By Stephan Lee
Updated April 30, 2015 at 10:31 PM EDT

The titular heroine of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre at one point describes herself as “poor, obscure, plain, and little.” In this modern retelling, Jane Re, a honhyol (mixed-race) orphan living in working-class Flushing, Queens, sees herself as those same things. (Except the “little” part—at 5 foot 7, she towers over the Korean-American women around her.) Jane finds an opportunity to jump into a different life when she becomes the au pair to the adopted Chinese child of Beth and Ed, a couple of Brooklyn intellectuals. As a stand-alone coming-of-age novel, Re Jane is snappy and memorable, with its clever narrator and insights on clashing cultures, but the nods to Jane Eyre mostly fall short. This Ed is no Edward Rochester. B