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Sometimes a guy is even better than you imagined.
The Russo family and Seattle, Washington, are no match for Claire Hart and her savvy knowledge of all things vampire-related. Thanks to her obsession with the Twilight series, if there is anyone who would know a vampire when she saw one, it's Claire. And she's positive totally hot Tony Russo is a vampire — she just has to prove it!
In this modern retelling of Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey, follow Claire's hilarious journey on her first summer adventure away from home, where she learns everything isn't what is seems, and that is some instances, reality is way better than anything she'd ever find in a book.
About the Author
Jenni James is a busy mom of seven children who is married to a totally hot Air Force recruiter. When she isn’t busy chasing her kids around the house, she’s dreaming of new romantic books to write. Northanger Alibi is the second book in Jenni’s series, The Jane Austen Diaries. The first book in the series, Pride & Popularity, was released by Inkberry Press in August 2011. The third book, Persuaded, will be released in summer 2012.
To find out more about The Jane Austen Diaries or Jenni’s other projects, please visit her website, authorjennijames.com, or her Facebook page, Author Jenni James. She loves to hear from her readers and may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Are you kidding?” I gasped as I bounced on my family’s multicolored striped couch. “You want to take me? Me? To Seattle? Are you sure?”
“Yep.” The older woman across from me grinned. “That is, if your parents say you can go.” She smiled the sweetest smile I’d ever seen toward my mom and dad, who were perched nervously on the matching loveseat.
I couldn’t believe one of my mom’s best friends had just asked me to go with her and her husband on his business trip this summer—to Seattle, of all places! Seattle was only my favorite dreamiest vacation spot ever.
“You really want Claire to come with you?” Mom asked Darlene, clearly hedging. Mom had that deer-in-the-headlights look on her face—you know, the one that reads, “Dang. Now what am I going to do?” She knew Washington was my favorite state and that I would totally give my right arm to go. I had only whined and pleaded every day for the last three years for my parents to take us on a road trip up there.
My mom’s problem was letting her baby go. And why she still considered me her baby, I’ll never know.
“Are you sure you wouldn’t be happier taking Cassidy?” she asked.
Cass? Are you kidding me? “Mo–om.” What planet of Totally Unfair did she come from, anyway?
Darlene shook her head. “Actually, I was really hoping for a younger girl, since the president of Seattle’s Northwest Academy—where most of the meetings will be held—has a couple of children in high school. Cassidy is older than that, right? I promised them the next time I came, I’d bring children their age.”
Two things in that little speech stuck out at me—two things I’m sure were meant to excite me but that somehow dampened my whole outlook on the trip: “children” and “promised to bring children.”
Great. Are the kids so ugly and weird that Darlene has to bring friends with her so they’ll have someone to hang out with?
Yeah, that didn’t sit well with me. But surprisingly, it seemed to perk Mom up. “Oh, so there’ll be another family there with children Claire’s age?” she asked. “She’ll have friends?”
“Oh, yes,” Darlene said. “They will be so grateful to have her there, you have no idea. They are practically desperate for friends.”
“D–desperate for f–friends?” Um, can we say warning flag, anyone? If they’re that worried about having friends, maybe this whole going-to-Seattle-thing wasn’t the greatest idea after all.
“And you’ll be gone for how long?” Mom really must’ve been warming up to the idea.
Darlene shrugged and smiled. “I don’t know. It all depends on how quickly Roger can pick up the training he needs. It could take anywhere from three to four weeks all the way up to eleven or twelve weeks. Claire could be in Washington the whole summer.”
The whole summer? Never mind the weirdo high-school-age children. I am so going! A whole summer in Seattle is worth enduring anything—anything at all.
“Wow! The whole summer?” Mom gasped. “That’s a long time. What do you think, Dave?” She turned a bit to study my dad’s face, which was a massively good sign. She only asked for his opinion if she wasn’t willing to say no herself, and the chances of my dad saying no were slim.
“I think we should let her go.” He smiled over at me, and my heart soared. “Who knows when another opportunity like this will come around?”
“Did you know Washington is one of the places Claire has always wished she could go?” Dad asked Darlene.
“Really? Isn’t this your lucky day then? When I was a girl, I always wanted to visit somewhere exotic, like Hawaii. I’ll never forget the moment I learned Roger had arranged our honeymoon there.” She leaned back and laughed softly. “Oh, I shrieked and shrieked and danced around the room. My poor fiancé didn’t know what to do with me.” She glanced back over at my parents. “I’ll bring Roger over later. Maybe we’ll treat you guys to dinner or something—we’ll see. But I promise we’ll definitely get together so we can work out the details. I hope you know you can completely trust us.”
“Oh, no. I’m not worried, honestly,” Mom said. “I would trust you with any of my girls. It’s just I’m not used to being away from Claire that long.”
Oh, brother. I rolled my eyes and willed myself not to freak out about her extremely overprotective nature. As if I would ever do anything wrong. We’re talking me here, the good daughter. My mind wandered back a few years to the day my sister Cassidy nearly caused my parents to have heart attacks when she agreed to meet this crazy guy in secret. Thank goodness our older sister Chloe and her boyfriend Taylor found her in time. In that moment, life at the Hart house changed, and my mom has been completely over-the-top protective of us ever since. It’s like she never trusts us anymore. Not that I blame her. I mean, we all thought Blake was pretty cool until he tried to disappear with Cassidy. Then we got a bit freaked out. Why is it that all it takes is one evil person to ruin everything?
Well, one thing was for sure—Dad’s answer really helped Mom warm up to the idea of me going to Seattle, because she said suddenly, “Okay, I’ll let Claire go.”
“That’s wonderful!” Darlene gushed.
“Really?” I nearly fell off my chair. “Are you serious?”
“Yes. But . . .”
I knew I wouldn’t get off that easy. “But?”
“I know this may seem rude, Darlene, but I would feel much better if Cassidy came too.”
Okay, yeah, that is rude, I thought. You can’t just bring your kids along to hang out with other people when they haven’t been invited. What is she thinking? I was about to die of embarrassment until I heard—
“Yes, great. I have no problem taking Cassidy too, especially if it means we get to have Claire with us.” Darlene was much nicer about it than I expected her to be.
“Thank you! Thank you!” I couldn’t help myself—I rushed over and gave Darlene a huge hug. “You’re the best!”
“Hey! What are we, chopped liver?” my dad said good-naturedly.
“You know I love you. Thank you.” I hugged my parents. “Can I tell Cass, please? I can’t wait to see her face.”
“Sure, sure.” Dad shooed me away. “We need to work out a few minor things with Darlene anyway.”
That meant they needed to talk about how much it would cost. I wanted to be long gone when that conversation happened—no reason to feel guilty. “Okay!” I hollered as I skidded down the hall toward Cassidy’s room. Then I banged on the door. “Hey, I’ve got some news. Hurry up.”
I could hear my parents and Mrs. Hadley chuckling behind me as Cassidy opened the door. “What’s up?”
“Oh my gosh! You’re never going to believe where we’re going,” I exclaimed as I pushed my older sister back into her room and shut the door with my foot.
She laughed and swatted my hands away. “What do you mean? Are they planning a vacation or something?”
“Something like that.”
She put her hands on her hips. “Okay, spill.”
It came out in one big gush. “Oh my gosh! You know Darlene? Well, she came here to invite me to go to Seattle with her. Can you believe it? I’m totally dying here. Mom got overprotective and demanded that you come too—which I was seriously mortified about—but it doesn’t matter because Darlene said yes! You get to come too, to Washington, for at least three weeks but maybe even the whole summer! How cool is that?”
After my monologue, I was so busy catching my breath that it took me a moment to realize Cassidy wasn’t jumping around the room like I thought she’d be. In fact, she looked downright upset about it.
“Hey, are you okay? What’s wrong?”
“Do I have to go?” That was the last thing I expected to come from her lips.
“Are you kidding? You mean, ‘Do I really get to go,’ right?”
“No.” Cassidy shook her head. “Do I have to go? Like, will Mom let you go without me?”
“There is something seriously wrong with my ears. I know you’re not sounding disturbed by this amazing news. I know it.” Sheesh. What is this world coming to? “And yes, to answer your question, I think Mom would totally freak out if you didn’t come too. It was hard enough for her to let me go as it is.” No thanks to your antics with Blake.
“Can you keep a secret?” Cassidy asked quietly.
No. I’m the worst at keeping secrets. Everyone knows that. “Um, sure. What is it?”
She frowned and looked nervously around the cluttered room as though she was checking to see if we were alone. With a gulp, she leaned forward and whispered, “Promise me you won’t tell anyone, okay? Promise?”
Only people I can absolutely trust. “Promise.”
Her eyes were huge. “I’m seeing someone.”
Huh? “That’s your secret? You’re seeing someone?”
She looked perturbed. “Well, yeah. That’s a big secret!”
“That you’re seeing someone?” I snorted and plopped on her bed. “You’re talking about Ethan, right?”
Cassidy’s jaw dropped. “How in the—? Where did you—?”
“Chloe told me like a year ago.”
“Yeah. She told a lot of people. That’s way old news.”
“What? Did she tell Mom and Dad?”
“Um . . . no.” I threw a crumpled T-shirt at her. “Chloe’s not stupid. But I wouldn’t be surprised if they already know anyway.”
“Are you kidding me?” Cassidy threw herself on the bed next to me, obviously dejected. “Mom and Dad would have total seizures, and you know it.”
She’s probably right. “Come on, they’re not that bad.”
“Not that bad?” She flipped around and faced me. “Not that bad? You of all people should know what it’s been like living through their ‘grounding for life’ episode.” She fell back on the bed again. “Never mind that Ethan is only one of the nicest guys ever. And so different from Blake Winter, it’s a joke. Mom and Dad don’t trust me to make my own judgments when it comes to guys. I’m eighteen. Really, you’d think they’d lighten up!”
“Cass, it looks like they are,” I pointed out. “If this vacation is anything to go by, they trust you a lot.”
“Yeah, some trust—banning me from the one guy I have ever really loved for a whole summer.”
“A guy they technically don’t know exists.” Good grief. Maybe I don’t want her to go if she’s going to be a major mess. “Think of it this way, Cassidy. If you manage to bring me back in one piece and prove to them that you’re responsible, you could probably very easily include Ethan in the picture once you got home.”
She sat up. The imaginary lightbulb above her head flickered and then lit up. “I think you’re right.” She jumped off the bed and walked over to her window. “So, if I go for like a few weeks this summer, by the time I get back everything will be a whole lot better. I mean, they have to trust me, right?” She spun around with a huge smile on her face. “It’s brilliant! Like totally mad-scientist perfect. If Mom and Dad trust me enough to babysit you all the way in Washington, then they’ll have to trust me with everything else. Hee hee hee!”
Now she was dancing around the room.
“Come on!” She giggled. “We’ve only got what, three weeks until summer break? We’ve got to figure out what to pack!”
Needless to say, I left my older sister much happier than when I’d gone into her room thirty minutes earlier. We planned everything, down to our party clothes, just in case we were lucky enough to go out somewhere. All in all, I was pretty pleased with the idea of going with my sister. She was a lot of fun, if you knew her. Some people only saw her quiet side—the person she’d been ever since the Blake incident—but for a few minutes there, I got a glimpse of the old Cassidy, the Cassidy that probably only Ethan saw these days.
Hmm. Maybe this trip will be better all the way around for a lot of reasons.
I softly closed my door and took a minute to just look around my bedroom. I’d turned sixteen earlier in the year, and I was now almost sixteen and a half. In the pre-Blake days, it would have been the perfect age, because it would have been the time when I could go on my first date. But because of Blake, Dad had threatened to make us wait until we were thirty. Okay, to be fair, I’m sure he would’ve relented and let me go on a date now if a guy actually asked me.
Yep. That was my sorry state of life. Sixteen, never been on a date, never been kissed, never held hands with a guy, never—well, never anything. Totally pathetic, right? I blame it mostly on my randomly weird parents—and the fact that after Chloe and Cassidy were born, there wasn’t much magic left in the beauty wand for me.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m pretty enough—just not knockout gorgeous pretty. Take my sisters, for instance. Chloe is a stunning redhead with long, perfectly placed ringlets, who’s practically engaged to the hottest guy in Farmington, New Mexico. And Cassidy has the same exact ringlets, just with bright blonde hair and a reputation for being either a massive wild-child flirt—thanks to Blake—or a soft-spoken mouse—again, thanks to Blake.
Anyway, how can you compete against a blonde and a redhead? Especially when I’m not sure what color my completely straight hair is. Sometimes people tell me it looks dirty blonde, and sometimes I’ve been told it looks brownish.
Fine. So there you have it. I’m the baby in a family of three girls, and my total existence has revolved around the consequences of my older sisters’ action.
With a sigh, I walked around my room almost as though I was seeing it for the first time. The feeling was pretty surreal, as if it knew I was about to leave and have an amazing adventure. Washington! Just thinking about it made me giggle again. I ran over to my desk, plunked down in the seat, and pulled down the book above me before my brain had even processed what I was doing.
Twilight, the most perfect book in the whole world, and subsequently, my favorite in the series. Carefully, I opened up the well-used paperback and allowed the pages to float down in a happy fan. I could feel the gentle breeze they made against my arm before they nestled down again. Almost by instinct, I thumbed through a couple of worn pages and found my favorite passage. It was, hands down, the most romantic paragraph ever written. I sighed as I read the words of Edward Cullen when he tells Bella that she is the most important thing to him now, and how the thought of hurting her has tortured him.
Then I quickly flipped a couple of pages until I came to the most poignant of all things ever said by Edward. I vividly remembered shaking when I first read his description of his desperate battle within himself to not kill Bella. All he wanted was to get her alone, but the thought of what killing her would do to his family kept him from it. Little did I know until that moment how much danger she’d been in! Edward wanted to kill her and had thought of ways to do it.
Bella Swan. The most amazing heroine ever written. I mean, what other female character had ever been so easy to relate to, or so perfectly complex and lifelike? There couldn’t be another heroine more wonderful than Bella—I was sure of it.
So there it was. My deep, dark secret, the reason behind my fascination with Washington. I was in love with Edward Cullen. And Edward lived in Washington. Plain and simple. According to Stephenie Meyer, Washington has the most rainfall of any state. And as everyone knows, vampires have to live in cloudy places.
Since the Twilight series, I had become rather addicted to and obsessed with all things pertaining to the world of Edward Cullen and Bella Swan. There was so much to learn. The funny thing was, every time I read one of the books, I found something new—something I’d missed before.
And then it hit me.
I’m going to Washington.
I’m really, really, really going.
Honestly, can life get any better than this?
Great Series, Great Author
by Cathy - reviewed on January 05, 2013
Claire Hart is just a normal 16 year old girl. She has very overprotective parents because of something that happened to her older sister. Her favorite books are the Twilight series, so she's beyond thrilled when Darlene and Roger, some of her parents friends want to take her to Seattle. The only way they will agree is if Claire's older sister, Cassidy goes as well, Clair quickly gets over the fact that her parents have basically invited Cassidy along. It's SEATTLE, after all! The whole reason that Darlene wants Claire to go to Seattle is so that the kids of some of their friends would have someone to hang out with. That is kind of a red flag for Claire about those kids, but she's pleasantly surprised when she meets Tony and his sister Nora. But it seems as though they have a secret and Claire is certain that she knows exactly what it is. They do live in Seattle, and of course, so does Edward and his family. Not to mention Tony is hot enough to be a vampire! Cassidy is sure that her sister's crazy, so Claire produces the Twilight books for her to read and she's immediately hooked, although skeptical about Tony being a vampire. This book was hilarious! Claire gets herself into so much trouble, because of her belief in vampires and werewolves and believing that she knows people who are those things. I love how Claire is so naive in the beginning, and how she kind of grows up to the point where she cares more about the people around her than she cares about herself. This is the second book in The Jane Austen Diaries series by Jenni James. You definitely want to read the first one Pride and Popularity, just because of pure awesomeness, but I'm not sure that you have to read these ones in order if you don't want to or happen not to. I happened to meet Jenni James at a book signing a few weeks ago, she's super nice and her books are amazing!
by Shauna - reviewed on January 05, 2013
What a fun book! A little Jenni...a little Twilight...a little Jane Austin... This book takes an amazing twist from Twilight...into the thoughts of MANY teenage girls as they see their own Edwards in everyday life... Cute ending as love prevails all!
Terrific read from Jenni James!
by Alexa - reviewed on January 01, 2013
I absolutely loved this second book. The first book was so amazing and I anxiously awaited the release of Northanger Alibi. This is a fun romance novel that is sure to make you fall in love with the characters just as much as I did. Way to go Jenni!
Funny and Clean
by Customer - reviewed on January 05, 2013
I loved the first book in this series, Pride and Populrity, and thought, "There is NO way this book could be as good." Boy, was I in for a pleasant surprise! I loved this story!! I love how this author takes a classic story and twists it around to completely modernize it. Very clever; very darling; very fun; and completely clean too!! Claire and her sister are invited to go to Washington State for the summer with some of her parents friends. This is exactly Claire's dream vacation, since she is a huge Twilight fan. When Claire meets Tony, she is convinced he's a vampire. What ensues is a completely hilarious adventure that had me giggling right out loud! Claire is such a fun character. I loved the thoughts running through her mind. I loved the situations she got herself into and how she treid to deal with them. The supporting characters were a riot as well. I seriously can't wait for the next book to come out!! A preview was included at the back.
by Shanti - reviewed on January 05, 2013
I am not a Twilight fan. Not at all. So I fully expected to not be grabbed by Northanger Alibi. On the contrary, this book was super cute and funny. Jenni James catches every aspect of being 16 and of being obsessed by...well...anything, really. In this case, it just happens to be Twilight and vampires. Claire's determination to prove that Tony is a vampire will leave you in stitches, even while it has you wondering 'what if she's right??' I'd highly recommend this book for anyone who is young, or young at heart.
Loved This Book
by Customer - reviewed on January 05, 2013
Jenni James has a way of making these stories her own without losing the true essence of Jane Austen. I LOVED THIS BOOK! It is probably my favorite book out of the series so far. I'm not a very big Twilight fan but the way it was incorporated into this story was brilliantly executed. The suspense and the love story kept me going and I actually laughed out loud at different times. It is clean and adorable. I loved it.
Laugh your heart out
by Emma - reviewed on January 05, 2013
If you like twilight read this. If you like romance read this. Any person will agree that this story is both touching, and funny. I laughed and blushed right along with Claire. Tony is definitely perfect for her, and I want to meet someone like him!
It is a marvelous book!
by Victoria - reviewed on January 05, 2013
This book is amazing! I love how the author describes the characters and the setting around them! My favorite part was the whole book! I love how the main character is obsessed with twilight and thinks that this guy must be related to Jacob black! So buy her book and find out for yourself!!!
by Danielle - reviewed on January 07, 2013
This book is chock full of adventure and humor and romance! If Jane Austen had the chance to read this book she'd be proud!
by Customer - reviewed on January 06, 2013
This was one of my favorite books I have ever read. It was Hilarious and a really well written romance. I absolutly love the way Tony never gives up! I have read this book so many times and it never gets old! 12 and up!
Love this Series!
by Tiana - reviewed on January 09, 2013
A little over the top at times, but super cute. In comparison with her Pride and Popularity, this one didn't seem to have as many references to the Austen book, but there were enough there to make me laugh. Like Northanger Abbey, this book is also pretty tongue in cheek about people who are a little too serious about their fiction. While she's immature at first, Claire does grow up and learns that living a real life is better than what's in a book. Fun read!
Screaming for Northanger Alibi!
by Kymber - reviewed on January 10, 2013
Northanger Alibi was one of the best books i have ever read. It is so Funny, surprising, and a very sweet book. Me personally, i read it on a bad day and it just washed it away! Northanger Alibi is a must read!!!
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