Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Wanderlust Wednesday Review: One Paris Summer by Denise Grover Swank

One Paris Summer by Denise Grover Swank
Series: Standalone
Published: June 7th, 2016
Publisher: Blink
272 pages (eARC)
Genre: Contemporary Young Adult
Acquired this book: Via NetGalley in exchange for honest consideration
Warning: May contain spoilers
{GoodReads || Buy this book: Amazon || Chapters/Indigo}

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.

Sophie could deal with all the pain and humiliation if only she could practice piano. Her dream is to become a pianist, and she was supposed to spend the summer preparing for a scholarship competition. Even though her father moved to Paris to pursue his own dream, he clearly doesn't support hers. His promise to provide her with a piano goes unfulfilled.

Still, no one is immune to Paris’s charm. After a few encounters with a gorgeous French boy, Sophie finds herself warming to the city, particularly when she discovers that he can help her practice piano. There’s just one hitch—he’s a friend of Camille’s, and Camille hates Sophie. While the summer Sophie dreaded promises to become best summer of her life, one person could ruin it all.

I keep promising myself I’m going to cut back on the books I request for review, but when I saw the cover of One Paris Summer and read the synopsis, I had to make an exception. I love books with European settings, especially when they’re places I’ve been, like Paris. Unfortunately, while One Paris Summer started out okay and there were parts I enjoyed, I spent a good portion of the book feeling irritated and contemplating DNFing it.

What I did like: the complex family relationships. Blended families can be difficult, uncomfortable, and fraught with tension, and this one was all those things. I also appreciated Sophie’s passion for and commitment to her music. I know what it’s like to pour yourself into something, to use your grief and anger and hurt to fuel you, and I liked how well that came across whenever Sophie was talking about music or playing the piano. As for favourite characters, I liked Sophie well enough, but it was her stepmother, Eva, who was the standout character for me.

Other than those things...I’m left with all the things that irritated me. All the characters and situations were over-dramatized to the point where I was almost constantly rolling my eyes. I lost count of the number of times Sophie or her stepsister ‘stomped’ from the room. Half the book was spent with one or more characters throwing a hissy fit or overreacting. I liked Sophie’s brother at first, but then he turned into a jerk. It went beyond just being a protective brother - he overreacted to every situation and treated her like crap. I could go on, but I don’t want it to seem like I’m bashing the book because that’s not my intention at all. I probably should have set this book aside, but I kept reading in the hopes it would get better. There were a few nice moments toward the end but for me they almost felt too little too late after all the juvenile behavior and drama. I was also a bit disappointed with the lack of descriptions about Paris, especially toward the end. At first I could picture a lot of it and I knew exactly where things were, but then as the book went on the descriptions stopped and the book basically could have been set anywhere.

Unfortunately One Paris Summer wasn't for me. However, just because it disappointed me doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy it. If you like books that deal with family issues, clandestine romances, and a passion for music, all wrapped up in a Parisian setting, give One Paris Summer a shot.

Have you read One Paris Summer? What did you think? If you haven't read it, do you plan to? Have you been to Paris? What would you do if you had a whole summer in Paris?

1 comment:

  1. Oh dear. I'm not a fan of that much drama. I can see why you got frustrated with this one.


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