Series: Flirting in Italian #1
Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers on June 12, 2012
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Romance
Source: Publisher (Netgalley)
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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!
Ok, guys… This just might be the biggest disappointment of the summer. I was SO excited when I found out about this book, and even more excited when I found out I was approved for it on Netgalley. Seriously. I was in a local creperie, and I might have made a smallish scene when I checked my e-mail and saw that I could download it. At that time, I was about to leave for Italy myself, and I love themed reads! I never got around to it while on my trip, though, but I still thought it would be fun to read it as I reminisced.
The summary on the back of the book tells very little about what happens in the story. Violet is our main girl, and she finds out about a centuries old painting that looks just like her. It’s in Italy, so she figures out a way to get herself there as part of a program that is basically finishing school for Italian girls. Her neurotic, overbearing, and borderline insane mother about has a flip-out session, but lets her go. She gets to spend the summer at a house in Tuscany with 3 really stuck up girls (another English person, and two Americans) and some rude Italian girls… and gets in too deep with a playboy, all while searching to find out whether or not she was adopted, and who this doppelganger was.
So… within the first 50 pages of the book, I almost gave up. I love art history so much, so I was really excited with the mystery posed at the beginning of the book, about the heroine’s doppelganger in a centuries old painting. And I love Italy, and was enjoying reading all about the scenery, and the Tuscan countryside. I’ve been to Pisa, so I know what it looks like in that area. It was fun to reminisce. And then the girls showed up. First off, the American girls are made out to be materialistic valley girls, and I was embarrassed. They act so dumb, snobby, rich, and entitled. I hope the author does not believe we’re really like that.
And then the high school mentality set in. These four girls are terrible (well, one of them was not so bad, but it was only because she was so insecure that she couldn’t be cocky)! They constantly think about how someone is fat, or that shade of green makes her skin look putrid, or “thank goodness I have been self tanning for a while”, or how the blonde has nothing between her ears, etc. The bullying and rude thoughts are so annoying! And Violet, our main character is exactly the person who made my life miserable in school. She’s rude, cocky, gossipy, and downright mean! I mean, come ON. I thought we were supposed to like the main character. Why should we stick with the book if we don’t? I had no interest in reading such rude thoughts and mindless gossip and backbiting. The mystery at the beginning of the book fades away, and it turns into one big mess of rude, unintelligent girls partying and hanging out with the guys you’re, as a general rule of thumb, supposed to avoid. The main love interest, Luca, looks down his nose at Violet, and comes off as being a bit of a lunatic. Violet realizes this, but goes back and forth from loving him and hating him. It was just weird. There’s no real character development, and I cared about nobody.
The book is all partying. It’s like spring break in Cancun in book form. Violet’s mission to go to Italy to find out about herself is completely forgotten. Towards the end of the book, another mystery (which ends up being very unrealistic) surfaces, but honestly, it’s too little too late. The book was already unsalvageable at that point, so trying to make up for that by adding in a mystery that is seriously hard to believe, does more harm than good.
AND… there’s a companion novel. So… crud! Haha. The ending was just a mess! I suffered through it only to be told that I have to read another book if I want to know what happens. I put the book down wondering why I wasted the time on it, and I have no interest to read the next book.
I loved the idea. LOVED it. And I know that it could have been done so much better. I’m so disappointed in it! I’d heard it was in the vein of Anna in the French Kiss. Heck. No. To be honest, I feel a little deceived with that marketing statement. I’m going to tell you right now to not bother with this one. There are many better choices out there.