One Paris Summer by Denise Grover Swank

25669067Published: June 7th 2016 by: Blink

Genres: YA, Contemporary, Romance

Format: Paperback Source: Publisher

My Rating: 2.5 Stars two-half-stars

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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.



*I received a copy of this book for free, from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.*

Another summer. Another teen in Paris. I was really hoping to love this book. After not liking Anna and the French Kiss, I thought I’d give this one a shot. I didn’t have a great experience with Swank’s other genres, so I thought this would be great to see if I could really enjoy her writing. If the first half of this book wasn’t so angst filled, I may have enjoyed it more. Instead, it only made me dislike the characters. There was more confusion towards the end that made this story seem like just an excuse to create more drama. It kept me reading, but it failed to make me swoon and scream at everyone to read this book. Just another story to add to the YA contemporary genre that is set abroad. I got nothing special from this story, other than solidifying my want of visiting Paris before I die. I love all the descriptions of the places, people and the food! Food gets me every time.

Sophie isn’t a great character, but I did feel sorry for how she was treated by her evil stepsister, Camille. From the very first page we are aware of just how much Sophie hates being in Paris, and how she feels about her father remarrying. I get it. Parents divorcing and starting over is upsetting for all kids, but Sophie was really bitter. She wanted her father to pack up and leave Paris, and come back home to her. It was all about their relationship before he left. I get that she was once a daddy’s girl, but that was no excuse for the way she thought of him. And as much as she tried to hate her stepmother, Eva, the woman was too nice to even try it. I love that Eva tried so hard to make Sophie’s and Eric’s time there pleasant. It was very hard with Camille running around sabotaging everything. The girl gives a new meaning to the term “evil stepsister”. She was just so rude and bitchy and just….ugh. Camille alone will make you want to throw the book across the room.

The romance didn’t feel like a romance. There were so many things wrong with Sophie’s and Mathieu’s relationship. It was like Camille controlled it all. I know that Mathieu and Camille have been friends forever, but for him to believe her over Sophie was just wrong. It’s like the author thought of all the teen angst she could, and stuffed it into this story. Much like my experience with AatFK, I couldn’t put this book down. I had to see how it would all end. I really wanted to love this, but there’s too much angst and bullying, and not enough fun filled summer loving. The setting is amazing, as are the sights visited. The Paris aspect is really the only beautiful thing about this book. Since I read it in one sitting, I think 2.5 stars will do. If you loved Anna and the French Kiss, this book may appeal to you. I was hoping that since I didn’t like it, this would be a great book to read. I was so wrong. They are both like bad teen soap operas IMO. 

15 thoughts on “One Paris Summer by Denise Grover Swank

  1. I’m sorry you didn’t like this. Personally, AatFK is one of my favorite contemporaries (if not the only one) but I’m a bit hesitant of putting this in my TBR because of one tinny tiny thing you mentioned: “It was like Camille controlled it all. I know that Mathieu and Camille have been friends forever, but for him to believe her over Sophie was just wrong.” I totally agree with you on this one, and I haven’t even read the book! I hate it when the story forces too much drama. Great review though, very helpful!


  2. This is the second negative review I read of this book and I know I’d be super frustrated if I ever tried to pick it up, so I won’t. Paris does sound like the only good thing about the story, and you really do have to go, Lekeisha! It’s an amazing city! I’ll be reading the Amour et Chocolat series by Laura Florand again before I go again later this year. If you’re looking for books with food, lot of it chocolate, and Paris (things I love!) than that series would be a much better option, in my opinion. Great honest review! 🙂


  3. Angst can really take enjoyment from the story, of course it really depends on the author and the way they write it. Sorry to hear that this one didn’t work out for you.


  4. Great review! I couldn’t even finish this one — the premise sounded ok but Sophie drove me crazy. What a brat! I did like Anna and the French Kiss but that seemed less whiny to me? Not sure, I read it awhile ago so my view might have changed


  5. I think this is why I struggle with teen contemporary romance. I want to like it, but the soap opera and over the top stuff get to me. There are a few that are good, but it’s hard to wade through the others to find them.


  6. I’ve only read one book by this author, and I liked it back in the day. I thought this looked cute, but I’m going to pass because too much drama does not sound like it’s for me at all.
    If you want a good travel book, maybe try Wanderlost by Jen Malone. I think you’d like it! 🙂
    Great review, Lekeisha!


  7. I am sorry the book didn’t work out for you. I liked Anna and the French Kiss so I would probably pick this one just based on the setting. Nice review.


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