Book Review: The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Bernie Su and Kate Rorick

Posted July 28, 2014 by Debby in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from Book Expo America in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!! This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Bernie Su and Kate RorickThe Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Bernie Su, Kate Rorick
Series: The Lizzie Bennet Diaries #1
Published by Touchstone on June 24th, 2014
Genres: New Adult, Media Tie-In, Retelling, Romance
Pages: 380
Format: Paperback
Source: Book Expo America

Based on the Emmy Award winning YouTube series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.

Twenty-four-year-old grad student Lizzie Bennet is saddled with student loan debt and still living at home along with her two sisters - beautiful Jane and reckless Lydia. When she records her reflections on life for her thesis project and posts them on YouTube, she has no idea The Lizzie Bennet Diaries will soon take on a life of their own, turning the Bennet sisters into internet celebrities seemingly overnight.

When rich and handsome Bing Lee comes to town, along with his stuck-up friend William Darcy, things really start to get interesting for the Bennets - and for Lizzie's viewers. But not everything happens on-screen. Lucky for us, Lizzie has a secret diary.

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet takes readers deep inside Lizzie's world and well beyond the confines of her camera - from the wedding where she first meets William Darcy to the local hangout of Carter's bar, and much more. Lizzie's private musings are filled with revealing details about the Bennet household, including her growing suspicions about her parents' unstable financial situation, her sister's budding relationship with Bing Lee, the perils of her unexpected fame, and her uncertainty over her future - and whom she wants to share it with.

Featuring plenty of fresh twists to delight fans and new readers alike, The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet expands on the web series phenomenon that captivated a generation and reimagines the Pride and Prejudice story like never before.

5 Stars

So if you know me, you’ll probably have heard at one point or another that I’m seriously obsessed with the webseries The Lizzie Bennet Diaries on YouTube. For those who are unfamiliar (where have you been??!?!) the webseries is a modern day retelling of Pride and Prejudice, which takes place in the form of vlogs in which Lizzie Bennet tells the audience about her daily life and her familial and romantic drama. The adaptation was actually an immersive transmedia experience, using multiple platforms including Twitter accounts for the characters, Instagram accounts, Tumblr posts, etc, in which the audience’s reactions also played a role sometimes. For about a year, the story played out gradually over time, and it was a viral hit. I was not alone in my unabashed love for the series.

So when I heard that they were bringing out a book to go with the series, my first thought was, “Wait? What? Are we now doing a retelling of a retelling? Umm, fan exploitation much?” But I discarded that thought soon after – because by reading the synopsis I realized that this book would just be another addition to this truly immersive experience, showing exclusive bonus content you would otherwise miss out on. And I was not wrong, my love for the whole universe of Lizzie Bennet grew exponentially with this book.

So what the book actually is is Lizzie’s diary (couldn’t have figured that out yourselves, huh?). It takes us in depth into her life and shows us other aspects that she doesn’t share on camera. The first thing that stood out to me is that the book perfectly captures Lizzie’s voice. Now, you shouldn’t be that surprised, because one of the authors, Bernie Su, was the creator of the webseries. But How much of the voice is the script and how much is the actor? Basically, while reading The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet, it was as if the actress Ashley Clements was narrating it to me in my head. It had that perfect blend of sarcasm, intellectualism, and snark.

What I possibly loved most about all the behind-the-scenes stuff we got to see in the book is the relationship between Lizzie and her dad. Yes, there are actual scenes described where Lizzie and her sisters are interacting with their parents – who were always a bit of a mystery in the webseries itself. Just like the webseries adaptation did for the story, the way that these characters are transformed into modern day characters was smart, fitting, and totally engaging. I mean, I love Pride and Prejudice – the book, the movie, and the miniseries – and that relationship between Lizzie and her father has always been really special to me. (I am a daddy’s girl, after all.) But seriously, their scenes together with their humorous banter and true familial love just put a bit of a tear in my eye. So wonderful.

The book also reveals some other things that Lizzie was not willing to fully divulge on camera: the full letter that Darcy wrote (asdfjkl; swooooooooooon) and text messages with Wickham (ewwwwwwwww). You really get a sense of seeing the whole story in so much more detail, which adds to the webseries experience when you start considering characters in different ways and when you realize precisely how on point all of the acting was. A rather simple love story suddenly has this immensely beautiful universe of a story… I loved every second of it.

But let’s be real, for fans of the series, what you’ll be most excited for is DAT ENDING. The ending, in fact, is what I read FIRST – together with Gillian in New York, the day that we got our hands on the precious. We sat, two little fangirls in a row, alternately squealing, flailing, and giggling. It’s just so. freaking. perfect. So many feels. Any LBD fan will just NEED to get their hands on this.

Summing Up:

For any LBD seahorse, this book is a must read. And for those who have not yet established themselves as seahorses – please, go watch the webseries – you won’t be sorry. The book really perfectly allowed me to experience the story all over again and showed me more than enough other angles to truly add to the experience. My shipper heart was happy with all of the additional feels from the ending. How bloody brilliant. And, as an additional note, the Pemberly Digital team has announced that next year there will be a follow-up book from Lydia’s point of view! It goes without saying that I am already impatient to have that baby in my hands.

GIF it to me straight!


lizzie bennet diaries



Recommended To:

Everyone who has watched the series – and those who haven’t, CATCH UP, DO IT, DO IT NOWWWWWW.

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2 responses to “Book Review: The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Bernie Su and Kate Rorick

  1. I was so sad that I missed out on this one at BEA. Luckily I received an eArc of it. I loved this too. Darcy’s letter and the tour of San Francisco were my favorite books. Although I also loved how the book showcased Lizzie’s parents a lot. I liked reading about her and her dad, but also about her mother. I’m thinking I might like to read this again via audiobook because Ashley Clements narrated it!

  2. Yay! I’m so glad you loved this one! I was completely confused at first as well. It seemed impossible to make a good story out of this and then you read it and you wonder why you ever doubted it. Even though I haven’t read Pride and Prejudice (I want to now though!) I absolutely loved the web series and the book. Lovely review DEBBIE. 😉