Title: One Paris Summer
Author: Denise Grover Swank
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Published: 7th June 2016
My Rating: ★★★★1/2
I received this book in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis from Goodreads
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.
“We are now making our final descent into Charles de Gaulle. Please make sure your seat belts are fastened, your seat is in an upright position, and tray tables are stowed away.”
General Thoughts (non-spoiler)
When I first read the synopsis of this I was worried that I’d find it unoriginal because I’ve already read Anna and the French Kiss. Whilst there were some similarities between these books, this one stood completely on its own and I fell in love with it instantly. This book deals with first love, friendship, family drama and the future and following your dreams. It is the perfect YA contemporary romance and an absolutely fantastic summer read. I highly recommend this book to all of you! It will definitely deliver the feels ❤
Review (contains spoilers)
Where do I even start with this wonderful book? Okay, it gave me a lot of feels and that is exactly what I wanted. I’ve been looking for a fluffy book like this for a while and am so happy that this is in my life now. Although this book is a fairly short, cute and fluffy read, it actually deals with some important issues which I’ll get into later.
First off, the protagonist of this story is a sixteen year old girl named Sophie. At first, Soph is a bit uptight and anxious about a lot of things but she’s a perfectly good main character. And her character growth throughout this book is a nice thing to witness – by the end she was navigating Paris perfectly well on her own (something she couldn’t do before) and was experiencing things she would be too scared to otherwise try. I also enjoyed the musical aspect of this book, in which Sophie was incredibly passionate and dedicated to the piano. It was also nice seeing how it calmed her down to even pretend that she was playing the piano on her arm or thigh.
Sophie also has a brother named Eric, who’s seventeen. I love reading books based around siblings because I feel like there isn’t enough of them – not in contemporary YA anyway. I liked Eric a lot, especially with how protective he was over Sophie (even though sometimes he would be ridiculous and completely over the top with it). Their relationship throughout this book is one of my favourite aspects in this story because they felt like real siblings to me, their interactions were believable. Throughout this story the siblings went from constantly bickering to close friends who look out for each other which I thought was wonderful.
So, the main plot of this book is about Sophie and Eric going to live with their dad over summer, in Paris, who is about to get remarried. Although this book got quite angsty at times, I felt like the anger the siblings had towards their dad was completely justified and it was interesting to witness their hostility and then forgiveness towards him throughout the course of this book.
One thing I couldn’t get over, however, was how unbelievable and ridiculously horrendous Camille was towards her new step-siblings. I understand that she would be angry about her mother remarrying and having to live with new people, but she was overly horrible. She went out of her way to make Sophie’s life hell, even making her friends go along with her stupid games. I really didn’t like reading the parts in this book where all of Camille’s friends would laugh and make fun of Sophie – she had done nothing to them and definitely didn’t deserve it. I actually lost my shit towards the end when Camille enlisted Dane to help her ruin Sophie and Matthieu’s relationship. I don’t even want to talk about Dane because he is just disgusting and not even worth my time. Anyway, I know that Camille ends up going to therapy and apologises to Sophie for all of the hurtful things she’s done, but I’m still not fond of her.
So… LET’S TALK ABOUT MATTHIEU NOW (yay for beautiful French males). Okay, as soon as we heard of the mysterious male who gave Sophie a hanky in the street just after her father’s wedding, I knew he would be the main love interest for her. As a character, I fell in love with Matthieu completely. Not in the way I love Will Herondale, but because he is sweet and kind and risks his future all for Sophie (he seems quite agreeable to me). It made me angry that Matthieu was being blackmailed by Camille but at the same time it added a bit of edge and suspense to the book, plus a dash of forbidden love which is always a good thing to me! One thing that really bothered me about Matthieu though is how quickly he turned on Sophie when Camille and Dane set her up. It all happened so fast: he was grabbing his key back from her and making her upset before her audition to the conservatoire, not even giving her a chance to explain. I just thought he would have trusted her more than bloody Dane.
But she still managed to get to her audition and smash it out of the park which was a little bittersweet. Before she left to go back to the USA, when she went to Matthieu’s apartment to try and apologise again my heart actually ached for her. WHY WOULDN’T HE FORGIVE HER?! And then she leaves… sending him some farewell messages before she gets on the plane. At this point I thought she would end up getting into the conservatoire and moving back to France, y’know, and live happily ever after with Matthieu after they sorted out their issues. But did that happen?
NO. We get this major time jump to December; Sophie is still in the USA and hasn’t even talked to Matthieu since she left Paris. This genuinely confused me and I was worried because I just wanted these characters to get their happily every after. Is that too much to ask? But then Sophie goes back to France over the holidays and turns on her international phone to find like a million messages from Matthieu apologising and begging for her back and telling her that he loved her. I was literally sobbing during the whole thing. These messages were so heartbreaking. All I kept thinking was, YOU COULDN’T HAVE ADDED EACH OTHER ON FACEBOOK?! SKYPE? NO?
I love you, Sophie, and I am begging you to forgive me. I am begging you to give us another chance.
I was sobbing now. He hadn’t thrown us away. He’d only given up after months without any word from me. The next message was a week later.
I miss you so much it hurts. Please text me back. PLEASE.
Then for the next week, he sent me one-sentence texts every night around the same time—based on the time stamp, probably when he went to bed.
I miss your laugh.
I miss your smile.
I miss holding your hand.
I miss seeing the passion on your face when you play the piano.
I miss teaching you French.
I miss your kiss.
Damn miscommunication and unwarranted pain. But all is well in the end and our final scene ends up being on point zero which I loved because it gave me major Anna and the French Kiss feels. Everything was pretty much resolved by the end of the book so I don’t think there will be a sequel, and even though I loved this a lot I secretly don’t want there to be because I adore this book as a standalone. But if a second book in this series does come to fruition, I’ll be all over it.
“Je t’aime.” He kissed me again. “I hope you don’t mind me if I tell you in French more than English. It feels closer to my heart in French.”
❤ ❤ ❤
- Characters: ★★★★★
- Plot: ★★★★★
- Ending: ★★★★★
- Originality: ★★★☆☆
- Cover: ★★★☆☆