Monday, June 11, 2012

Review: Flirting in Italian

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Flirting in Italian
Lauren Henderson
Series: Flirting in Italian, #1
Release date: June 12th, 2012
by Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Goodreads / Purchase

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!

*A copy was provided by Random House Children’sĀ 
Books for review purposes*

I wanted to love this one. I’m so sad I didn’t. I was super in the mood for a fun, cute, romantic story with an engaging mystery mixed in – and in Italy to boot! It started on a good note, but unfortunately, it didn’t turn out as expected.

Sure it’s got plenty of cute Italian boys, but when these boys go from sweet one minute to condescending the next, I was left feeling very irritated towards them – particularly Luca, the main love interest. Violet herself spends the bigger part of the book flip flopping between realizing he’s a jerk, to fantasizing about him in the same instant. I eventually got exasperated by this whole ordeal, never growing to like him, nor did I feel any sort of rush from their romance. Which is a shame because in this setting it had the potential for extreme adorability.

We also have fun times: Plenty of parties, dancing, bonding with the girls. I enjoyed this quite a bit at the beginning. Especially how the girls band together against the vicious daughters; it feels like the start of a great alliance. Unfortunately, their friendship never seems to bloom. They don’t get considerably close or draw any sort of group dynamic. In fact, I was never really sure if they were actually friends or more like frenemies. I also kept forgetting who was who. They all sort of blend together after a bit – swallowed by their matching arrogance. Even our main character, Violet, isn’t very likeable. She’s ok at first, witty and outgoing, but because of her naivety and paranoia – mostly towards Luca – I was never able to really connect with her.

As for the mystery elements – they’re definitely intriguing. Finding a 1700s painting with what looks to be your twin is a largely appealing plot line. And when you add in alarming events that leaves you doubting everyone – you’ve got me hooked! But – yes there is a but – it simply does not deliver. The latter is incredibly predictable for using the obvious “least likely” character that I’ve seen done so many times (though I’ve read my fair share of mysteries). As for the painting mystery, I was left awfully underwhelmed. Actually, throughout the whole book it plays a very small role; nothing important happens for a long while, turning it into a mundane, yet light, read. Then at the end we’re left without any resolve. I know there is a sequel, but I honestly don’t see the point of splitting this story into two when nothing significant enough happens in this one to warrant a full novel.

What did I like? The Italian setting is fantastic with great descriptions of the country and culture. Although I did wish the Italian dialogue would have been translated more, I still appreciated getting glimpses of the language. I also enjoyed seeing Violet’s reactions to this new foreign land.

While I don’t consider it a bad book, I doubt I will be reading the sequel. I do think some readers could enjoy it especially if you’re looking for a quick vacation read filled with foreign personality. With different expectations I might have been more enthused by it, but as is, there wasn’t anything memorable in it for me.

2 Espressos
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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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44 Responses to “Review: Flirting in Italian”

  1. Nick

    Oh no !
    I thought this was going to be a fun, adorable, and cute romance story. I’m really sorry that you didn’t enjoy it that much and that it left you feeling unsatisfied.
    I don’t think I would have enjoyed the male characters either. I’m OK with book guys being snarky, witty and sarcastic, but condescending ? No. I can’t stand that. I also don’t think I’ll like the main character if she can’t figure out if the guy is being a jerk to her or not.
    Oh well. Atleast the descriptions of Italy are great. I’m probably not going to check this one out when it comes out.
    Thanks for the honesty in your review, Giselle.

  2. Kathy Ann Coleman

    Hmm… I was looking forward to this one, but maybe I’ll wait. I’m really not a fan of condescending guys in contemporary books. I can deal with that a little if it’s coming from, say, a 300 year old vampire. But from a guy roughly the same age and with the same potential number of life experiences as the heroine? Not so much.

    Plus, I kinda lost my interest in this when I found out it was part of a series (or at least a two book split). Yet again, I just don’t think that necessarily works for the genre. It’s one thing to do something like Simone Elkeles’ Perfect Chemistry series, but from what I gather that’s not what’s going on here.

  3. Giselle

    Thanks ladies. He wasn’t constantly condescending but he was telling her he was the only one who would be interested in her in Italy – so she may as well stick with him, right? He said he told her that so she wouldn’t expect to get all the guys like the other girls who look more foreign (she looked a bit more Italian) so she wouldn’t be disappointed or something. I’m not really sure WHY he was saying this but yeah. This was right at the beginning when we met him. It just got under my skin.

  4. Giselle

    @Kathy: I agree when it’s from a vampire or a character who’s supposed to be a bad guy then yes it works. But not when we’re supposed to swoon for him. Even when he wasn’t a jerk he wasn’t likeable either his personality wasn’t attractive at all.

  5. Amy

    I’m glad I skipped this one. It looked so cute and sweet, but I already had tons of books to read. That sucks that is was a bit irritating and the characters aren’t great. Great review hon!!

  6. Hannah Doermann

    I felt exactly the same way about this one. It had so much potential, but none of the storylines really delivered. It annoyed me so much that nothing is really resolved in this one and that they’re going to drag the story out into a sequel, which I think is just unneccessary. Great review, though šŸ™‚

  7. Maja (The Nocturnal Library)

    Gorgeous Italian boys plus a mystery? What could have possibly gone wrong?! Too bad the mystery didn’t work and that the entire thing wasn’t quite what you expected. To be honest, I was never particularly drawn to this book, but now I’m 100% sure that I’m not interested.
    Thank you for the lovely review!

  8. Jasprit

    Giselle you absolutely nailed this review! I also felt that I could only give it two stars, I think that it failed on so many aspects, I wanted it to focus on a lot more on the mystery of the painting, however that kind of went out of the window as soon as she arrived in Italy. šŸ™

  9. Willa

    I love the sound of the setting but the boys sound exasperating.. Might give it a go anyway, just because it is set in Italy šŸ™‚

  10. Zoey Talbon

    I’m starting this today (and hopefully finishing), but I don’t know how much of it I’ll be able to enjoy if there’s all that flip-flopping going on. šŸ™

  11. Kris (Imaginary Reads)

    This book did seem like it would be a fun summer read, but when the characters don’t click with you and the plot doesn’t deliver… it doesn’t sound like I’ll be reading this book. Thanks for the honest review!

  12. Hannah Lorraine

    You’re right about all the problems with it, but I think I was blinded by the setting and I actually adored Violet. So I really enjoyed the book despite its issues. Sorry to hear you didn’t like it.

  13. Christina

    Too bad! I thought this looked super cute, but I think I’ll be giving it a pass. I do not need to read about another asshole guy and how the girl can’t stand him because he’s a jerk, but he’s just SO DREAMY SHE CAN’T HELP IT. NO. Stop this now.

    I’m also really skeptical of the mystery stuff. I thought this looked like it would just be fun and fluffy and I was in the mood for that, but trying to do something else sounds like it made a mess.

  14. Danny

    Ohh too bad! It’s so sad when you are in the mood for something cute and fun and end up disappointed ;(( What is considerably dissapointing are the characters and I need well crafted characters, but they need to stay real!

  15. Katie @ BlookGirl

    Meh. I had higher hopes for this book, but it seems it didn’t deliver.

    I am getting sick of male characters being condescending and rude. I’m also sick of the female characters making excuses for them!

    It’s too bad this book didn’t turn out better because I do like the idea of finding an old painting with what looks to be your twin. There’s a good story in there somewhere, and it appears that Lauren Henderson just didn’t draw it out.

    Hopefully your next book is better, love! <3

  16. Mimi Valentine

    Aww, Giselle, I’m so sorry this book didn’t live up for you — I was expecting tons of fun with the whole flirting in Italian idea too! I usually adore the jerkish boys, but there’s definitely a line where it can go too far haha :’) But the Italian setting still sounds gorgeous and I like that there’s a mystery element, which I didn’t expect at all!

    Beautiful honest review, Giselle! Hopefully I’ll like it more than you did? šŸ™‚ <3

  17. Alexa

    The title and the summary hold so much promise, but a lot of people I know have been disappointed by this one. It makes me sad šŸ™

  18. Jenni @ Alluring Reads

    It’s too bad you didn’t like this one, the premise does sound like it holds lots of promise. I am so sick of asshole love interests! I just don’t get it, and they seem to be getting worse and worse. Great review!

  19. Kelsey@TheLostBookReports

    EXACTLY my feelings!!! This book easily could of been one book and she could of ended every thing from book two and chances are it would have been better. I was so intrigued by the whole mystery picture thing and was annoyed by the end when I didn’t get an answer.

    I enjoyed being immersed in Italia and it was a sweet light read but… underwhelming for sure. Great review!

  20. A Canadian Girl

    I wasn’t really interested in this one to begin with so your review just confirmed that this isn’t my type of book. It’s too bad the characters all blend together and the romance wasn’t appealing.

  21. Katie

    I’m going to be reading this one later in the week and now I know not to go into it with huge expectations. I hate it when characters just swirl together and you forget their names–it’s not a good experience! Thanks for the honest review!

  22. Mel - Thedailyprophecy.

    All right. I wasn’t so sure about reading this one, since it’s not something I’d normally pick, but now I know for sure: I will leave this one unread. Such a shame when a book don’t deliver, while it could be a great book šŸ™‚ Thanks for the honesty, you prevent me from ending up disappoined in a book ^^

  23. Julie

    I’m sorry you didn’t like it. I hate when you look forward to reading a book and then it doesn’t match your expectations. This book looks and sounds so cute, but a jerk love interest is such a huge deal breaker. Great review, Giselle.

  24. Camille Picott

    I think it’s really hard to pull off a novel with a large cast of characters. I’ve seen it done well, but I’ve also read books where most of the characters seem to be interchangeable. Sorry this didn’t live up to your expectations!

  25. Tabitha

    I’m so sorry you didn’t like this as much as you had hoped! Luca seems kinda seems like a jerk, so i don’t know if I’ll read this book. Actually, I’ll probably read it, but not anytime in the near future.

    Thanks for the honest review, it was great!

  26. Rebecca (Kindle Fever)

    Aw, that sucks you didn’t like it as much as you wanted to! I always hate when that happens and this one definitely seemed promising. From what you described, I doubt I’d like it much more than you did and definitely won’t rush to it. :/ I’ll have to keep an eye open for more reviews, but I recall reading another one saying something similar. Great review, Giselle!

  27. margie c {the bumble girl}

    Oh, how disappointing – the majority of this books reviews are quite similar. And I was so looking forward to getting lost in an Italy romance with this one. I will have to wait to see if my library gets it in.
    Thanks for your honest review, Giselle!

  28. Lexie

    Ugh, I’m sorry this was such a letdown. It has a fantastic premise–I mean, cute Italian boys! mystery!–but, well, dickish love interests, unlikable protagonists, and decidedly meh mystery elements are a pretty big downer. I will probably not be picking this one up. As always, fabulous review! I adore your honesty. Keep being awesome.

  29. Shooting Stars Mag

    Thanks for your honest thoughts! I do appreciate it. I was never interested in this to begin with, so really, it just confirms that I should seek out other titles. I do love contemporary in general though, and the setting of Italy is super awesome, but it sounds like it falls flat in a lot of ways that would drive me nuts too! haha


  30. YA Anonymous

    I was deciding between this and Meant To Be and chose Meant To Be. Unfortunately, that was disappointing as well. At least I know to skip this one. Great review, Giselle. šŸ™‚


  31. The Vintage Bookworm

    I’m sorry that you didn’t like it, it looked like such an awesome book. I’ve only read one book by Lauren so far, that was the first book in her Scarlett Wakefield series.

    Though I’m a little more hesitant about this book now, I do want to give it a try.

    I didn’t even know it was going to have a sequel! I thought it was a standalone book. Wow! Ha! Great review, thank you for being so honest. =) That’s something that I love about your reviews, definitely straight foward and honest.

  32. Suzanne @ Paranormal Book Fan

    I feel there’s nothing worse from a book than the main character not being likeable, it makes for a difficult read. Sorry this one didn’t live up to your ideals when you were looking forward to it. Awesome, honest review šŸ™‚

  33. Shellie

    Great honest review. I’ve heard some great things about this one but doesn’t seem up my alley, maybe I just want to read more darker things now O.o

  34. Candace

    It seems like I’ve seen a similar review for this one so I don’t feel terribly surprised at your thoughts. But I’m disappointed! It sounds like such an adorable book but the romance sounds like one that would really drive me nuts. Sorry it was disappointing, but thanks for the awesome review!