Emmett is the queer modern Jane Austen romance you need

Emmett by L.C. Rosen. Image Courtesy of Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.
Emmett by L.C. Rosen. Image Courtesy of Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. /

When I heard about Emmett by L.C. Rosen, I knew I had to read it. It’s a queer, modern-day version of Jane Austen’s Emma. Do I need to say more?? As someone who loves Jane Austen and any Jane Austen retelling, I could not have been more excited to read this book, and it did not disappoint.

The book, as you might imagine, follows Emmett Woodhouse. Emmett is “blessed.” He’s rich, popular, is in a no-strings-attached, friends-with-benefits relationship with a hot dude, and he gives to charity. But above all, Emmett strives to be “nice.”

Emmett is nice, but that’s not necessarily a good thing. Being nice gets him in trouble, causes miscommunication, and means that his boundaries aren’t always respected, even by himself.

He’s also not very likable, but that makes you love him all the more.

Emmett has one rule: he will not get into a relationship until he’s 25 because that’s when you’re brain is fully developed. Unfortunately,  this rule is hiding his insecurities about being in a relationship, losing people, and the loss he’s already experienced.

Emmett is your next favorite queer rom-com

And that’s what makes this book so good. While it’s fun and hilarious and exciting and completely romantic, it’s also getting across some big emotions. Very much like the novel it is inspired by.

But let’s get back to the no-relationship rule. That rule is harder to follow than Emmett imagines.

Throughout most of the book, he is trying to find a boyfriend for his former friend with benefits, Harrison. He was the perfect matchmaker for his BFF Taylor. Why can’t he do it again?

If you’ve read Emma, you know how this goes. He tries to match Harrison with possibly the most obnoxious boy imaginable. And chaos ensures, hearts are broken, and misunderstandings are made. It’s a mess. A delightful one, but a mess.

Emmett tries again and again to be a matchmaker for Harrison, but through his failure, he learns something very important about himself. And perhaps that his number one rule should be broken.

One of the biggest boundaries Emmett learns to put up is with his own father. There is a form of medical abuse going on, and Emmett is trying to not let it bother him. He tries to shrug it off as just the way his dad is after his mom died. This part of the book was handled incredibly well. Coming into it, I did wonder how the author was going to deal with Mr. Woodhouse’s eccentricities, and it could not have been handled better.

Additionally, one of the most memorable scenes from Emma is the one where she says something very cruel. Emmett has that scene as well and it is just as horrifying, shocking, and not “nice” as it needed to be. And, in my opinion, Emmett handles it in a much better way than Emma does. It felt much more sincere.

Overall, this book is witty and fun and had me yelling “Open your eyes, Emmett!!” a couple of times, because the love of his life was right in front of him. It was a much-needed read with all the darkness going on in the real world.

If you are an Austen fan, love a queer rom-com, or are an L.C. Rosen fan, Emmett needs to be the next book your add to your TBR.

Emmett is available now in ebook, hardcover, and audiobook formats.

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