Bet that title pulled you in, eh?
From the writer that brought you Bad Girls Don’t Die: Colette Iselin has been looking forward to her French class’s trip to Paris for a long time, now. Since her dad walked out on her family last year, leaving her mom, brother Charlie, and herself to struggle to get on their feet, she’s been lying to her status-obsessed friends about the status of her own finances. Honestly, she can’t wait to get out of that tiny apartment and away from her family to spend a week in the romantic city of Paris, but when she gets there, she notices a woman who looks as if she’s from the 18th Century nearly everywhere she goes! Not only that, but mysterious murders are happening all around the city, and she has to deal with her ticking-time-bomb of a friend Hannah being her normal obnoxious self–her only escape being Pilar, her other best friend who’s overweight and musically gifted. As she solves the mystery of the out-of-time woman, romance is in the air between her and a charming French guy, and she discovers who she really is and what really matters.
Could it get any more superficial and cheesy?
Actually, yes. Colette is a bit of a Marie Sue, the drama can hardly even be called so, and the ending leaves everything tied up a little too nicely, if that’s possible. My favorite character was Audrey, the not-so-well put-together brainiac who ends up helping Colette (not a spoiler; you can tell from the first mention of her that she and Colette will become friends). To be honest, she reminded me a bit of Cedar Wood from Ever After High–maybe because she’s so sincere.
The emotion is actually really pure towards the end, which almost made the rest of it worth-while. I kind of steam-rolled through this to get to my next book (I could’ve read it in one day, but I decided to stretch it out to two), but I still feel like reading this at a normal pace wouldn’t have made that much of a difference. The cheesiness and the superficiality comes a little bit from the plot, sure, but most of it comes from the way it’s written. That said, if you want to read a book set in Paris for the way it’s written, you’re better of reading Hemingway’s word-walls in The Sun Also Rises.
I’d like to point out that I kind of enjoyed the read, as much as the Fitzgerald-fan in me would like to disagree. It was a nice break from the kind of stuff you read in English class (which I do actually like) or something that may have a deeper meaning hiding between the lines. Just beware that large chunks seem to be lacking, and that if you want a book that has most of the same elements (class, mysterious keys, charming guys, etc), a better use of your time (watch me; I’m about to make a pun) would be to read Timeless by Alexandra Monir–you can find my review on it here.
Overall, I give this 3 stars. Good book, but not on the “OMG I must go out and buy this book so I can re-read it and have it for all eternity” list.