Sometimes retellings are a major flop, but Stephanie Scott “makes it work” in her Sabrina-retelling, Alterations.
Alterations follows Amelia Blanco, an aspiring fashion designer and Ethan Laurenti fan girl. Amelia shoves her unrequited feelings for Ethan aside after an amazing New York internship for the summer. When she returns, however, Ethan appears suddenly interested. Life gets even more complicated when Ethan’s dorky brother, Liam, recruits her to make a fashion app and the Laurenti family is pulled into reality television drama.
I’ve never seen the movie Sabrina, but definitely want to after reading Alterations. Although I can’t say with 100% certainty how faithful an adaptation the book is, it seems like Alterations uses many much-loved aspects of the movie but throws in a few of its own twists and turns to keep readers on their toes.
As for the characters, while several fell into some romantic comedy tropes, I think the main character Amelia displayed a lot of growth and I really loved the influence of her lifestyle throughout the book. In the beginning of the novel, Amelia shows complete insta-love for her next door neighbor, Ethan. As the book progresses, however, Amelia learns to stay true to herself and follow her own dreams and passions. I also love how Amelia’s family ties into the book. The author emphasizes how Amelia’s family and their choices impacted Amelia’s life and how it influences Amelia’s interactions with others.
The other characters were hit-or-miss. I felt like Amelia’s art friends blurred into the background. Out of the two who continued into the rest of the book, I couldn’t even remember why one was so important. For the Laurenti brothers, they were pretty stereotypical for a romantic comedy story. I felt that particularly with Ethan, I never understood why he suddenly became interested in Amelia after she came back from New York besides the tie-in to the original story. One character that I really enjoyed was Haylo, a girl in the reality series towards the end of the book. The author could easily make her a stereotypical mean girl, but Haylo actually had a lot of depth and heart, which I appreciated.
I found the plot in Alterations to be extremely well-paced, except for one minor snag. In college, it usually takes me awhile to get through books through classes and homework. Alterations, however, only took me a few hours one morning– I couldn’t put it down until I finished the story. The only part that I wished was shorter would be the internship part. I felt like it carried on a little too long and was a little slow for me compared to the rest of the book.
Overall, Alterations was cute and predictable rom-com book. While the characters were slightly stereotypical, I couldn’t put this book down! I give Alterations four out of five stars.