Title: One Paris Summer
Author: Denise Grover Swank
Genre: YA Lit, Social Issues, Family
# Pages: 352
Rating: 5 out of 5
Why I Chose This Book: Teen angst. Paris. Cute shoes on the cover. What more do you need?
Most teens dream of visiting the City of Lights, but it feels more like a nightmare for Sophie Brooks. She and her brother are sent to Paris to spend the summer with their father, who left home a year ago without any explanation. As if his sudden abandonment weren’t betrayal enough, he’s about to remarry, and they’re expected to play nice with his soon-to-be wife and stepdaughter. The stepdaughter, Camille, agrees to show them around the city, but she makes it clear that she will do everything in her power to make Sophie miserable….
What I Thought: Whew! What an emotional rollercoaster this book takes you on! I was mad at Dad, I was swooning over Mathieu, I even wanted to cat-scratch Camille across her snooty little face a time or two. Just like Sophie, I wasn’t sure who to trust or how to feel on this summer journey through not only Paris, but through a tumultuous coming-of-age.
I absolutely loved the multi-dimensional characters and the baggage they each added to the drama. While parts of the story line were a bit cliche, I must applaud Denise Swank for incorporating an overplayed scene (Paris) for the romance genre in a new way (I mean, exploring the catacombs with loverboy isn’t QUITE the typical candlelit dinner, now is it?). At 16 and older, the cast was old enough to be realistically exploring the city on their own, but still young enough to desire the attention of their parents (or at least to exist on their radar).
The writing was engaging, the chapters were well-planned. I could stop reading without having to leave in the middle of a scene, or, as more frequently occurred, I could justify staying up just a few more minutes past my bedtime to squeeze in just one more chapter (okay, maybe 10). Sleep is a precious commodity in my house these days, so a book that makes me willingly stay up to read multiple days in a row is definitely a must read!
Take it to the beach, curl up beneath your favorite shade tree, or read it while you are waiting on your plane. The point is–be sure to pick up this book this summer and put it on the top of your TBR list!