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Review: Flirting in Italian

June 11, 2012

Title: Flirting in Italian
Author: Lauren Henderson
Publisher: Random House Children’s Books
Release Date: June 12, 2012
Format: ePub via NetGalley

Four girls. One magical, and possibly dangerous Italian summer. Family mysteries, ancient castles, long hot nights of dancing under the stars . . . and, of course, plenty of gorgeous Italian boys!—Goodreads

First of all, that descriptive copy from Goodreads is not at all representative of what this book is. AT ALL. This book is more like this:  Mean Girls meets Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants meets The Mole meets What a Girl Wants. But in Italy.

So while the descriptive copy I take umbrage with is technically correct in that there are four girls in Italy during the summer, and living in an ancient castle, which is surrounded by ancient castles, and that they sometimes go dancing at night with gorgeous Italian boys, and one of them is trying to figure out an art history mystery, there is a lot more cattiness happening in this book than that would all seem to suggest there is. There’s also a good amount of family drama that comes along with each character.

Got that? Great. *cheerleader clap*

What I found most interesting about Flirting in Italian is that the characters involved in this book are from three different countries—UK, Italy, and United States, and that the author gets each of the speech patterns and cultural slang and points of reference dead on. I mean, I realize that’s her job, and that she did have an editor on this, but juggling that many backgrounds and characters and backstories must have been a little maddening at times. I’m super impressed by how well she balanced it all.

Another thing I really like about this book is that the teenage girls in this book aren’t social outcasts, or goody-goodies, or girls that play with their hair and bite their lips and never speak, but somehow get the male attention they so desperately seek. These girls are (for the most part) confident and outgoing and ready to go out and get rowdy and have a good time. And when it comes to girl fights, they are willing to play both passive aggressively, and not so passive aggressively. It was really refreshing to read girls like that.

Overall, this book is really fun and the mystery storyline is definitely intriguing. HOWEVER. It ends VERY abruptly. Meaning that it basically ends pretty much in the middle of a scene that may or may not have some incestuous  undertones, followed by a line prompting you to get the next book when it comes out. I am not so much a fan of that. But, if you’re looking for a new, fun series to get involved with, or if you just want a quick read that will let you do some armchair traveling, definitely check out Flirting in Italian.

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