Book review: ‘Girl Unmoored’ by Jennifer Gooch Hummer

Sometimes a novel hops into your lap, looks into your weary eyes and wraps its little paper arms around you. The hug from this book feels so real, so good that you never want to part with it — and that’s exactly how I feel about Girl Unmoored. And Apron Bramhall, a redheaded teen heroine unique enough to match her name.

It’s 1985 in small-town Maine, and seventh-grader Apron Bramhall is grappling with many competing forces: the aftermath of the unexpected loss of her mother; her father’s sudden remarriage to Marguerite, a woman Apron stubbornly refers to only as “M”; the betrayal of her best friend and its accompanying loneliness; and the appearance of Mike and Chad, two florists who form an unlikely alliance with our young heroine.

In a story brimming with love, warmth, loss, grief and everything in between, Apron must come to grips with her changed family — and the changing world.

It’s almost impossible to summarize Jennifer Gooch Hummer’s Girl Unmoored — mostly because this story was so much more than I ever thought it would be, and caused me to feel So Many Emotions I can barely articulate them all. Knowing it deals with loss and grief, I wasn’t sure how maudlin the story would become . . . but in Hummer’s very talented hands, what could have ventured into sad-sack territory somehow left me feeling enlightened and uplifted.

Reflecting on the book, that’s the word that keeps coming back to me: uplifted. Because even a book about death, homophobia, pain and ignorance somehow left me feeling good. And yes, I’m serious — I think it would be nearly impossible to finish Girl Unmoored without some sort of smile on your face. Because Apron? She’s amazing. And I’m feeling amazed by how much I adored this book.

Where was sassy, bright, hilarious, brave and klutzy Apron when I was 13? Because really, girl knows what’s what. Partly because her mother’s terminal illness robbed her of a childhood, I know, but she’s incredible all the same. After all these changes, Apron feels . . . well, unmoored. At least until she meets Mike, a handsome actor portraying the title role in a local theatre’s production of “Jesus Christ Superstar.” Apron attends with her judgmental friend Rennie, a simple girl who comes from a deeply religious family. When word gets around that Mike is a little more than “friends” with Chad, and that Chad is has a mysterious illness, proverbial — and literal — stones are cast at them. And Apron — amazing Apron — is somehow the link that holds everyone together.

I can’t tell you why I loved this story so much, but I read parts with my hands shaking and tears streaming down my face. One particularly incredible moment — which I won’t spoil for you — comes near the close of the novel . . . when Apron retrieves a photo of her mother to give to someone in need. When she passes it over and explains why she’s sharing it, I actually felt like my heart was breaking. Like, cracked open on a broken mirror. And it’s been a long time since I felt like a book was breaking through that harsh Meg exterior.

I loved Hummer’s writing and Apron’s unique turns of phrase, especially when she was embarrassed or scared or angry (“My hair is melting,” for instance). I loved Mike and Chad and the pure devotion they had to one another; I even loved Dennis, Apron’s screwed-up, grief-stricken father, because I can’t fault him for what he does and somehow wound up caring deeply for him. Even “M,” Apron’s mother’s nurse-cum-wifely-replacement, had her endearing moments . . . until she said something that made me want to punch her. And then? Then I was glad things worked out as they did. I also loved Dennis’ obsession with Latin and how he instills a passion for it in Apron, and how each chapter opens with a telling phrase that had me wanting to read them all aloud.

Despite all my crying fits, I finished Girl Unmoored feeling like I could spend another 1,000 pages with Apron. Like I wanted to meet up with her a decade later for coffee, chatting about what she’d done with all that curiosity, courage and intellect. Though our narrator is a kid, absolutely nothing about this book is child-like — and I’m not sure how it’s being marketed. Young adult fiction? Coming-of-age drama? Contemporary fiction?

Regardless, readers, lend me your ears (eyes?): read this book. You will feel human and alive. It’s the one I’m going to be touting all year, declaring to others that this is the book we should all be trying to write. And the one we should all want to read.

5 out of 5!

ISBN: 1936558300 ♥ GoodreadsLibraryThingAmazonAuthor Website
Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for my honest review

Book review: ‘Wildflower Hill’ by Kimberley Freeman

Life is hard for Beattie Blaxland, a young Scottish woman struggling to help her family make ends meet in Glasgow. It’s 1929 and everyone is struggling to stay afloat, clutching tightly to their meager wages and stretching them as far as they can. Beattie tries to help her parents by working at a restaurant, and this is where she meets Henry. His marital status doesn’t keep him from flirting with pretty young Beattie, an innocent girl with hopes for the future. Their flirtation eventually leads to clandestine trysts, contact Beattie uses as an escape from her troubled home life. Though she knows it’s wrong, the affair still feels good — until Beattie discovers she’s pregnant.

Disowned by her mother and exiled from the house, Beattie eventually tells Henry about her condition — and the response isn’t positive. Beattie is encouraged by a friend to escape to a country home for women “in her way” until the baby is born. Devastated at having lost both her parents and Henry in one fell swoop, Beattie is shocked to find Henry arriving at the group home with plans for an escape to Tasmania. He’s left his stubborn old mule of a wife, he tells her, and wants to start over. Start over with Beattie and their child.

Life in Tasmania is no cake walk, and Henry soon spends his slight wages on drink rather than food for she and Lucy, their infant daughter. Left to her own devices once again, Beattie tries to turn over a new leaf elsewhere in the country. Through happenstance she discovers Wildflower Hill, a country estate run by a lecherous rich Englishman, and it’s there that her story — and the later story of Emma, her granddaughter — is born.

Kimberley Freeman’s Wildflower Hill is one of the most enchanting, engrossing and poignant novels I’ve read in a long time. It was so absorbing that I tackled all 544 pages over a few days, reading as much of Emma and Beattie’s story as I could between pesky obligations like work and sleep. Freeman enchanted me with her stories of life in Scotland, Australia and Tasmania, and I was truly sad when I turned the last page. I could have read 500 more.

Wildflower Hill spans three generations of women as it fluctuates between Beattie’s third-person past and Emma’s firsthand accounts of life as a prima ballerina in modern-day London, followed by her unexpected return to Sydney and Wildflower Hill Beattie once called home. There’s so much happening here — so very much — but I never once felt bogged down or frustrated with the novel. The pacing is such that you feel as if you’re on a gripping rollercoaster, gliding from one plot point to another.

I’ll admit to taking more of a shine to Beattie than Emma, who initially comes across as a spoiled snot, but the beauty of Wildflower Hill stems from how well I knew these characters by the book’s close. Beattie is an extraordinary woman who spins wheat into gold with nothing more than her two hands and honest ingenuity, and my heart genuinely broke for her at each tragic turn in her life. Despite the weight of the cards stacked against her, Beattie perseveres and finds success. She’s a role model for Emma, who wants nothing more than to dance, and it’s through Beattie’s life and past that Emma finds the will to move forward after a career-ending injury.

The book is stitched together with secrets and mysteries, including what happens to Lucy and how Beattie eventually triumphs over her poverty-stricken existence. Freeman masterfully builds suspense by revealing just enough of the past to keep us intrigued, and we often know things about Beattie’s life far before her granddaughter does. I loved the switches between past and present, highlighting the ways this grandmother and granddaughter were alike — and different.

And the settings. Oh, the settings! Urban Scotland and the wilds of Tasmania! The nasty countryfolk who couldn’t accept an unwed mother and the philandering boyfriend who couldn’t appreciate a good thing — Emma — when he saw it! And all this is to say nothing of the romances building slowly and erupting in both past and present, making me swoon with every page. And cry, too.

By now, I’m guessing you figured out I absolutely loved this book. It had everything I crave in a story: the perfect blend of historical and contemporary fiction; family dynamics; epic romance; enough mystery and intrigue to keep me reading frantically; a wham-BANG! of an ending that had tears rolling down my cheeks. Don’t let the book’s size deter you: this was the most fun I’ve had with a book in a long, long time. Fans of contemporary and women’s fiction will delight in this modern-day The Thornbirds, a novel rivaling  this one in terms of scope and family drama (but with a happier ending).

It’s an instant favorite. Don’t miss it.

5 out of 5!

ISBN: 1451623496 ♥ GoodreadsLibraryThingAmazonAuthor Website
Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for my honest review

Book review: ‘Domestic Violets’ by Matthew Norman

Tom Violet is having a rough go of it. His first novel — a pet project spanning years — has just been finished, leaving nothing to distract him from his soul-sucking job in Corporate America. His wife Anna is as beautiful as ever, but their efforts to conceive a second child have been unsuccessful . . . and Tom can only blame himself.

And then there’s his father, Curtis Violet — a literary rock star with 16 books and a bevy of ex-wives under his belt. After his latest romance with a too-young starlet goes awry, Curtis reappears on Tom and Anna’s proverbial doorstep in Georgetown — “proverbial” because, you know, Curtis actually owns the place. When news drops that Curtis has finally won the Pulitzer Prize after decades of literary acclaim, Tom worries his tattered world is about to get a whole lot more insufferable. And fate just might prove him right.

Matthew Norman’s Domestic Violets is the sort of sensationally smart, witty and poignant novel you only discover every once in a while . . . because they don’t make ’em like this too often. With whip-smart prose and laugh-out-loud conundrums, Norman creates unique, flawed and hilarious characters as Tom Violet grapples with family, marriage and fulfillment.

Tom is my new character crush. In his thirties and working for a D.C. business that helps other businesses do business better (yeah, Tom doesn’t know what that means, either), his days are spent writing ridiculous press releases and battling Gregory, his arch nemesis. Only Katie, a 23-year-old copywriter, seems to make the afternoons worth living for; and as their friendship progresses, he finds himself questioning his life and marriage and ideals.

That makes the book sound twisty — or maybe torrid. But I can promise you, hand to heart, that it’s not. When I think about Domestic Violets in the future, I’ll think of the hilarious one-liners Tom crafts and Norman’s ability to make you care about people who are such lovable, bumbling fools.

And fools they are. Curtis is the picture of a pretentious, old-school writer — and I absolutely adored him. He’s an emotional wreck and often a poor father, but you know that he means well at the end of the day. I pictured him like a mature Paul Newman — old enough to know better, but still young enough not to care. The literary references to his career were fascinating and I loved all the Pulitzer talk. It made me want to work a little harder on my own masterpiece.

It’s hard to describe just what makes this novel so good, but let me tell you: it is good. I was sucked right into the story from page one, laughing with a covered mouth as Tom details his difficulties performing, er, marital relations with Anna. Every character is faceted and fascinating; the plot is fast-paced, engaging and funny. Like really, really funny. My favorite bits were probably when Tom mentions that his family and friends are going to complain to “HR” about his behavior, much in the way that Gregory does:

Dear HR:
Tom Violet insists on smiling and saying hello to me every time he sees me, even in the men’s room. However, I know these sentiments are not sincere, and only succeed in undermining me in front of my team and fellow employees.

Anyone working in an office will relate all too well to Tom’s descriptions of life at his impossible-to-describe business — the way office dwellers bask in the 10- or 15-minute breaks they can steal to get a cup of coffee from 7-Eleven or sneak out for a cigarette. Anything to break up the monotony — even if it means playing pranks on “Darth Gregory,” a la Dwight and Jim on “The Office.”

But it’s not all fun and games. What elevated this book to a 5-star level for me was the emotional depth, sincerity and love simmering beneath Norman’s words. At his core, Tom Violet is a son and husband and father. He’s deeper than he wants to appear. And he wants to be more than just Curtis Violet’s boy.

Here, after a chat with his mother:

When I was little, I read books because I thought that’s what people were supposed to do, because that’s what my mom did and what my dad did. While I stumbled and squinted my way through math and science and everything else useful in the world, I was always confident in words and stories and the things lurking in the brains of the characters who wandered in and out of my life. Sometimes I wish I’d been born to normal people — people to whom a book was just a book and people could be fixed like Fords.

It’s the little moments like that which created an incredible read. It’s not too often you finish an emotionally poignant book and think, “Wow, that was fun.” But Matthew Norman, new literary rock star? You’ve done it, my friend. And if we’re lucky, maybe we’ll meet Tom Violet again someday.

5 out of 5!

ISBN: 1416995560 ♥ GoodreadsLibraryThingAmazonAuthor Website
Review copy provided by TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review

Book review: ‘Other Words For Love’ by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal

Ariadne “Ari” Mitchell is used to playing second fiddle to her gorgeous, outgoing best friend, Summer, and her older sister Evelyn, whose teen pregnancy solidified their parents’ fears for their teenage daughters. Though she’s now married with a gorgeous husband and son, her distaste for the world still clouds everything. Especially their family.

It’s 1985 in New York City, and Ari is tired of lingering in the background. When an unexpected inheritance allows the Mitchells to send Ari to a private school in the city, she’s excited and nervous about the change — especially as she’ll now be closer to Summer. It’s at her new school that she meets Leigh, an artistic student with a great asset: her older cousins, young men with dreams and ambition still cradled beneath their father’s thumb. Cousins who become impossible for Ari to ignore.

As she forms new bonds and begins to examine what binds her to her family (and she to them), Ari falls in love and grapples with the knowledge that so many things — real, beautiful — will end. But then again, maybe that just places her at the beginning.

Lorraine Zago Rosenthal’s Other Words For Love is one of those rare novels that had my heart threatening to fall right out of my chest; the emotions, characters and situations felt so real and stomachache-inducingly familiar. Books about first love usually resonate with me far more than any other subject — it’s something close to my own heart, I guess. And if I had big expectations about this one after reading so many glowing reviews, they were all met. And then some.

Ari is the novel’s backbone — our narrator; our heroine. Told in her matter-of-fact and almost deadpan style, we get to know the Mitchell and Cagney families intimately in a very short time. At 17, Ari finds herself drawn to Patrick, her older sister’s firefighter husband — and who wouldn’t? Patrick is everything Ari longs for: handsome; dependable; family-oriented; strong. And, more than anything, he takes an interest in her . . . too much, Evelyn gripes. Too much of an interest in her.

I spent most of the novel wanting to pop Evelyn in the face, but it was hard to feel angry with her for too long. Clearly grappling with postpartum depression, Ari’s sister is a woman struggling to find a place within her own family . . . and the world. The fact that Ari was continuously swallowed up in Evelyn’s drama was tough to take, but I could see why everyone was concerned. And I appreciated Ari’s compassion — even when Evelyn was behaving like a monster.

Oh, this book . . . it’s hard to even pinpoint why I adored it so much. The love story that transpires had me breathless, remembering, and it’s difficult to not feel tossed right back into the maelstrom of your own first love while dissolving into Other Words For Love. Rosenthal does an incredible job making us love and care for these people — and Ari felt like a friend I could head to Brooklyn and visit. The glittering world of Leigh, Blake and Delsin — Ari’s new friends in the city — was sparkling, yes, but it wasn’t their wealth that made them so appealing to Ari. It was a sense of belonging and comrarderie — and of love — that made their presence like a drug to her.

In the story, Summer accuses Ari of not really being in love — of simply thinking she is — because she’s in a state of limerence, when feelings of romantic love are so intense that your affection becomes obsession. But who doesn’t look back on their first great love and remember those sleepless nights spent replaying every word and look exchanged, and the very first time you kissed? Of the way you felt when you realized your feelings were returned — when you wanted to wake up and shout “I’m in love!” while dancing in traffic on the roof of your car?

If you have a desire to replay that time in your life — or simply read a sweet, understated but beautiful novel — don’t miss out on Other Words For Love. Though labeled as young adult literature, our protagonist is anything but a “typical” teen — and this is anything but a one-note love story.

5 out of 5!

ISBN: 038573901X ♥ GoodreadsLibraryThingAmazonAuthor Website
Review copy provided by Amazon Vine in exchange for my honest review

Book review: ‘How To Love An American Man’ by Kristine Gasbarre

How To Love An American Man is a coming-of-age and coming-to-love memoir by Kristine Gasbarre, an American writer, daughter, granddaughter and woman on a quest for love — like so many of us. The story opens with her arrival from Italy to be at her grandfather’s deathbed, an event that emotionally decimates her. Coupled with a recent breakup from her British beau, Krissy comes to Pennsylvania seeking solace and comfort. Needing to be with family.

Her grandfather’s death opens a door for Krissy to become closer to her grandmother, Gloria, a feisty woman with sage advice on life, love and marriage. Having spent 60 years with her husband, Glo has plenty of insight for her eldest granddaughter . . . but Krissy has to be open to hearing it.

Kristine Gasbarre’s How To Love An American Man is a book that emotionally socked me in the stomach in a way that few books ever have. Like Aidan Donnelley Rowley’s Life After Yes, a novel that changed me, Gasbarre’s true look at her grandparents’ marriage — and what may have gone awry in her own love life — was emotionally wrenching and unique.

In a word, I found this book refreshing. It’s not about a dysfunctional family, for one, and that was wonderful. Krissy has no qualms about spending the day with her grandmother, escorting her to doctor’s appointments before they sit down to talk about Kris’ plans and fears. As someone who is also close to my grandparents, I saw shades of my own relationship with my grandmothers in Gloria and Krissy’s chats. And it’s so rare to read about a happy family, isn’t it? The Gasbarre clan not only works but flourishes, leaning on one another through everything. It was heartwarming.

How To Love An American Man is framed around Gloria’s advice on becoming a strong, independent and worthwhile woman, and it’s not just about finding a husband (though she would certainly wish that for her granddaughter). Gloria is the scene-stealer in every chapter, doling out words of wisdom on marriages as partnerships and being the sort of woman you would be proud to know yourself. I loved that Krissy took her grandma seriously, treasuring her thoughts — and I also loved that, despite the somber tone echoing the Gasbarre family’s grief over losing their patriarch, the memoir never becomes maudlin.

On the contrary: it feels upbeat. And hopeful. And like, no matter what happens, Krissy will be able to savor the time she’s spent with her loved ones and become a better person for it. She certainly seems to have evolved from start to close, and that’s something I crave in my reading life: lessons learned.

Oh, yes — and there’s the love interest. Several, actually, but the most prominent would be Dr. Christopher, a local MD who dates Krissy briefly before hiring her instead. The whole will-they-or-won’t-they vibe, which was electric, had me craving to know the outcome . . . even though I wasn’t sure I would be pleased with the end result. Though self-centered, Chris did seem like a decent man — and I wanted him to be It for Krissy. Their relationship seemed well-drawn and realistic.

Read over a very busy weekend in which I snatched as much time as I could to crack its spine, How To Love An American Man is a stellar debut from Gasbarre that I would firmly recommend — especially to twenty-somethings and their mothers. It’s a powerful and lyrical look at family, love and commitment, and I’m dying to get my hands on Gasbarre’s follow-up — already in the works.

Hats off to you, Krissy; you have an enthusiastic new fan!

Pick up your copy of How To Love An American Man on August 16.

5 out of 5!

ISBN: 0061997390 ♥ GoodreadsLibraryThingAmazonAuthor Website
Review copy provided by LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers program

Book review: ‘Strings Attached’ by Judy Blundell

In 1950, 17-year-old Kit Corrigan arrives in New York City ready for her big break. She’s shed her life in Providence, Rhode Island, like a snake does its skin; she’s said goodbye to her well-meaning but jealous boyfriend, Billy, and resigned herself to a new life without him. Redheaded and diligent, Kit is tired of being one of the Corrigan Three — a trio of famous siblings that entered the world just as their mother left it.

She’s ready to move on.

But the past isn’t quite ready to let her go. After the Broadway show in which she’s worked as a dancer closes, a family friend darkens her doorstep, promising a sweet deal: come to work as a chorus girl at the Lido, a gentleman’s club in the city. Take this apartment. Stay here, wear these clothes — watch as your life is taken care of for you. You only have to do me these few favors, Kit . . . just these few favors. Little things. Nothing.

Don’t you owe me?

Oh, I’m in quite the love affair with Judy Blundell’s Strings Attached. I closed the book with trembling fingers, my mind struggling to wrap around the intricate convergence of so many plots. This novel is engrossing, calculated, painful. It’s sweeping and fully realized. It made me ache with loss.

I loved it.

Kit was, by far, my favorite character — a young woman who is naive, yes, but madly in love with the first man to steal her heart: Billy Benedict, Nate’s son. Big-time lawyer Nate has his fingers on the pulse of the mob, it’s rumored, and certainly seems to be up to no good — but his offer to Kit seems genuine. Forget casting Billy out. Stay in a private apartment, work for now and wait for him. Wait for Nate’s son, fresh in the army, to return. And when he does? Marry him. Marry him and go away.

But it’s not as simple as that. In fact, nothing in Blundell’s novel is easy — and no conclusion is reached without a fair amount of turmoil. I ripped through this book in days with a bottomless pit open in my stomach, dying to know what would become of the Corrigan family. Triplets Kit, Muddie and Jamie were all fleshed-out, sympathetic and fascinating teens — and Jimmy, the siblings’ father, was a man I couldn’t help but love. He was wrecked and absent and desperate, yes, but he was “Da” — their bullheaded Irish father. And he loved them fiercely, through and through — even when things became complicated, tragic. Maybe especially then.

The book’s setting — the pre-war years of 1937 up through the Depression, then the onset of the Korean War in 1950 — were what really captivated my imagination. Blundell perfectly captures the uncertainty of living in a time when it felt the world could collapse at any moment — and, selfishly, Strings Attached reminded me that life in 2011 ain’t got nothin’ on the Cold War, the threat of nuclear attack, the reality of boys disappearing from homeroom because they’d gone to fight someone else’s war. It was haunting and powerful. It felt like being dropped into a time machine, and I actually had to blink a few times to reenter the 21st century.

I really can’t say enough great things about this novel, and it’s not one I would want to spoil for you. The story tears along at a frantic speed, swinging you from Kit’s present life in New York to her early years in Providence. We learn of the past between the Corrigan and Benedict families by piecing together the tiles Kit offers, turning them around until we’ve formed a chipped mosaic. Until we get the full story. And by then, my heart was breaking.

Stunning, lovely, romantic, tear-inducing. Not to be missed.

5 out of 5!

ISBN: 0545230500 ♥ GoodreadsLibraryThingAmazonAuthor Website
Review copy provided by Amazon Vine in exchange for my honest review

Book review: ‘Anna and the French Kiss’ by Stephanie Perkins

Oh, this book. This book. I spent half of it pacing around; another half getting weepy and silly and emotional; another half clutching it to my chest and swooning like a 16-year-old.

Wait — was that three “halves”?

I’m losing my mind. But that’s what Anna and the French Kiss will do to you.

Seventeen-year-old Anna is the daughter of a famous schmaltzy writer who wants to give his daughter the chance to broaden her horizons — at a boarding school in France. Far from her home in Atlanta, Ga., Anna arrives at School of America in Paris without friends or the boyfriend she’s hoped to have by now: Toph, a former coworker at the movie theatre where they both worked.

It’s not long before Anna settles in, though, and begins to get the lay of the land at SOAP — with the help of new buddies, of course. Meredith, Rashmi and Josh welcome her into their circle of artists and athletes, but it’s the group’s wayward member — Etienne St. Clair, friend to all and hot as can be — that really grabs Anna’s attention.

Of course, she’s not interested in St. Clair. He’s sweet, funny and gregarious, plus he has a British accent and amazing hair, but Etienne has something else, too: a girlfriend. And Anna is missing Toph and her best friend stateside, Bridgette, so she has no time to worry about him. Or does she . . .

Stephanie Perkins’ Anna and the French Kiss really is as awesome as everyone claims. Like the colorful macarons Perkins describes, I couldn’t help but devour entire passages of this book whole. It’s funny, entertaining, witty, realistic and oh, so romantic. So romantic. I’m telling you now, I was swooning from here to the Atlantic with this novel clutched to my chest.

Etienne is so my new book crush. (But you’ll always be my first love, Marcus.)

You know when your best friend falls for a guy and talks about him so much that you start to think, “Hey, you know what? You’re right. That dude is awesome.” That’s totally Anna and me, BFFs: in love with the same man. It’s impossible not to fall in love with Etienne St. Clair, so I didn’t even try to stop myself. It would have been like putting out a house fire with a bottle of water. Smokin’.


So yes. This book. This book. I loved Anna and her occasionally clueless self. She felt like a real teen, a real friend — a young woman who was both intelligent and adorable, eager to please her family but struggling under the weight of her parents’ divorce. She was so linked to her little brother, Sean, that it tugged at my heartstrings. And even though she had all sorts of Big Stuff going on, it didn’t bring her down. She just kept moving forward, learning and experiencing as she went.

Anna and St. Clair’s friends were all well-drawn and believable, too. There when you needed them, but with their own difficulties to figure out. Again: realistic. I think that’s what I loved so much about this book: it was like I could have stepped right through the pages and sat with them at lunch. It made me — a 25-year-old — feel like I belonged at SOAP, too.

France came alive under Perkins’ fingertips, and I haven’t wanted to visit this bad since finishing French Milk last year. There is so much to love here — I could go on and on. But rather than encourage you to keep reading a ridiculously long review, just go get Anna and the French Kiss. Perkins has crafted a young adult book that readers of all ages will enjoy, relate to and, like me, want to hug after the final page has closed.

I totally hugged this book.

And I think you will, too.

5 out of 5!

ISBN: 0525423273 ♥ GoodreadsLibraryThingAmazonAuthor Website
Personal copy purchased by Meg