Sixteen Scandals / Sophie Jordan / Book Review


Primrose Ainsworth has been patiently awaiting her sixteenth birthday and her introduction into society. With three older sisters before her, she has grown antsy at home, longing for her debut into the world. She wants to attend parties, dance at balls, have a chance to fall in love...

But her plans are dashed on her sixteenth birthday when her mother declares she will have to wait even longer--wait until her shy older sister Aster is successfully married, whenever that might be. Without a clear path forward, Prim decides to take matters into her own hands. She might not get to officially enter society on her birthday, but she can still see it on her own.

With her best friend Olympia in tow, Prim sneaks out to visit Vauxhall and all of its nightly wonders. She wants to see the lights, the acrobats, the crowds. She wants to dance. But when a pub brawl breaks out and separates the two girls, the night takes a turn for the worst, and Prim isn't sure she'll make it back home at all.



Regency Trappings rom dazzling debutantes to late-night waltzes, all of the regency hallmarks make it into these pages. Not to be taken very seriously, this book is good, lighthearted fun for anyone wanting a Jane-Austen flare to their breezy summer romance.

Perfectly YA I had never thought about it before this book, but a lot of the tropes that make general YA romance not-so-great fit perfectly into a regency setting. A sixteen-year-old girl falling in love with her soulmate? A bit too much in contemporary romance, perhaps, but perfectly acceptable (and expected) in a regency world, where that is, after all, marriageable age. Falling for a guy instantly? A bit too insta-love for a modern audience, but set up in a world where Primrose hasn't, in fact, had much of a chance to interact with men on the marriage mart? Well, it is still a little insta-love, but it's a bit more forgivable in the context. Everything just works so much better in this book than usual, and even the tropes that generally induce me to roll my eyes were just fine!

Wild Scandal It's called Sixteen Scandals. It certainly sounds scandalous, but honestly, it dipped into places that were more scandalous than I predicted. The scandal I imagined included sneaking out, dancing with strangers, maybe even some kissing... Regency scandal. This book also included bear baiting viewed alongside her love interest and some late night drinks with a side of exotic dancers... Definitely not places that the genre usually goes. It lives up to more than it promises.


The dialogue, unfortunately, was too often cringeworthy. Half fake-regency style speech and half modern dialogue (but without any sort of intentionality toward either choice), the dialogue was stilted and difficult to get through. It made a fun reading experience just a little bit less fun. Bad Dialogue

If you, as a reader, are looking for something historical, something well-researched and "accurate," run far, far away from this book. It's got the regency trappings, as I've said, but it doesn't have the substance. It's got the taste, but it doesn't have more than that. It's fun. It's lighthearted. It's not to be examined too closely. Not Serious History

The characters in this book are incredibly juvenile--and this isn't a critique of the obviously-supposed-to-be-juvenile rebellious teenagers. The older, supposedly adult characters are steeping in melodrama to a point that is both bizarre and plain bad. It's like a parody of adulthood--of regency parenting--without, again, the sort of intentionality that would allow it to make sense. Juvenile Characters



Those who enjoyed Julia Quinn's The Duke and I will sink right into this slightly-more-innocent love story. Anyone who appreciates Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice should step into this lighthearted regency tale.


Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Date: May 25, 2021
Series: N/A
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