I scored myself a copy (thanks to the awesome folks at Penguin) and I was sucked in the moment I started it. Sure, there are the obvious things I loved about it: France, travel, food, love, friendship. Of course. But there's something more to it; this story rises above the chick-lit nature of its cover. Here is an example:
I look down, and I'm surprised to find myself standing in the middle of a small stone circle. In the center, directly between my feet, is a coppery-bronze octagon with a star. Words are engraved on the stone around it: POINT ZERO DES ROUTES DE FRANCE.
"Mademoiselle Oliphant. It translates to 'Point zero of the roads of France.' In other words, it's the point from which all other distances in France are measured." St. Clair clears his throat. "It's the beginning of everything."
I look back up. He's smiling.
"Welcome to Paris, Anna. I'm glad you've come."
And that, in a nutshell, lies the appeal of this book. That feeling, of starting at the beginning, isn't a teen-specific emotion; it's a human emotion. That idea of going someplace, of starting over, is so appealing and fresh. If you will, it's a little EAT, PRAY, LOVE. I've always been in love with the idea that, in leaving your comfort zone, you might just find yourself. This story is also about forgiveness, making mistakes, and being honest with yourself - and goodness knows that we could all use a little of that. My point being that I want to urge people not to dismiss this as fluff - I felt like it had weight and substance in surprising ways and has lots of crossover appeal.
And of course there's food: it's Paris. I knew it was going to be good when, on page 26, I read, "Said boy asks rapidly, 'Yogurt with granola and honey, soft-boiled egg, or pears on brioche?'" Mmm...pears on brioche! And there's a section dedicated to Girl Scout cookies that thrilled me: "Josh snatches it from him. 'Not just any cookies, my fine English fellow. Thin Mints.'"
Once again, I find myself reading a book that I wish I had written myself. I relished every second of it and marveled, once again, at how wonderful it is when you read the perfect book for you at the perfect moment and it all clicks and you aren't quite the same for a few days afterward. Don't you love that, too?
What perfect books have you read at that perfect moment in your life?