Summer time is the perfect time for teens and young adults to spend some time away from school and online social media. I love social media, but sometimes it can get a little claustrophobic for me. You know what I mean? I love a good book that I can snuggle down into the couch with and be transported into the pages to a whole new world.
One Paris Summer by Denise Grover Swank is a really well-written book about a teenage girl and her older brother who travel from the US to Paris, France to spend some time with their father and his new wife and step-daughter. The main character, Sophie, doesn’t really want to go, and her new step-sister doesn’t make her time there easy. Initially, she hates France. She doesn’t speak the language, navigating maps is extremely difficult and using mass transit is a terrifying experience for this claustrophobic teenage girl.
Fortunately, Sophie does make one new friend and I thought it was delightful to be a fly on the wall as he showed her around Paris, teaching her to speak some basic French along the way. Of course, a bit of an attraction develops between Sophie and her new friend, Mathieu (pronounced “Matt-yue”; One Paris Summer, page 129).
I enjoyed the descriptions about the city of Paris, the local cuisine as well as landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, Saint-Chapelle, Notre Dame, and the Musée Rodin, among others. The descriptions of French pastries such as pain au chocolat and Paris-Brest just about had my mouth watering.
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.
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I’ve always wanted to go to Paris and other famous European cities to explore their historical locations and customs. This book just made me want that all the more! If you have an interest in reading about far away places, like Paris, you will enjoy this book.
Where would you go if you could take a dream trip to a faraway destination?
Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of this book free of charge to facilitate review. No other compensation was received. All opinions are 100% my own.
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