Thursday, June 9, 2016

Book Review: One Paris Summer by Denise Grover Swank


Title: One Paris Summer
Author: Denise Grover Swank
Publisher: Blink
Release Date: June 7, 2016
Format Read: ARC
Rating: 5 stars

Description from Goodreads: 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 of 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 the best summer of her life, one person could ruin it all.

Contemporary Ya is probably my most favorite genre of all time. I love seeing these stories of girls and guys from all different lifestyles, and experiencing their struggles and dreams and romances, because, doesn't everyone have those? It's nice to have stories that are so close to real life. I took this into consideration as I read this book. ONE PARIS SUMMER is one of the ARCs that I picked up at BEA, and I've been so excited for it, but I've recently read a lot of bad contemporary, so I didn't want to let my hopes get too high. But what I found in this story so much more than met my expectations.

ONE PARIS SUMMER is one of those classic contemporaries. Girl moves to Paris, girl meets boy, add in an evil step sister, and a complication with the boy, and bam, you've got a classic contemporary. Generally, these kinds of stories bore me, but I was pleasantly surprised with what I found in the pages of this one. Not only was the writing done expertly, but Sophie is an incredibly relatable character. I've never had to deal with divorce in my family, but Sophie and her inner monologue had me sympathizing with her in every way. From her perspective on whose fault the split was to the way she handles the situation with her dad and new stepmom, she had me on her side at every turn of the page.

The setting being in Paris was enough to keep me interested, especially since most of the story consisted of Sophie and friends playing tourist in the City of Love and falling for unavailable French boys. Plus, the relationships between the Brooks siblings, and the ease at which I fell in love with the secondary characters (Nearly all of them!) made the experience that much better.

Another thing, is that besides a very very low amount of language, this was a completely clean contemporary! No sex, no strong language, no super steamy scenes. This is something that I am highly pleased to be telling you, because clean contemporary is so rare, it must be treasured and pointed out when it's found.

Easily one of the best contemporaries I've read in a long, long time, ONE PARIS SUMMER earns five stars from me. I read it in a matter of hours, and when I reached the last page, I wanted more. It was so much fun to read, and I absolutely adored the story of Sophie and Mathieu. If you're a fan of contemporaries, you definitely should check this out. 

BUT.

Don't read it unless you're okay with closing the book and longing to go to Paris. 

Because that's exactly what happened to me, and it's not just because of the cute French boys.

Happily,
Stephanie

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