Sunday, June 10, 2012

Flirting in Italian by Lauren Henderson

Book:  Flirting in Italian
Author:  Lauren Henderson
Publisher:  Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Date:  June 12, 2012
Source:  Publisher via Netgalley
My grade:  B+/A-

Four girls. One magical, and possibly dangerous Italian summer. Family mysteries, ancient castles, long hot nights of dancing under the stars . . . and, of course, plenty of gorgeous Italian boys!


Initial reaction:
What is this cliffhanger WTFery?  Are you kidding me???

Title and Cover
The title of this book is actually what attracted me to it in the first place.  Having spent many summers in college in Spain and a semester in France, I was very aware of just how much fun it was to spend all summer flirting with cute foreign boys who didn’t quite speak English.  So, I love the title and the cover is alright.  I like the vespa and I like it when there are not faces on the cover to influence how I see the characters, so all is good with title and cover here.

The plot, the characters etc.
I thought this would be a cute, fun summer romance.  It is and it isn’t…..

There is more to the story than a fun summer abroad.  Violet is trying to figure out why there is a portrait of an Italian girl in a museum in London who looks EXACTLY like her.  She is trying to solve a mystery and she is questioning whether or not she even belongs to her parents.  This is very much a coming-of-age story with a nice little mystery to lead it.

It took me a while to get into this book, but in all fairness, it may or may not be the book.  I was constantly interrupted during the last week and a half every time I tried to read.  It was exam week and graduation week and last week of school for my own children.  In other words, it was total chaotic craziness!  That may be the reason that it took me a while to get into the story.  Regardless, when the mystery part picked up, the book got really good and at that point, I just ignored everyone in my house! : )

I enjoyed the characters.  The 4 girls in the Villa are all different but interesting and Violet is a good main character.  I enjoyed reading in her voice.  She’s a teenaged girl who tries really hard not to succumb to the more stupid tendencies of teen girls, so her inner dialogue is interesting.

Most of the boys are rather flat characters, but that’s what they are supposed to be, so that didn’t really bother me at all.  Elisa, the evil daughter of the villa owner provided just the right amount of “mean girl” to get things going.

What bothered me is that just as things were getting really good and I was flying through the pages, they suddenly ended and there was an ending that invited me to follow Violet’s adventures in the next installment. What????!!!!  There was no denouement of the current situation or anything.  The sentence just ended and I was left with a giant “WTF?” look on my face.

Honestly, I’m not sure what is left to fill another book, so I’m a little wary of the second book.  Maybe there is a lot to discover, and I hope that’s the case, but this didn’t strike me as the type of book that needed a sequel.  Just sayin’……

This one was easy, because Luca quoted it for me in the book.  He sings this song to Violet.  It is by Italian singer Jovanotti, 30 Modi per salvare il mondo

This is what the chorus means:

There are 30 ways to save the world
But one only because I saved the world
I want to be with you
And you want to be with me
I want to be with you
And you want to be with me

The final grade
This was tough.  On the one hand, I feel like the story was an A-, but then I have questions about the slow start and that awful cliffhanger, so that would make it a B+.  I don’t know.  You should read it and make your own decision.  Then come back and let me know what grade you give it!  In the meantime, I’m going to eat some pasta and look up pictures of hot Italian male models, ok?

Thanks to Delacorte Books and Netgalley for allowing me to read and review this book.  I received no compensation for my honest review.  Not even dinner at Olive Garden.

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