My Plain Jane

Book review by
Rachel Sarah, Common Sense Media
My Plain Jane Book Poster Image
Cheeky "Jane Eyre" remake is a ghosty romcom mystery.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

My Plain Jane offers a window into Victorian life in the 19th century. (“This brings us to the real start of our story: northern England, 1834, and the aforementioned penniless, orphaned girl. And a writer. And a boy with a vendetta.") 


Positive Messages

Strong messages about the power of friendship, being yourself, and standing up to patriarchy.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Charlotte, a writer at the school where Jane teaches, is assertive, smart, and determined. She carries around a notebook and writes down everything down she plans to put in a novel. Helen, the ghost, has a great sense of humor!


Child abuse is a theme in the book, although there's no graphic violence shown.


Some pre-Victorian style kissing. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that My Plain Jane, is by Cynthia Hand (The Last Time We Said Goodbye), Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows, the team who wrote My Lady Jane about Lady Jane Gray, the first in their Lady Jane series. This is a historical rom-com/murder mystery with ghosts, fashioned as a retelling of the classic novel Jane Eyre and set in 1830s London, where Jane and aspiring author Charlotte Bronte are best friends. It could spark conversations about topics such as death, sexism, and abuse, but there's no graphic violence or strong language. There's some pre-Victorian-era kissing.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byStudiousStudent August 24, 2018

Amazing retelling of Jane Eyre!

I loved this book! It was a really cute retelling of the classic novel "Jane Eyre"! The only things I would note is that the book does contain a coupl... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old January 2, 2019

So good!

It was really good, but i disagree with the violence rating. There are some gruesome details about a king’s finger being chopped off, and a violent fight where... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bykaiannprice August 20, 2018

The Original Jane Eyre

This twist on the tale Jane Eyre has twists and turns. It gives you a different look at Jane and a little inside scoop of Charlotte (the author of the original... Continue reading

What's the story?

MY PLAIN JANE is a lighthearted retelling of Jane Eyre set in 1830s England and narrated in alternating chapters by aspiring author Charlotte Bronte, orphan Jane Eyre, and ghost hunter Alexander Blackwood. Charlotte’s best friend Jane is offered a job with the Society for the Relocation of Wayward Spirits (she can see ghosts), but instead decides to be a governess at Thornfield Hall. As the story moves along, Jane falls in love with her dark, brooding employer, Mr. Rochester, who's much older than she is. There are ghosts and lots of mystery, as well as literary themes of revenge and patriarchy. The tone is definitely tongue-in-cheek.

Is it any good?

Fans of the literary masterpiece it's based on will get a kick out of this retelling with its humor and supernatural theme. My Plain Jane starts out a bit slow and feels long at times, but the wit and humor carry the story. The authors' fondness for this Gothic time period shines through, and fans of paranormal romances will probably love it.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about feminism in My Plain Jane. Which scenes illustrate sexism in 19th century England? How does Helen call out Rochester’s patriarchal behavior?

  • How do the authors managed to evoke humor and wit in this time of history that was often so dark for women? How do they poke fun on the pages?

  • What did you think of the authors' literary and other allusions to Harry Potter, Scooby-Doo, The Princess Bride, and Sherlock Holmes?

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