Saturday, September 17, 2011

Vacation Reads Challenge: A Year in Europe

Bonjour! I've finished my fifth read for the Vacation Challenge hosted, in part, by Ruby's Reads. I decided to read A Year in Europe by Rachel Hawthorne because it took place in three major European cities - London, Paris, and Rome. I would love to visit any of these cities, especially London and Paris.

Let's start off with the synopsis from Goodreads:

MEET THE GIRLS of A Year in Europe, a collection of three interconnecting novels about the adventures of traveling abroad.
Robin: Her junior year abroad in London takes a surprising turn when she falls for British hottie Kit.
Dana: Paris is the City of Love, and Dana's on a mission to find a gorgeous French boyfriend.
Carrie: She's crazy about Antonio, her Italian dream guy. If Carrie tells him the truth about her American heritage, she might lose him forever.
A Year in Europe. Three unforgettable stories. One unforgettable journey.
Overall, I thought this was a fun read. It was actually kind of nice to read about teenage girls who just wanted to have their first boyfriend instead of reading about women who are looking to jump into bed with someone or a teenage girl who wants to become immortal *cough Twilight cough*. I have to admit that I kept thinking, why are these girls so obsessed with getting a boyfriend and worrying about whether boys like them? Partway through Dana's story I realized that my friends and I used to act like Robin, Dana, and Carrie when we were 16. After that, I put my 16 year old self in their shoes and started to enjoy the book a little more.

I liked that the novel was based around the girls going abroad for a year and living and learning in another country. This is something that I never would have done myself in high school, since I was pretty quiet and liked staying close to home. I could really understand the tough emotions the girls found themselves having while they were away from their hometown, friends, and family. However, I couldn't quite understand why they were so clueless in their new cities. Carrie was the only one who had no problem where she was because her father's Italian and she's fluent in the language. Robin and Dana, on the other hand, had some difficulties - and Robin was only going to London! She had no idea that the "tube" meant the subway and the "boot" meant the trunk of a car. Maybe I'm judging too harshly, but I'm pretty sure I had a rough idea of the most common English lingo when I was their age. I do applaud Dana for heading to a country where she is not fluent in the language though - I can't imagine how difficult that would have been!

England is one of my top dream travel destinations (Scotland, Ireland, and Australia are also up there) so I was definitely most envious of Robin and her year abroad. I'd love to go to Paris as well, but since I'm nowhere near fluent in French, it would be a little more challenging. I took French up until grade 10 (one year past the mandatory French classes us Canadian kids have to take) but I didn't retain much - just enough to excel at the French questions on Jeopardy! :) Regardless, I would love to travel to Paris sometime in my life.

This novel was a fun read, nice and light for the summer. I would definitely recommend it to teenagers who are looking for a good book to lose themselves in. I've read quite a few of Rachel Hawthorne's books before and I've always enjoyed them. It goes to show that just because you're no longer a teenager doesn't mean you can't enjoy a good YA novel every once and awhile. Especially one that takes you to so many wonderful cities!

Happy, everyone! :)

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