The cover on the left has total appeal to me as a reader: it suggest a chick lit story set in a city. Maybe there’s a little sight seeing and as the title suggests, maybe there’s a little bit of love involved. It’s reminiscent of Joanne Philbin’s The Daughters and Emma McLaughlin’s The Nanny Diaries.
But I have to be honest: I was deceived. Yes, there’s love and romance, but the book is anything but the light fluffy read I was expecting.
Livia Stowe has been a sick teenager for a long time. But finally, she’s feeling a lot better, and with her brother living abroad in Priceton, New Jersey for the semester, her mother decides she’s healthy and mature enough to travel from England to spend a few weeks with him. While she’s gone, she’ll be blogging, too. Livia’s never had luck in love, and she’s hoping that maybe she’ll snag a cutie while visiting Jeff.
Wouldn’t you know, she meets a sweetheart named Adam almost immediately? He is actually British also, which is super convenient. He is a stand up guy, and he helps Livia fulfill a life wish in visiting New York City — twice. Jeff’s okay with their relationship, since Adam is one of his closest friends.
Sounds good, right? The girl gets love and hangs out in the big city. But then the ending is a changearoo. Sure, I saw it coming from miles away in this 160 page story, but I didn’t want it to happen. It would be too convenient. Unfortunately, it does, and it left me really disappointed as a reader. I never felt enough compassion or interest in the characters, and the ending made me feel like the author didn’t either.
Since I don’t want to spoil the story, I’ll change the tone of this review and say that this is a book that will appeal to Lurelene McDaniel fans, I think. There’s a good sense of drama and a nice flash of romance that develops. Unfortunately, I think a lot of readers will feel the way I did with this: the book changes its story completely about 3/4 of the way through, and most reviews on Goodreads commented that their initial interest in the story was thrown out with the complete change in story near the end.
On the plus side, this is a quick read and may be an appealing choice for reluctant readers. Adam is a sweet character, and Livia’s British quirks are just enough to keep readers engaged in her experiences. Since this book is making its US debut this month, I think readers might like the outsider perspective of American life (it’s a book that originally published in the UK in 2006). I think that this is a book that could have benefited from another 100 pages to fully flesh the characters for the ending OR a book that could have stood out as a true chick lit/fluffy read if the ending were altered.
Kelly Jensen is a former librarian turned editor for Book Riot. She's the author of IT HAPPENS: A Guide to Contemporary Realistic Fiction for the YA Reader and the forthcoming Feminism For The Real World (Algonquin Young Readers, Spring 2017).