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.
Today’s review is the last in a series of book reviews for the BookSparks 2016 YA Summer Reading Challenge. All of these young adult books have been very interesting to me even as a grandparent, and I am really glad to see such awesome work available to our young adults!
One Paris Summer is written by Denise Grover Swank who has published many books of many other genres, including a few “young adult science fiction” novels. This particular story, however, would be categorized as a young adult romance with a “coming of age” ending.
The main character is Sophie Brooks who is being forced to attend their father’s wedding in Paris along with her brother, Eric. When we first meet Eric and Sophie, they can barely tolerate each other as is usual with siblings, but once they are in the city, Eric really steps it up.
Sophie was “daddy’s little girl” and feels betrayed and abandoned and neither she nor her brother are happy about this situation since their father just left their family only a year ago….and as if their father’s sudden abandonment isn’t bad enough, they are expected to be polite and “make nice” with their father’s soon-to-be wife and her daughter. While the stepdaughter, Camille, agrees to show them around the city, she makes it very clear to them that she intends to make Sophie miserable at any cost.
Sophie’s dream is to become a pianist and was supposed to spend the summer preparing for a scholarship competition. She feels that she could probably deal with the difficulties this trip entails if she could only practice piano. She feels that her father pursued his dreams by moving to Paris, but he can’t see or support her dream. This is especially true when he fails to keep his promise to get her a piano. (As a musician myself, I loved Sophie’s passion for piano too.)
Anyway, as the story progresses, Sophie does find herself feeling a little better about Paris, and she meets a handsome French boy, Mathieu, who says he can help her practice piano. That’s great news, but there’s also bad news – he’s a friend of Camille’s. They develop a friendship that is very well written and keeps readers interested (no spoilers here).
The story shows readers a sweet romance with lots of angst and turmoil caused by Camille thrown in, until Sophie finally goes back home left to figure out what the future holds for her. This book is definitely recommended for those who love sweet, feel-good kind of stories!
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Denise Grover Swank was born in Kansas City, Missouri and lived in the area until she was nineteen. Then she became a nomadic gypsy, living in five cities, four states and ten houses over the course of ten years before she moved back to her roots. She speaks English and smattering of Spanish and Chinese which she learned through an intensive Nick Jr. immersion period.
Ms. Swank’s hobbies include witty Facebook comments (in own her mind) and dancing in her kitchen with her children. (Quite badly if you believe her offspring.) Hidden talents include the gift of justification and the ability to drink massive amounts of caffeine and still fall asleep within two minutes. Her lack of the sense of smell allows her to perform many unspeakable tasks. She has six children and hasn’t lost her sanity. Or so she leads you to believe.
I received a complimentary paperback copy of this book from the publishers and BookSparks as part of the 2016 Young Adult Summer Reading Challenge #YASummerReads in exchange for this post, which is my honest review and unbiased opinion.