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By the Book

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  35 ratings  ·  28 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
Expected publication: May 12th 2020 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 4.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  35 ratings  ·  28 reviews

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✨ A ✨
Jun 12, 2019 marked it as to-read
Shelves: 2020-release
When a cover is this beautiful, you better pray that the contents match. ...more
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.
♡ ᴅ ʀ ᴇ ᴀ ᴍ ♡ (semi-hiatus)
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!
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 ...more
Nov 12, 2019 marked it as not-released-tbr
a novel of PROSE and cons....

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Jun 12, 2019 marked it as to-read

This is cozy mystery levels of delightful pun.
Nov 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020, arc
I was unsure when I first started the book that the main character was only 15 years old (although she does turn 16 in the story). I’ve read contemporaries before that have read very young.

I shouldn’t have worried. While a theme of the book is personal growth, Mary naturally brings an air of sophistication with her book smarts and super brainy family. Somehow Mary is both naive and worldly in a winning and likable way.

More than anything this story is about friendship - and what it looks like
Jan 09, 2020 rated it liked it
For a ~400 page book, this took me way too long to read. I got bored several times and just felt like it dragged out a lot of what could've been saved for a few pages.

Regardless, the high parts of the book saved it from being a complete no from me. I thought it was a great YA book about finding love in high school, but also about making friends in high school. I honestly don't know which of the two is harder on you at that age.

(view spoiler)
Dec 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is one of my most anticipated books of 2020 and after receiving the ARC I pretty much gobbled it up in one sitting.

First, I LOVE that the MC is on the younger side of YA. It's not something frequently seen right now, and it felt refreshing and fun. Second, I absolutely enjoyed every single reference to a classic novel. It's like reading a fun inside joke with a fellow book nerd. The MC was totally relatable in that sense and someone I would have absolutely connected with as a teen.

Lm Huffman
Aug 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read an early draft of this book and LOVED IT. I can't wait to get a finished copy in my eager hands!
Dec 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Mary Porter-Malcolm has not been raised in the traditional way. Her parents are academics who have kept out technology and encouraged the reading of classics by every child they have. And, until this year, they have also had Mary enrolled at a small, charter school with an emphasis on Socratic seminars and independent study.

Now MPM must attend the local high school and learn how to navigate the halls of the campus and the social orders. Luckily, she at least knows how to avoid the scoundrels
This was better than a 3 but not exactly a 4. It was okay, It read really young and sorta dry but it was a cute story. I really liked that it referenced a lot of literally classics but it also spoiled them.
The elements I enjoyed the most in this rom-com were Mary's family, her friendship highs & lows, and her struggle to fit in at a public school for the first time.

It's a rom-com, though, so that should probably tell you all you need to know about the "rom" and the "com." Most of the comedy is provided courtesy of her younger brother Jasper--I would love to read a book about him.

As for the romance--CRINGE. If Alex had been a year younger or Mary had been even just one year older and a junior
Kara Gemian
Dec 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a perfect book for me! I truly loved everything about it: the friendships, the literary references, the romance! It was all so cute and fairytale-like while still being relatable.

Even though I haven’t read all of the literary works that Mary talks about, I still understood all of the references and don’t think the literature talk will deter any reader in the slightest. Plus, I freaking loved all the Austen talk!

I seriously wish I had a group of friends like Mary’s in high school or even a
Dec 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc, read-but-unowned
I received this free eARC novel from NetGalley. This is my honest review.

I was extremely excited to get this novel early because I loved the cover and the synopsis from the moment I saw it. And for the most part I enjoyed this novel.

Mary is a bit judgmental in this novel. She thinks she's trying to avoid a certain type of guy, but she's really judging them before getting to know them. After 10 minutes in their company, she has everything figured out and has put then in their character
Tara Weiss
Dec 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
What to read while wearing your Pride and Prejudice socks and sipping tea out of your Bronte sisters mug. Mary Porter Malcolm, who usually has her nose buried the the pages of a Victorian novel, is pushed from the tiny, cozy nest of a super-small private school and the comfort of her siblings into the OMG world of public high school. Relying on the tips she's picked up from classic literature, she makes some friends who take Mary under their wing and put together the quintessential experience ...more
Nov 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya
Lover of classic romance novels, Mary Porter-Malcolm is often overlooked among her family of intellectuals. When she’s forced to transfer schools her sophomore year, her hope for making friends is slim, but during a chance encounter with three “cool girls,” she doles out some life-saving (and literary) dating advice. Fascinated by Mary’s quaint and literary mind, the girls make it their mission to introduce her to high school society through a series of escapades. Meanwhile, Mary keeps running ...more
Jan 14, 2020 is currently reading it
I'm not typically one for romances but I really ended up loving this one! I think Amanda Sellet did an awesome job making this book charming and nerdy (but in a very fun bookish way). The voice of the main character sounded very authentic to me and I really loved all of the literary references even though I'm not super well-read in the classic romance genre. This would be such a fun read to devour during Valentine's Day. I would recommend to teen girls (maybe more suitable for the younger end) ...more
Dec 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Adorable! Love, love, love Amanda Sellet's By the Book! This is a perfect YA literary rom-com that hits all the right notes. As a middle school librarian, I will definitely be adding this to my collection. Although main character Mary has sometimes old beyond her years vocabulary, she is well-versed in Brit lit classics, so that can be forgiven. I will recommend this to all my students looking for their next girl-meets-bad-boy but is he really? read. Super enjoyable! Thank you to NetGalley for ...more
Dec 28, 2019 rated it liked it
This was cute and fluffy, as much about friendship and family as romance. Mary is a huge reader, particularly of classics, and I loved all her references to various classic books, but I think the book works even for readers who aren’t as well-read as Mary and who may not be familiar with her references.

Note: I read this as a free eARC from Netgalley.
Vinny —☽.。* Artsy Draft
Thank you HMH Books for Young Readers for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

Natalie Jaser
Nov 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read this book early thanks to #NetGalley.

I didn't put this book down! I loved everything about it. The characters are awesome and a great example of High School dynamics. I will recommend this book to High school readers as soon as we get it! The literary references are fantastic! Mary may feel like her name is "boring" but this book is anything but.
Nov 27, 2019 rated it liked it
A solid 3 stars but I almost gave it 2. Then I remebered that, if I had been a few years younger, I would've enjoyed this story with more energy. If you're new to the young adult genre, this book is a great starter. There's no clear sexual material. The most the characters ever do is kiss. So, for a young adult romance, this is very tame. This is perfect for ages 13 to 15 but that's about it. While the main character is book smart, she is emotionally immature and she acts like a child. It was ...more
Jan 07, 2020 rated it liked it
Very well versed take on YA romance wherein the heroine sees everything except what it right in front of her face.
Dec 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
More familiar with the Brontes than the Kardashians, sixteen-year-old Mary Porter-Malcolm is in for a world of new experiences when she starts attending public school. Her erudite upbringing may not seem useful in the cutthroat world of high school until she finds a group of friends eager to learn from her wide knowledge of the classics. When she names popular classmate Alex Ritter a total "Vronsky" (see Anna Karenina), Mary sets off a chain of events that will come back to haunt her, especially ...more
Jennifer Aufforth
Nov 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The best contemporary I have read in a really long time!
Oct 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Nov 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Mary learns about the ins and out of friendship, romance, and family in this oh so adorable young adult romance.

I saw this book when I attended YALLfest in November. It was on display at the publisher table, but they did not have any physical copies to give out at the time. I was happy to find it available on Edelweiss days later!

I’m a huge lover
rated it really liked it
Dec 20, 2019
rated it it was amazing
Oct 26, 2019
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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.
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