Flirting in Italian by Lauren Henderson (Mini Book Review)

Posted July 17, 2012 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 9 Comments

Flirting in Italian by Lauren Henderson (Mini Book Review)Flirting in Italian by Lauren Henderson
Series: Flirting in Italian #1
Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers on June 12, 2012
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romance
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
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.

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9 responses to “Flirting in Italian by Lauren Henderson (Mini Book Review)

  1. I really loved the idea of this too but you weren’t the only one who was frustrated with this so I’m going to give this a pass. The portrayals of girls seems awful and the fact that pretty much everyone showed dismay over the ending isn’t promising.

  2. This makes me sad because the book sounds so good – in theory. I’m doing as Elena did and giving it a pass – I don’t want to read something that 75% of people whose opinion I trust didn’t like.

  3. I’ve read quite a few reviews saying pretty similar things to you, Jana. Honestly, I think I’m going to pass on it. I’m way behind as it is on my contemporary reads, and I have a feeling I’d have some of the same issues with this one. Thanks for sharing your thoughts though!

  4. Aww, no that’s definitely a disappointment :o I had hoped it would be good as well–it definitely sounds like it… I can’t remember hearing too much about it before now though. That sucks it was so bad! Great review though.

  5. AHHHHH you definitely just pointed out every reason why I wouldn’t read this. LOL I heard things about it, like this, and I was like…NO. Bummer, though! It sounded soooo fun!

    Great, honest review!

    Sierra @ Yearning to Read

  6. I felt the same way… I absolutely adored the premise and thought this would be such a fun book, but it didn’t work for me either.
    And YES, that ending! It was just wrong! And weird and the relationship between Violet and Lucas felt off and GAH!
    I guess I’m still not over my frustration with this book…

  7. Cali W.

    That is too bad this book is a miss. I really love Lauren Henderson’s other books the mystery ones with Scarlet. I am Italian too so I was excited for this one as well