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By the Book

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  4,091 ratings  ·  1,001 reviews
As a devotee of classic novels, Mary Porter-Malcolm knows all about Mistakes That Have Been Made, especially by impressionable young women. So when a girl at her new high school nearly succumbs to the wiles of a notorious cad, Mary starts compiling the Scoundrel Survival Guide, a rundown of literary types to be avoided at all costs.

Unfortunately, Mary is better at dishing
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published May 12th 2020 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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Megan There’s not really any swearing or sex, just a couple of kisses .
Nicki She is 15 at the start and celebrates her 16th birthday in the book!
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Average rating 3.62  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,091 ratings  ·  1,001 reviews

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Miranda Reads
Dec 09, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: published2020

December Tierlist Vlog is up! Click the link to see the video review of all the books read in December!
The Written Review
Mary Porter-Malcolm knows two things:

1) You can literally find any and all answers within the pages of a good book.
2) Any book published in the last century just isn't worth reading.

Mary spent her entire life deep within the pages of old tomes and classic works...but then the unthinkable happens.

She has to go to public school.

Mary's charter/experimental school at th
Abbie | nerdyabbie
Mar 22, 2020 rated it liked it
The perfect YA rom-com for Jane Austen nerds.

As a devotee of classic novels, Mary Porter-Malcolm knows all about Mistakes That Have Been Made, especially by impressionable young women. So when a girl at her new high school nearly succumbs to the wiles of a notorious cad, Mary starts compiling the Scoundrel Survival Guide, a rundown of literary types to be avoided at all costs.

Unfortunately, Mary is better at dishing out advice than taking it—and the number one bad boy on her list is terribly deb
Jan 24, 2021 rated it did not like it
DNFed at 33%

This book is terrible. I find it incredibly unrelatable, wordy, just straight-up boring. I’m sorry, but it’s true. I wish I never picked it up.

Let’s start with the characters. Our main character is the blandest character I have ever had the displeasure of meeting. She is most definitely not like other girls. Why? Because she reads. Not only that, but she only reads classics. And she only talks as if she’s stuck in the 1800s. That’s her personality, right there. She is so annoying,
Jun 12, 2019 marked it as to-read
I'll just be here, trying to manage my expectations between the beautiful cover and the punny tittle.
Lisa (Remarkablylisa)
May 26, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: may-2020
DNF! at 55% . I just did not like our main female character. She was judgmental and praised for it and the whole book was going nowhere. I felt like there was no plot. I was stuck between being bored and annoyed.
Bree Lauren
ARC received in exchange for an honest review from Netgalley.

A personal anecdote for you that, I swear, relates to this book: I work with a lot of ivy league graduates of the scholarly nature and our main character, Mary’s parents are so painfully, triggeringly, pin-point-perfectly depictive of those types of people.

I truly wondered if I would make it through this book with all the eye-twitching I had going on any time her parents spoke.

Mary’s parents have the uncanny ability to overcomplicate w
demi. ♡
Oct 12, 2019 marked it as to-read
The cover attracted me at first but after reading the synopsis and seeing this quote.

"If she wants a happy ending IRL, she’ll have to write it herself."

Yeah, bring it on girl. Count me in. Looking forward to reading this!
May 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
5 out of 5

For me, most YA contemporary romance books are either just okay or end up being a huge miss; most of the time I don’t bother to read any unless the premise piques my interest quite a bit. By the Book definitely caught it the moment I read the synopsis. It appeared to be a fun read but I wasn’t expecting it to be absolutely hilarious and heartwarming.

The most pleasant surprise is how much focus is put on the female friendships. I went in thinking I was only getting a cute romance, but t
Nov 16, 2019 added it
Shelves: 2020-releases
This book was *delightful,* and I can’t even imagine how much more I would’ve enjoyed it if I were a fan of the classics. It was so much more friendship-centric than I had anticipated (think Emma Mills - when I saw in the acknowledgments that they have the same agent I was like OF COURSE) and I loved that the MC was from a big family, because you don’t see that so often and it’s such a fun dynamic. It’s so charming, the MC is so so genuinely and lovably bookish, and I love how many references th ...more
Tucker  (TuckerTheReader)
Nov 12, 2019 marked it as not-released-tbr
a novel of PROSE and cons....

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Éimhear (A Little Haze)
This book should have been perfect for me. A cutesy YA contemporary with a bookish heroine obsessed with the classics...

And yet I’m left feeling underwhelmed.

I read this book but still feel like I didn’t “read” it...
I know. That makes no sense.
Let me try to explain.

Do you ever find yourself going through the motions with a book? That for some reason you remain forever detached from the characters and the storyline? Because that’s how I feel with this book. I never found my feet.

Case in poin
Mar 20, 2020 added it
Shelves: dnf
DNF @ 5%. I try to go 25% before I give up on a book, but I couldn't even make it through two chapters of this book. It was just trying way too hard. The main character was insufferable. I will say I'm also a lot older than the target audience for this book, so a younger, quirkier crowd may enjoy this much more. ...more
Helen Power
Jun 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult, romance
This was such a cute book! I had a hard time with the language at first, and I almost DNFed after the first chapter. Mary only reads classic literature and the way she talks and thinks reflects this. But as I got used to this style, it really added to the humour and made Mary into a likable and unique character. How many teenagers think and talk like a turn-of-the-century heroine?
The plot of this story is freaking adorable, and I loved the friends she made--particularly the sweet, quiet, and be

Title: By the Book
Series: Standalone
Author: Amanda Sellet
Release date: May 12, 2020
Cliffhanger: no
Genre: young adult

I was desperate to read this book the minute I saw it. I'm a sucker for bookish heroines so it seemed like this story had my name written all over it. Undoubtedly, Mary's love for books was her most admirable trait for me. She seemed to have an encyclopedic knowledge of classic literature characters, which is rare for someone her age. Though it's not beyond the realm of possibilit
Aug 29, 2020 marked it as dnf  ·  review of another edition
dnf @ 45%

This seemed fun at first, but I'm almost half way through and the story seems to be going nowhere. I kind of lost interest.

The audiobook was good though.
Amanda Sellet
Dec 01, 2020 marked it as to-read  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: books-i-wrote
Hello Readers! Popping in to say that if you enjoyed BY THE BOOK, there's a bonus holiday short story set a few weeks after the main action on my website. "Twelfth Night" is narrated by the one-and-only Jasper, and is meant to be a small thank-you to everyone who has given this book a chance. As always, I hope it makes you laugh.
Happy reading!
Madalyn (Novel Ink)
This was very cute and also very unique. My only complaint is that it started feeling a bit long and repetitive toward the middle. Overall, though, a solid debut, and one I think a lot of book lovers will enjoy.
Claude's Bookzone
Aug 20, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars

A fun book with intelligent humour and wonderful literary references. Readers will either find Mary Porter-Malcom insufferable or they will find her quirky and charming. I fall into the latter group of Readers. I loved the witty banter between many of the different characters. It reminded me a little bit of the Gilmour Girls in that respect. It's predictable and fluffy and safe. It has made me want to reread some of my favourite classics. An enjoyable read.
I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher via NetGalley. This in no way impacted on my view.

I knew I would enjoy this book as soon as I heard about it last year, but my god, I was not expecting to love it as much as I did. I couldn't put it down as soon as I had started, and it's my favourite book of 2020 so far this year! Mary is in love with books, but especially classics. She is definitely of the What Would Lizzy Bennet Do? camp, and uses what she has learnt in her reading to help
3.5 Stars

So this book was really cute but it read a lot younger than I had initially expected. I for some reason thought it was end of high school so I had to adjust when I found out the MC is a sophomore.

This story follows Mary as she transitions to a new school and realizes her only friend wants nothing to do with her. Without meaning to, Mary injects herself into a conversation that ultimately leads to friendship with three other girls. To them, Mary is a wealth of knowledge. Having read eve
⠀n. ♡
Jun 23, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: subscription-box
⠀⠀✧ • ° . ◦ *⠀┊ two stars.

i re-did the review for this book and i got mad about it all over again. how are you going to require readers have a thesaurus beside them while they have to relive their middle school trauma?

read the full review here:

↠ once upon a book hardback
↠ 06.09.20 — 06.23.20
annotated? no
readathon? no
Jacob Proffitt
Aug 23, 2020 marked it as unfinished  ·  review of another edition
I made it not-quite halfway before bogging down. And I don't even know why, though I suspect it's the narrative voice. Mary is insecure and a bit self-consciously pretentious and she made me tired. But the friends are great and I laughed out loud more than once. So I'm chalking this up to a mismatch or mood thing that I won't rate. Maybe I'll come back to it later when I'm in a more congenial mood? ...more
Joshee Kun (조수아)
The times we had together were the closest my life has ever come to the kind of moments that could be in a book. —M.P.M.

This is me forcing myself to overcome a writing slump because I NEED to review this book. It's definitely one of my favorite 2020 releases and now one of my inspirations for my work in progress. Also, I must say that reading this novel was a breath of fresh air after I endured a particularly bad retelling of Anna Karenina. The main character's disdain for Vronsky was so on poin
Trisha Tomy
Blog review: https://trishadoeseverythingbutstudy2...

I really, really, wanted to love it. I didn't.

This book had been on my radar for so long, I can't remember. Wait, I'll check.

This book, has been on my shelves, since June 24th. I want some kind of compensation for the expectations that this book dashed to pieces.

On the whole, it's not a bad book. It's just not what I wanted it to be.

Let's start off with the problems in this book. The first one, is that no one, you hear me, no one , draws a
Merie Shen
YA contemporary romances... not my thing. But what can I say, I was in the mood and this was the only one on my needs-to-be-tackled TBR, and of course it helps that both the premise and the cover are absolutely charming.

The first issue I feared when diving into this book is content. Predictable, I know, but looking at a lot of the mainstream/secular contemporary books out there, I think I have a point. At any rate, I am so so happy that By the Book was freeeee of all the unnecessary icky stuff!

Jessica Jeffers
Jun 05, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya-fiction
I was so looking forward to By the Book because I needed a light-hearted read to offset all the heaviness of the world, but this was so poorly written that I struggled to get through it. You'd think that a YA book about a book nerd who begins categorizing boys according to literary tropes would be right up my alley. However, almost all of the interesting action in this book takes place off the page, with characters discussing it after the fact or the narrator dropping references to it after the ...more

DNF at 12%

Do not want to read another book about a bunch of judgmental chicks - one of them literally treats her supposedly best friend like shit for no apparent reason. This book goes for smart and sassy bit it is just immature and dull. Sad though, because the cover is super cute.

nick (the infinite limits of love)

By the Book has to be one of my favorite YA books of all-time! It reminded me of Kasie West's earlier books as well as Emma Mills' stories. It's one of those books that had me grinning, swooning, and left me on cloud nine.

As a bookworm, it always delights me to read stories about bookish heroines. Mary was the definition of a book lover with her love for the classics. She's learned a lot from them and her latest attempt to apply what she's learned of literary men into real life, she finds h
Lindsay (pawsomereads)
May 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
By the Book is one of my favorite kind of books; a book about books! (How many times will I say book in this review? Stay tuned to find out!) In my opinion, there’s nothing better than a book about books. I love reading about other readers like me who share the same passion and feelings towards books! Mary, the main character, is definitely a kindred spirit in that regard. Her love for books is so relatable, from being annoyed by interruptions in the middle of a crucial scene to staying in bed t ...more
Booktastically Amazing
For full review visit:

RATING:🌟🌟🌟⭐️⭐️ 3.0


Okay, let me just start by saying that I didn’t understand half of the 19th-century mumbo jumbo the main character said. I’ll begin by rehashing that I was a bit hesitant to start this book because of the classic feel of it. I have like 20 classics in my bookshelves and I haven’t read any of them. Let me explain, I like stories to be relatable and feel human to me. Mea
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Amanda Sellet has strong opinions about books, movies, and baked goods, which led to a previous career as a professional critic. Now she channels that saltiness into YA novels about smart girls who still have a lot to learn.
On the comedy/tragedy question, she is team comedy all the way.

Articles featuring this book

If you love discovering great stories from new voices, then the past few months have been quite a treat in the world of young adult fiction!...
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“You said she had a condition?” Terry looked questioningly at me.
“Ennui. It’s like boredom, except you think it makes you interesting.”
“It was almost a direct reversal of the old rules of conduct, under which a woman had to remain virginal or risk being cast out of society. Nowadays young women were apparently supposed to count being a sexual dynamo among their accomplishments—a far riskier avocation than embroidery or playing the harp.

From damned if you do to damned if you don’t: the story of women’s lives”
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