Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Reading on a Theme: American Girl in Europe

Summer has us dreaming of traveling. Since a European trip isn't in the cards for us this summer, we're satisfying our inner travel bugs with YA books about American girls who travel to (or are preparing to travel to) Europe. Perfect summer reads whether you are home or abroad.

Parlez-vous francais?
Abby Berman can't wait for a summer away from her baseball-obsessed family. She's enrolled in an advanced French class at Huntington University in hopes of attending a high school in Paris her senior year. Everything is going her way until she's paired with Zeke Martin, who appears to be as baseball enthused as her family. Hopefully she can keep her head, and heart, focused on her goal. Natalie Blitt has written an absolutely charming story with excellent characters. Abby's roommate, Alice, the poet, and Colin, the artist, are among my favorites. A light, sweet, fun romance, The Distance from A to Z is a perfect summer read and (as of when this post went live) it's only $1.99 on Amazon! Review copy from Edelweiss.

When in Rome:
Laura loves the Classics. She always dreamed of visiting the sites of ancient civilizations, especially Rome. But Rome, as it turns out, is more than she bargained for. Strange things begin happening the day before her class is set to fly home, and Laura finds herself at the mercy of the Roman gods. Paula Morris displays a firm knowledge of Rome and Roman mythology in The Eternal City. A mythology enthusiast myself, I enjoyed hearing about how the fountains and monuments Laura and her friends visited were connected to the Roman gods. The Eternal City is an interesting mythology in the modern world story (more here) made all the better by being set in Rome. Review copy from Edelweiss.

A Tuscan View:
In the wake of her mother's death, Lina moves to Italy to live with her estranged father. When she arrives, she's given her mom's journal from when she lived in Italy before Lina's birth. Through the journal, Lina comes to know her mom better than ever before. In Love and Gelato, Jenna Evans Welch deals with big topics in a calm, comfortable way. I especially enjoyed reading the journal along with Lina. As the reader, I discovered things along with Lina, which kept me invested in the story. The relationship between Howard and Lina was particularly well written, and I really enjoyed the read. Love and Gelato was out May 3, 2016. Review copy from Edelweiss.

The Reluctant Tourist:
When Aubree Sadler's sister gets into trouble, Aubree is talked into taking over her summer job. Did we mention that the summer job involves leading a tour of senior citizen across Europe and that Aubree is a huge homebody?  This job definitely takes Aubree way out of her comfort zone. However, as the trip moves from country to country, Aubree begins to really embrace this chance to see the world. Jen Malone's Wanderlost is a cute read. I kind of wish that I could have been a tour guide for the At Your Age tour company when I was a college student. I loved the relationships that Aubree built with the older members of the tour, and the banter between Sam and Aubree is cute and clever. Wanderlost is out May 31st, 2016. Review copy from Edelweiss.

Roman Holiday: 
Love, Lucy made my list of favorite reads of the year for 2014. It was such a treat to read. It's a retelling of E.M. Forster's A Room with a View, and I really, really love A Room With a View. Lucy Sommersworth is bound for college in the fall, but first she's taking a trip to Italy. While there she falls for Jesse Palladino, a free-spirited musician from New Jersey. I think that April Lindner must have been channeling Italy when she wrote this novel. The Italian portions just ooze sun and old-world charm. I love art museums and traveling anyway and Italy just added so much to the romance between Lucy and Jesse. I also loved how Lindner put a little bit of Roman Holiday into the story as well.

The Distance from A to Z, The Eternal City, and Love & Gelato reviewed by Paige.
Wanderlost and Love, Lucy reviewed by JoLee.

P.S. Girls who study abroad here.

P.P.S. Mythologies in the modern world here.

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