Thursday, June 7, 2012

Book Review: Pilgrims Don't Wear Pink by Stephanie Kate Strohm

Pilgrims Don't Wear Pink by Stephanie Kate Strohm
Release Date: May 8, 2012
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 
Pages: 204
Received: ARC from publisher, via NetGalley
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars


From Goodreads:

Libby Kelting had always felt herself born out of time. No wonder the historical romance-reading, Jane Austen-adaptation-watching, all-around history nerd jumped at the chance to intern at Camden Harbor, Maine’s Oldest Living History Museum. But at Camden Harbor Libby’s just plain out of place, no matter how cute she looks in a corset. Her cat-loving coworker wants her dead, the too-smart-for-his-own-good local reporter keeps pushing her buttons, her gorgeous sailor may be more shipwreck than dreamboat — plus Camden Harbor’s haunted. Over the course of one unforgettable summer, Libby learns that boys, like ghosts, aren’t always what they seem.


I'd make one of those lanyard friendship bracelets and give it to Libby

Libby is the type of girl who I would be total BFFs with at summer camp. She's fun, sweet, creative, peppy, and (best of all) she's a very girly, feminine history nerd! My heart is all a-pitter-patter at the thought of gushing over cute outfits and historical factoids with the same person.

Libby and I would do everything together at summer camp and we'd swear we'd write to each other during the school year. But then we wouldn't end up writing because, well, life. And, while she's a ton of fun to hang out with, Libby doesn't have the chops to be a real full-year, ups-and-downs kind of BFF.

Looking for a fluffy read?

That's also kind of how I feel about this book. It's fun and light and sweet and everything, but it didn't leave much of a mark on me. Pilgrims Don't Wear Pink is the perfect summer read. It isn't too serious (there are the usual messages about Lite Interpersonal Drama with Friends and Boys), and I did smile at a bunch of scenes (though no laughing out loud).

The plot moves at a fairly moderate pace and pretty much follows the script of your average romantic comedy. It's predictable, but in a book like this that's more of a comfort than a negative. The ending was over the top silly and not particularly believable, but who cares! It was fun and it made me smile.

The setting in a historical reenactment summer camp was pretty much a dream come true for a history nerd like me and was a welcome change from the more usual beach or traditional summer camp settings that populate this genre. I wish there were more historical factoids thrown in, but that's because I really am a super history nerd.

Also, the little girls Libby teaches are ADORABLE! 

Let's talk about what's important here: Boys!
There are three main guys vying for Libby's attention: A buff sailor who looks great with his shirt off, a somewhat geeky reporter who has a hate-turned-like thing going on with Libby, and a totally gay best friend who whips up historically appropriate dresses faster than Cinderella's fairy godmother.

All of them were just kind of ok for me. I appreciated the mental imagery of the sailor, but, well, you'll see. And, much as I love hate-turned-love, this one was much more "cute" than "swoony" for me. The gay best friend was good for a few laughs, but he was so over the top cliche that I had a hard time believing his character (but that doesn't really matter. He's funny, and that's what matters).

Bottom line

If you're looking for a quick, light summer read with a fluffy romance, then I'd definitely recommend giving Pilgrims Don't Wear Pink a shot. I will definitely check out whatever Stephanie Strohm writes next, but this isn't the type of book I would personally auto-buy.

I will be ordering a copy for my library girls, especially since I think this will work with some of the older tween girls as well as the YA readers. Good for Meg Cabot fans.

This is a standalone.

Explanation of rating system: Star Rating Key 

Do you have any questions about Pilgrims Don't Wear Pink that I haven't addressed?
Feel free to ask in the comments!

Add it on Goodreads
Buy it on Amazon

Looking for another book like this?
You might like:

 Click on the pictures to go to my reviews.


  1. *nodsnods*
    I think this is one of those times were we kind of agree over all but our personal tastes play into how much we enjoy the book. Because I loved this one but I actually agree with all that you said and that made it better for me (it is a Cabot-ish read!) but I can see how it didn't work so well for me.

    I'm glad you gave it a shot, though!

    1. I meant "For you"
      I can see how it didn't work so well for you.

    2. Your review made such an impression on me that I had it in my mind throughout the entire time I was reading the book :) I feel the same way, I think we're totally aligned overall, but it's out personal preferences that nudge us one way or the other on this one. You described it perfectly!

  2. Like Alex, I agree with what you said but this was an awesome read for me (4.5/5!) I just loved everything about Libby because our interests are so similar. I did want to know more about Dev.

    Also it looks like there will be a sequel which I am now eagerly anticipating!

    1. I did love Libby :) The combo of history + girly fashion was so much fun. It was like a total indulgence.

      A SEQUEL!? Yes! I didn't know there was going to be a sequel, so thank you! Adding to the TBR...

  3. Have you read Past Perfect (link to GR)? It seems very similar - mostly fluff, historical reenactment village setting, friends, boys, etc. If you're looking for a similar read for July or August, you might want to give it a try. I also think you might like the guy in Past Perfect a bit better; he seems more your type of love interest than the one in Pilgrims Don't Wear Pink.

    1. I haven't read Past Perfect, but I seriously want to. I totally blew it off when it first came out because I pegged the cover as "contemporary issues" and I didn't actually read the blurb until much later. I keep forgetting about it though, so thank you for reminding me! You're right, it would be the perfect read for this summer. And with a love interest that's my type? Oh yes, please! :D

    2. Past Perfect was lots of fun!

  4. I've had my eye on reading this one since I read an ARC review last year. I was expecting fun fluff, so if fun fluff is what I shall get, no problem!

    1. I hope you enjoy the fluff! It is definitely fun.

  5. Hmmm sounds cute - but with all the other books out there, I'm probably going to have to pass on this one. BUT, if I find it for really cheap somewhere or win it or, you know...I'll probably give it a shot. Great review, Small!

    Sierra @ Yearning to Read

    1. Winning, cheap, or library would be my recommendation for you. It's also pretty short and a very quick read, so you could easily squeeze it in :)

  6. This does sound like a cute fluffy beach/pool read! (I miss my beaches) *sniff* Anyway, totally loved "whips up historically appropriate dresses faster than Cinderella's fairy Godmother" Funny Small!

    I'd read this one. Sometimes, you just want a romantic comedy that's predictable and safe. Sounds like that's what this is. I will put it on my library list!
    Thanks Small!


    1. Aw, I hear you on missing the beaches :( At least I have a few (half dried up!) lakes, but they're not the same as waking up every morning and smelling the ocean.

      "Sometimes, you just want a romantic comedy that's predictable and safe."

      Exactly! This book is the perfect read for when you're in that kinda mood.

  7. I got this for review I think about a week ago and thought it sounded like a cute read though probably nothing special. Looks like you confirmed my expectations, Small :)

    I'd want more historical facts too. I love learning about history which is probably why I always did well in it. I often had crummy teachers though so it was never as fun learning from them as reading a fictional book and absorbing facts without even realizing it.

    1. I think you'll get along with the MC :) She's so cute with the way she appreciates history.

  8. The cover is so CUTE! I'd probably save this for those reading slump days.

    1. It's a great book for a reading slump. Light, fun, and easy to read. Hope you enjoy it!

  9. Great review. I'm glad you did, overall, enjoy this one...but it sounds a bit too cutesy for me. I don't think I'd enjoy it that much. My sister would love the historical aspect though, for sure!

    I always comment back,


  10. i like the title, and the story seems interesting. great review!

    1. The title is really cute and is actually explained in the book. Hope you like it!


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