Friday, 20 June 2014
Review: Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's Books
Format: Paperback / eBook
Released: June 5th, 2014
Pippa is in Italy for the summer and, despite her parents' wishes, she has no intention of just studying the local art! She has a list of things of her own to do: from swimming in the Mediterranean Sea to getting a makeover - and falling for an Italian boy! As Pippa explores the dramatic ruins of Rome and Pompeii, she is swept into her own drama with two guys: an irresistible local she knows is nothing but trouble and a cute American archaeology student . . . Will she find her true love?
Wish You Were Italian is Kristin Rae's debut novel, the first of the new If Only series of books, and is a perfect read for long, languid summer days when you wish you were anywhere but the place you actually are. It's full of romance, gorgeous boys and beautiful Italian scenery - what more could you want?!
Pippa is a likeable character, experiencing the world by herself for the first time in almost eighteen years. Her parents are overbearing but distant, intent on shipping her off to a school in Italy for the summer. But Pippa has other plans, and they include skipping the whole school part and heading off on her own for two months. Armed with money, her beloved camera and a journal containing a wish list of ten goals, Pippa sets off across Italy, meeting a whole host of new friends along the way.
Every single secondary character in Wish You Were Italian is realistic, from the girl-next-door best friend Chiara to curly-haired American hottie Darren to Italian Lothario Bruno. These people are real and could easily be people you know, with hopes and fears and dreams just waiting to be fulfilled. They all embrace Pippa and her Italian quest, helping by giving her a place to stay and a tour guide to show her the wonders of the country. Pippa herself is stubborn and fiercely independent under the surface, just waiting to be able to break out and live her life how she wants it. She's braver than me, that's for sure.
I do not like travelling. I never have and I doubt I ever will, yet Wish You Were Italian has made me want to go to Italy and explore Pompeii and and every other historical landmark in the vicinity. The way Kristin Rae describes the country, even the pavements and sunsets, makes it come to life so vividly. I'd learned a lot about Italy by the time I got to the end of the book, maybe even a sentence or two in their language (I'm quite terrible with languages, so I'm pretty proud!). It's novels like this that allow me to explore the world through someone else's eyes without ever stepping foot on a dreaded plane, and that's just one reason why I enjoyed Wish You Were Italian so much. That and the romantic elements, of course!
Wish You Were Italian really is a fantastic read for anyone who loves a good YA romance or a trip to another country. It's light and easy to get lost in but also deep as well, much like the Mediterranean Sea that Pippa finally gets to swim in. I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Italy through these pages and I'm looking forward to whatever Kristin Rae writes next. I'm sure it will be just as good as this!