Our Favorite Jane the Virgin Literary References

Posted by Danielle Mohlman

The fifth and final season of Jane the Virgin premieres this week and we are on the edge of our seats. (Y’all! You can’t leave us with a cliffhanger like that and then not come back until mid-season. That’s just not fair.) As fans of the show know, Jane is an avid reader (and writer!) who always has something incredible to read. You can tell it’s a writers room full of book worms. (We see you, fellow nerds.) So, without further ado, here are some of our favorite literary moments of the series.


Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

While Quirk Books is staunchly Team Rafael (or Team Whatever-Jane-Wants), we were still a big fan of the season three Sam flashback journey the show’s narrator took us on. Gasp! Jane was already dating someone when she kissed Michael for the first time! And he’s a cute bespectacled gentleman! Okay, okay the only reason we love the Sam storyline is because it got Where’d You Go, Bernadette into the narrative. And yes, he did spoil where Bernadette went. (Which isn’t a real spoiler.) And yes, he was a little clueless. (Jane did have a crush on him for seventeen months before he ever made a move.) But come on. He brought us Maria Semple. And we love him for that.


The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

Jane fell in love with Sandra Cisneros as a young girl, devouring The House on Mango Street and then turning to her friendly neighborhood bookstore for her next recommendation. We love this moment in season four because it not only shows us that Jane’s love of reading goes back decades, it also introduces us to Jane’s literary community: shop owners Enrique and Alejandro. Which leads us to… 


The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende

When young Jane runs into the bookstore asking for a new recommendation, Enrique and Alejandro agree that it’s time to introduce her to their favorite writer of all time: Isabel Allende. The recommendation is life changing, introducing Jane to magical realism and the deep latinx roots of the genre. Magical realism shows up in Jane’s own writing throughout her career and she credits Isabel Allende for making her a reader and a writer. And what greater endorsement is there?  


Paula by Isabel Allende

When Jane finally (unexpectedly) meets her hero at her own book launch, she bursts into tears. And honestly, we would too. At a loss for words, but still the Jane we know and love, she says, “Your book means everything to me.” And when Allende thinks Jane means The House of the Spirits, she quickly corrects her. She was talking about Paula, Allende’s memoir about the death of her daughter. “It helped me through my grief when my husband died,” Jane explained, connecting with this author she loves – in a way she’ll never forget.


Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

We want to end this post on an uplifting note – plus with that season four cliffhanger, we can’t exactly continue grieving. So, we’re going wayyyyy back to season two when she was the TA for Great Books 105 aka Books for Ballers. In an effort to connect with her students (who all seem to be college athletes), Jane compares the plot of Jane Austen’s classic novel to a famous college basketball game. And when Matt “McBaskets” McNeill still refuses to do the work, Jane convinces him through an elaborate – and embarrassingly mismatched – game of one-on-one. Way to go, prof!