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I'm a writer and library worker who wears many hats. I believe a good book and a good piece of chocolate are the keys to a happy life.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Summer in Paris by Michele Ashman Bell

Summer in Paris marks Michele Ashman Bell’s 20th published title. That should give you some indication of her level of knowledge in her craft. This sweet little book marks her national market début and I think it will prove a success for her.

In Summer in Paris we meet a teenage girl, Kenzie, who seems to have the perfect life, only to find out it’s not as perfect as she’d like. Life is full of ups and downs, and from the beginning of the book we’re thrown right into them with her. I personally think bungee jumping is an excellent way to start a book! ;)

A little blurb about the book:
Kenzie Williams feels like she has it all; wealth, friends, popularity and talent. But when her father tells her he has declared bankruptcy, her whole world in New York City turns upside down. Her parent's solution while they sort through their financial and marital problems is to send Kenzie to live with her relatives in Paris . . . Idaho!

I loved all the little scrapes and adventures Kenzie seemed to find her way in to. I loved that there were a lot of different stories being told from her view. It wasn’t just a romance, or a drama, or a mystery, or a comedy. Each little storyline showed you a different theme as well. It was all woven together very well to create a thoroughly enjoyable picture of teenage angst. There’s a little something for almost any YA reader within the pages of Summer in Paris.

Did I have any hiccups while reading? Well . . . I have to admit that, at first, I thought Kenzie was a little snot. I couldn’t relate to her at all. I know, I know, she’s supposed to be that way. Maybe it’s because I’m coming at it from a mom’s point of view, but all I could do was roll my eyes at her. Luckily, I stuck with Kenzie long enough to see her grow and begin to understand what was really important in life. She definitely grew on me as she grew in the story. Oh, and I was almost as disappointed as Kenzie was when I figured out the Paris I would be traveling to with her was in Idaho. Sigh.

I also think Michele deserves a shout out for showing the contrast of what a healthy, loving marriage looks like. I think that’s an important factor that often gets left out of the “my parents are getting divorced” books. Most YA books, even when they don’t have anything to do with the parent’s marital problems, tend to show dysfunctional marriages and incomplete families. Sadly, I recognize that is the norm, but I also think it’s important that young girls receive the message that love is work, but it can also be very, very lovely. Hurray for Kenzie’s parents who got to learn those lessons, too.

If you happen to live in Salt Lake, Michele will be signing copies of Summer in Paris March 16, 2010 at The Gateway Barnes & Noble in Salt Lake City from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

1 comment:

Michele Ashman Bell said...

Thank you for the warm review. I appreciated that you mentioned some of the most important qualities of the story. Hopefully Kenzie can make it to Paris someday . . . do I hear a sequel calling?
Thanks again!