I must say that I find television very educational. The minute somebody turns it on, I go to the library and read a book. --Groucho Marx

Friday, June 10, 2016

Review: One Paris Summer

One Paris Summer
Denise Grover Swank
Paperback, 272 Pages
Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Blink
Release Date: June 7th 2016
Overall Rating: 4.5/5

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 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 best summer of her life, one person could ruin it all.

When I heard about this book I was interested in reading it and man was I right to be. Sophie has the chance to spend the summer in Paris, what person wouldn’t want to go there? But the trip is anything but fun for her. Her parents divorced and her father literally left one day and never came back. So Sophie and her brother Eric are spending the summer with the man who left them and his soon-to-be new family. Sophie has to deal with Camille the stepsister from hell who seems to hate Sophie for no reason and her equally mean friends. And the worst thing might be that Sophie should be practicing on the piano so she can get a scholarship but she can’t because her dad lied when he said he would have a piano for her.

One Paris Summer was everything I didn’t know I needed. I honestly can’t believe how much I enjoyed the book. I was worried that there would that annoying main character you tend to get in a lot of YA books, but what you got was a girl who deeply hurt by the one man in life who is supposed to love, protect, and never hurt her. You got a girl who is belittled and made be to miserable in a foreign country where she was didn’t speak the language any only knew two people. My heart went out to Sophie and Eric, they were hurt by their father when he left and they never got a chance to really address that.
Then there was Mathieu, Camille’s friend who helps Sophie out when she needs a piano. From there the two talk and get close. He becomes someone Sophie can talk to, he becomes a good friend to her. The story between the two seems natural and not rushed like you tend to get in YA books, there was none of that insta-love crap.

What I enjoyed most about this book was growth of Sophie as a character and as a person. Within the book she grew up and learned who she was a person. There was a gradual build of her confidence, her self-esteem and self-worth.  It was great to see Sophie stand up for herself and fight for what she wanted but she reminded you that she was just a young girl who was lost. That’s what made her character so great, she was human.

Denise Grover Swank told a wonderfully written tale, one that felt real and relatable. You identify with Sophie on a personal level because at one point we all have felt scared and lost. One Paris Summer is a satisfying read with pain, lost, love, romance, anger, and laughter. This book was full of real emotion. 10/10 would recommend. This is a book you shouldn’t miss.

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