Thursday, September 13, 2018
"I See London, I See France" by Sarah Mlynowski
Nineteen-year-old Sydney has the perfect summer mapped out. She’s spending the next four and half weeks travelling through Europe with her childhood best friend Leela. Their plans include Eiffel-Tower-Selfies, eating cocco gelato, and making out with très hot strangers. Her plans do not include Leela’s cheating ex-boyfriend showing up on the flight to London, falling for the cheating ex-boyfriend’s très-hot friend, monitoring her mother’s spiraling mental health via texts, or feeling like the rope in a friendship tug of war.
Here's the thing I adore about Sarah Mlynowski. She does a great job at writing books that appeal to a certain age level. She has books for young readers, books for teens and books for adults and each time she writes in a way that is captivating for the intended audience. I am a fan of many authors that have made the jump to write for a different age group and often times it doesn't work for me. However, I know that if I see Sarah Mlynowski's name on the cover of a book, I am pretty much guaranteed to fall in love with that book and I See London, I See France was no exception.
Sydney is ready for the best summer of her life, traveling across Europe with her best friend, Leela. Originally, Leela was going to be traveling with her boyfriend, but plans changed when the two of them broke up. Unfortunately for Sydney, Matt didn't change his plans and is on the same flight. Once in Europe, you would think they could avoid running in to each other, but Leela isn't totally over Matt and Sydney can't help falling for his friend Jackson. As the girls go from the country to country, they have one new experience after another with a decent amount of boy time on the side. And many of their experiences are hilarious.
I haven't had the opportunity to travel outside of the United States, so the travel aspect of this novel was my favorite part. I love "seeing" famous places in novels. I like that this novel talked about the places the girls see and (most important) the food they ate. Even though Sydney's romance is very too-good-to-be-true, it was fun in this particular novel. I also liked that this novel focused on something that so many books involving teens traveling seems to gloss over- Sydney had to pay for this trip. A good portion of this novel is her figuring out ways to stretch her travel money far enough and figuring out cost effective ways to do her vacation. This element made the book much more relatable. Like a good majority of her books about kids and teens, there are moments where I can't help but be frustrated by a parents lack of involvement, but since Sydney's mom isn't even in the same country, I have to let it slide. I also appreciated that Mlynowski covered Sydney's relationship with her mother and how she was trying to balance finally getting a break from taking care of her mother, but at the same time still try to be there for her. All in all, Sydney was a pretty mature character.
This is the kind of novel that isn't going to be for everyone. If you like teenage romances and books with adventure, you'll probably enjoy this read. If you have read other things by Mlynowski, then you definitely will enjoy yourself. It is worth noting that there are some scenes that parents may find questionable, so maybe flip through the book before passing it onto younger readers.