Cover Image: Meg and Jo

Meg and Jo

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Member Reviews

A Little Women retelling worth reading. I love this modern story that still feels like the bones of the original story. The authors interpretations of the characters made the story so believable and gave me a different perspective on the original story. I cannot wait to read the next book.
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It has been some time since I read little woman, but with the new adaptation I jumped at this chance. It is a new take but the characters retained their personalities and they interacted in the spirit of the story.
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Meg & Jo is a modern day retelling of Little Women. It's main focus is on the lives of Meg and Jo as adults, but we also get to hear some from Amy and Beth too! Jo is currently living in New York City working as a prep cook and a secret food blogger, and Meg is living in North Carolina with her handsome husband, John, and her adorable toddlers, Daisy and DJ. When their mother falls ill and it forces all the sisters home for the holidays, they'll rediscover what really matters and what it means to be a family.

While reading this I was also reading Little Women, so it was really interesting to see what was similar and different between the two stories, but I definitely think that you can read this without having previously read Little Women! I finished this before finishing Little Women and although there were Easter eggs throughout the story, it still made enough sense without having that background knowledge. I absolutely loved Jo's character, which isn't a surprise because she's my favorite in LW too, but it took me awhile to start liking Meg. I think she was just trying too hard to be perfect, but she definitely grew as a character as the story went on and I enjoyed getting to read that transition. Although I would have enjoyed hearing a tad bit more from Amy and Beth, I still really enjoyed reading this and I loved the modernization of such a classic story! 

Thank you so much Berkley and Netgally for the opportunity to read and review this book!
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Little Women has always seemed like a holiday read to me. I clearly remember reading my copy around Christmas and watching the black and white version with my mom around the holidays. Now my sister and I love the Wynona Ryder version.

So yes, I couldn’t wait to read @virginiakantra modern, updated retelling Meg and Jo. It starts with Meg married and Jo a struggling NYC food blogger. And oh it was charming. It took awhile for me to get into, though that could be because it wasn’t an audiobook 🤣, but once I got into it I finished the second half in one sitting wanting to know how it ended. The subtle nods to the original novel made me smile and it was the charming, lovely read I needed on Thanksgiving day.

Plus!! Amy & Beth is soon to come!

This five star read was just the way to start the holiday season and get me in the mood for the new Little Women movie.
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I’ve always loved the “next chapter” type books of classics. Meg & Jo, doesn't’ disappoint. 
Virginia Kantra penned a lovely “what’s next”, for the March sisters. 
Fun and positive, showing that family’s love and support can pull us through, even the most frustrating times of our lives. 
Beautiful read. 

*I received an ARC of this book through NetGalley and offer my unbiased review.
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I am not the biggest fan of Little Women so that may contribute to my dislike of this book. I typically enjoy retellings but this one just didn't do it for me.
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Timed to release just before Greta Gerwig’s film adaptation, Virginia Kantra’s MEG & JO is a contemporary retelling of the beloved classic LITTLE WOMEN. Set in our present day, the book focuses on the eldest March sisters and their lives as women. Written with a careful eye for detail and an all-encompassing love for its source material, this is a fresh and lively reimagining for LITTLE WOMEN fans and newcomers alike.

True to its predecessor, MEG & JO kicks off with the memorable opening scene of LITTLE WOMEN, in which the four March sisters are bemoaning their lack of a real Christmas, missing their father and feeling grateful for their mother, who has taken on the full load of running the household while their father is at war. Though the scene has the same warmth and sisterhood of the original, Kantra has updated her version brilliantly. Jo, a certified tomboy, is a track runner; Meg, the beauty queen, dreams of owning her own car, though any boy in town would be happy to drive her anywhere; sickly Beth is constantly in the school nurse’s office complaining of cramps; and Amy is obsessed with designer brands and fashion. Rather than fighting in the Civil War, the March father is stationed in Iraq as an army chaplain. Rounding out the cast of characters is Trey --- ahem, Laurie --- their privileged neighbor who is more interested in speeding around in Maseratis than working through his issues.

With the stage set, MEG & JO leaps into the future, where Jo is a food blogger in New York City and Meg is a Southern lady caring for her young twins. Though Jo loves the hustle and bustle of New York City, her career has taken a bit of a downturn. She was let go from the restaurant where she once worked, and now pays the bills for her barely-more-than-a-storage-unit Chelsea apartment by writing scathing reviews of fancy eateries. Desperate to avoid mixing work with pleasure, she also eschews dating and romance in all forms. After all, no one can understand her bizarre restaurant schedule better than a fellow chef, but no one is less attractive to her, either. Even worse, her roommates and friends have all moved away for jobs or relationships, and she is feeling a bit adrift.

Meanwhile, down in Southern Belle North Carolina, Meg is the proud and stylish mother of adorable twins and the happy wife to her sturdy husband, John. But while Jo sees Meg as perfectly powdered and puffed, Meg knows that her careful attention to appearance is nothing compared to her far wealthier, better dressed and thoroughly Botoxed friends. She has always played by the rules and followed a strict schedule, but she cannot help but feel that something is missing, especially since quitting her job at the bank to become a stay-at-home mom. With her mother ill, she feels even more confined to the life she always dreamed of and starts looking for independence in surprising ways.

When the girls’ mother suffers a fall and they are forced home to North Carolina for the holidays, they learn that their vastly different lifestyles may be more similar than they seem, and that the joy they have been seeking may have been back at home all along. From here, the highlight of MEG & JO is, of course, the bonds of sisterhood between the March women, and readers will find that Kantra has pulled from LITTLE WOMEN only the best parts and molded them into something that is wholly her own. Though she has deftly brought them into the 21st century, she has not left their beautiful bond behind, and the ways that she adapts it for our modern times (including the use of social media) are fun, yet decidedly cautious.

But that is not all that Kantra brings to the table. Her versions of the famous March sisters are edgy and nonconforming; they do not fit perfectly into the molds set by Louisa May Alcott so many years ago --- and they are so much better for it. It is clear that she adores both Alcott’s characters and her own, and though she is not afraid to take risks, she is careful to remain true to the hearts of some of literature’s most beloved fictional creations.

As cherished as the original story of the March sisters is, it is certainly not as modern as we may hope --- gender roles play a huge part in LITTLE WOMEN, and though the girls are always encouraged to follow their dreams, the effects of society are unignorable. In MEG & JO, Kantra imagines sisters living in their own world, one where they can become chefs, work for Louis Vuitton and even attract the attention of men to whom they are not already betrothed. Placing her characters on a more fully fleshed-out stage allows Kantra to push them in new and original directions and sets the scene for even more journeys of self-discovery. Jo in particular (a lifelong favorite of mine) stays true to her namesake while pushing her character arc to the limits by exploring love, career and emotional trauma in ways that were just not possible in Alcott’s time. It is occasionally a jarring distinction from the original, but a lively and enjoyable one.

Those who have never read LITTLE WOMEN and have only seen the film adaptations will not be left confused by this creative retelling, but I do recommend reading the original before delving into MEG & JO, if only to give yourself the room to recognize all the meticulous ways that Kantra has updated and rejuvenated the story. Whether you’re a Meg, Jo, Beth or Amy fan, you’re sure to find something to love in this delightful reimagining --- and please be on the lookout for Kantra’s next book, featuring Beth and Amy.
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I really enjoyed this modern retelling of Little Women. It is one of my favorite books but Meg and Jo do it justice! I really liked seeing the March family in modern times. Its so interesting to see someones take on a classic. If you like Little Women I would highly recommend this book!!!!
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I tried to listen to this earlier in 2020, and I could NOT get into it. I LOVED the new Little Women movie, so I assumed I’d love this if I could get into it. I tried the audiobook when I was at school, and I got into it. Was it the best book I’ve ever read? No. But I liked some of the changes - the North Carolina setting, John being a wrestling coach, Mr. March not being perfect, the cooking and food blog angle. If you’re picking between this Little Women adaptation and the 2019 movie? Watch the movie. *Thanks to @NetGalley for an ARC.*
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I was really looking forward to a contemporary retelling of The Little Women because it’s one of my favorite books. I thought that since there are many modern day retellings of Pride and Prejudice, there should be one on Little Women. However, I have struggled with this book and have found that this was not what I was looking for. I think this book mostly lacks its charm. There were very few similarities with the original, and I believe that if the stuck with a straightforward plot and the original character personalities, I would have loved it more.
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I've been a fan of Virginia Kantra's writing for years, following her from romantic suspense, to paranormal romance, to contemporary romance, and, now, to women's fiction. In all those years, through all those books, she's never failed to engage my emotions, fully immerse me in the worlds of her imagination, and leave me happily craving her next book. Such is the case with her newest novel, Meg & Jo.

Inspired by Louisa May Alcott's Little Women (inspired, not a re-telling), Meg & Jo begins the journey of four present-day March sisters from North Carolina. Fans of the original will see nods to Alcott's characters in the modern-day sisters, as well as some secondary characters, but while Kantra's love of the original is apparent, her Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy are very much modern women of their own making and Meg & Jo, a story of Kantra's creation that I thoroughly enjoyed. Also, for the romance readers among us, fear not. Meg's and Jo's love lives are very much a part of this book and happy endings are assured. 

Whether you have sisters or not, I think we can all relate to the sometimes messy and complicated relationships that are part and parcel of families and how those relationships mold and change us as we go through life. Told by Jo and Meg, in alternating chapters, Kantra skillfully unveils the dynamics of the March family's past, present, and future while guiding the two oldest sisters through their own trials of life. The revelations are emotional, sometimes painful, but remind us that change can be good, can be empowering, can strengthen not only us but our relationships as well. Once again, Kantra fully immersed me in the lives of her characters, giving me a stake in their happiness. I celebrated their triumphs, shared their fears, fell in love with Meg's and Jo's heroes (both of them, for different reasons), and fell in love with this family. For all its dysfunctional parts, all the complicated, competitive relationships, in the end, these people, these sisters, are family and while their bonds of love may be tested, while they may bend and stretch, they never break. 

Beth and Amy are next to have their stories told and I cannot wait to discover what Kantra has in store for them. I mean, how could I not be excited about a story that begins with this line: "It's always a mistake to sleep with a man who's in love with your sister." 

*ARC received via Netgalley
*All opinions expressed are unbiased and my own
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I wrote about this book on my blog and will provide details directly to the publisher in the next round of this process
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I am always a sucker for retellings of my favorite classics, because, honestly, I don't have a lot of favorite classics. Kantra did an amazing job of taking the Little Women characters we love and updating them for this century. 

Thanks to Net Galley for the chance to read and review this ARC.
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This modern day spin on Little Women is about the lives of the four March sisters. This book is told in alternating chapters from the perspectives of two of the sisters, Meg and Jo. The other two sisters are introduced and have minor roles in the story. I enjoyed the book, though it was pretty predictable. I do plan to read the next one to find out what happens to the other two sisters.
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I usually love re-tellings of classics so I was very excited for this one.  Ever since I read Wicked by Gregory McGuire, I was hooked. There were parts of this book that were enjoyable and I actually saw the original characters in the new, but mostly I couldn't wrap my head around them.
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In the middle of a pandemic, with no clear timeline for any of us getting to leave our homes anytime soon, comfort reading is in order. Virginia Kantra's Meg & Jo seems like the perfect fit for right now. It is an adaptation and modern retelling of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women, which was one of my favorite childhood books. Jane Austen adaptations are an industry of their own, but Alcott's Little Women has gotten very little attention from novelists. Despite the many screen adaptations, I can only think of one other novel version, Geraldine Brooks's March, which tells the story of the March sisters' absent father while he is on the battlefront. Are there others that I'm missing?

Meg & Jo illustrates one very good reason that there may be fewer adaptations: it is hard to hit the right tone. The characters in Little Women fight and undergo hardships, but there's an underlying cheerfulness that sometimes seems hard to believe. While Kantra has found a creative way to update Alcott's story, it's heavy-going at some points because the characters are so weighed down by burdens and unhappiness. In some sections, the novel misses much of the original's joy.

And then there are moments where it veers a bit too far into heavy-panting romance and over the top language. When Jo's in the throes of a romantic encounter, she tells us that "he kissed like this was the main course instead of merely an appetizer, like he could go on kissing me for hours." She describes sex as "hot and wet, carnal and wonderful. I was drowning in sensation. In him." Her love interest declares that "I have such a taste for you, Jo." In response, Jo describes feeling like "His whisper sparkled along my nerves, burst in my chest like a fistful of glitter. And my breath went all over again." What does it even mean that her "breath went all over again"? The writing in these sections feels more like a cheap romance novel more than a witty updating of a classic.

Despite this, I did enjoy the novel as a whole, especially in the second half when the different plot lines start converging. Kantra is tough on the father, which doesn't feel entirely out of place given how small his presence is in Little Women. Just like Alcott's novel, Meg & Jo celebrates family in a way that doesn't feel contrived or artificial. Despite my misgivings about tone and the writing, this novel is a light read for a pandemic.
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This book is inspired by the classic novel Little Women by Louisa May Alcott and I haven't read it yet. But I know one of the major spoilers because of the tv series FRIENDS (The One Where Monica and Richard are Friends). We get to know the March sisters but the main focus of this book are Meg and Jo. Meg is married and a stay-at-home mom while Jo is a food blogger and a prep cook in New York. They come home to North Carolina after hearing about their mother's illness. I liked the family dynamics in this book. The support and bonding of the March sisters are definitely the highlight for me. I thought the story was forgettable but this is still a very heart-warming read about unconditional love and the importance of family.
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It starts off slow and kind of dense, but once the action begins, it's hard to resist the story as it drives forward. It reads as a true epic, one that makes you feel the world really has been reshaped as you read it. Would recommend.
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This brilliant reimagining of Little Women is sure to please fans of the book, and draw in new readers. Kantra is at her best, digging deep and brining us real emotions from characters who jump off the page.
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This was a fun modern adaptation of Little Women. The story felt less idealized and more real life throughout, with a happier ending and of course positive message.
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