My rating: 4 of 5 stars
When Denise Grover Swank announced she was writing a YA story set in Paris, I’ll admit that I rolled my eyes and groaned. My question was: why Paris? The answer is because that’s what the writer chose. I’ll always give Denise’s work a shot, so that’s why I’m here writing a 4 1/2-star review of One Paris Summer!
What I didn’t like: Paris. I’m so over it as a romantic setting. It is what it is and I’ll get over it. I DESPISED both Dane and Camille. They were absolutely terrible, teenagers or not. They were wonderful as antagonists, but I wanted to do my fair share of throat punching. I also did not like how manipulative that Mathieu was in trying to keep his relationship a secret, but obviously Sophie caught on. Mathieu was loveable otherwise. I liked their relationship and I’m glad that Denise avoided the dreaded love-triangle. I hate love triangles.
What I did like: everything else! Denise writes well-developed characters and OPS is no different. Sophie and Eric were wonderful as siblings. There’s friction, but at the end of the day they’re still family. It took me a handful of chapters to warm up to Sophie. She, along with Camille, both played the teenage angst card well. I thought Sophie was going to be brat the whole time, but she really grew as a young woman. What I don’t get is the resistance of Sophie’s father to her music and wanting to audition. Fool, you just up and ran to Paris. You abandoned your family. Support your kid!
One Paris Summer is a relatively easy read. It’s a bit of an emotional roller coaster. Denise’s descriptive ability has me craving French cuisine in a big way. She should release a cookbook! There’s not much in the way of violence, and there’s no creepy underage sex writing. OPS is a solid coming of age story. If it weren’t announced that it was a standalone, I’d be demanding a sequel right about now. ****4 1/2 stars****
Reviewed advance copy through NetGalley.
*Edited to add* I love that Sophie’s family is from Charleston, SC. That’s just a few hours south from me and visit whenever I can. My Dad lived in the low country before I came along. Maybe these characters will eventually cross paths with those in Lyla Payne’s Low Country Mysteries?! ❤