original work. Rosen incorporates elements from Emma’s text while effortlessly adjusting and creating new ones to make the story a unique one. He allows his characters the space to flourish whether they occupy a lot of page space or only appear every so often. Rosen also brings a poignant look at modern society, exploring different relationship dynamics, offering critique on the role of social media in relationships, and more. Ultimately, Emmett is an insightful, entertaining, and romantic read.

Emmett is available now online and in stores.

Julia is a writer/editor/content assistant for Nerds who joined the team in 2019.

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