Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication Date: May 6, 2014
Source/Format: Publisher (Thanks Bloomsbury!) || ARC
[I received this book for review from the publisher. This in no way affects the thoughts expressed in my review.]
Pippa is in Italy for the summer and, despite her parents’ wishes, she has no intention of just studying the local art! She has a list of things of her own to do: from swimming in the Mediterranean Sea to getting a makeover – and falling for an Italian boy! As Pippa explores the dramatic ruins of Rome and Pompeii, she is swept into her own drama with two guys: an irresistible local she knows is nothing but trouble and a cute American archaeology student . . . Will she find her true love? (from Goodreads)
There's nothing quite like the warm fuzzies one gets from reading a fun, summery contemporary! Wish You Were Italian is just the type of delightful read I like as the warmer weather starts to arrive. It's got a great cast of characters, a surprisingly compelling story and an amazing exotic locale (actually, more than one of them!). All these elements combined to create an awesome story that I couldn't put down once I'd started.
Hands down, my favorite thing about Wish You Were Italian is the setting. While it's always been my sister's dream to go to Italy and explore one day, I am now convinced to go too after reading this book. Rae really made everything that main character Pippa experiences come to life with her words. I find myself itching to go and see the Colosseum, grab some actual gelato and pizza, visit Pompeii and more.
The story also won me over. Even though there were certainly moments I thought were a touch too dramatic or unbelievable, I still really liked it. The plot almost feels like it could work as a movie (perhaps a Disney Channel original movie?). Pippa's adventures involve romance and friendship and shenanigans too. Every step she takes leads to her realizations about what she likes, wants and is capable of. Don't get me wrong - there's also surprising depth, as Pippa has to deal with her parents (especially her mother) and her own lack of courage sometimes. But for the most part, Rae tells Pippa's story with a light hand and it totally worked.
The characters are such a delightful bunch. There is Pippa, who is trying to forge her own way in the world - and figuring out what that means. There's her best friend, Morgan, who gives her an awesome present for the trip and provides plenty of support and encouragement. Her new Italian friend Chiara, who helps Pippa make her way to Cinque Terre and is an amazing, enthusiastic pal. Bruno, Matilde's other son, who becomes an irresistible Italian crush, and Darren, the cute American archeology student who keeps crossing paths with Pippa (and who I generally favored). Pippa's awesome grandmother also deserves a shoutout too! There are plenty of characters to meet, and enjoy meeting, and I loved that they each entered in a way that felt organic to the tale.
All in all, Wish You Were Italian is the kind of contemporary that I think many people will enjoy. It's filled with funny moments, adventures in Italy, moments of realization, sweet romance -- all revolving around a main character who is fun, smart and not necessarily perfect (which makes her all the better to me). It's one of those stories that will entertain; it's also a story that will proceed to make your wanderlust and desire to visit Italy grow in gigantic proportions. Definitely consider adding this one to your summer reading pile!
Rachel and I have decided to collaborate on this new feature, since we often end up having a lot of the same ARCs. We've decided to read them around the same time, so we can discuss them, and we're sharing answers to one burning question related to the book, author or series with our reviews!
Our question: What are the 5 things you want to do in Italy?
First of all, I would just like to go to Italy. Period. To be able to visit Europe at all would be lovely, really. There are seriously so many things that come to mind when I think about visiting this country in particular, from visiting a boat ride in Venice, a visit to Pompeii and Cinque Terre, to dropping by the Leaning Tower of Pisa. But these would be the five things I'd want to do in Italy:
1. Visit the Colosseum. If there's one site that I would like to see in Italy, this would be it.
2. Ride a Vespa. Because I think it would seriously be tons of fun.
3. Throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain. I've always believed wishes can come true.
4. I want to visit that site where people leave their letters to Juliet. I'm a sucker for romance.
5. Eat. Who can resist all the pizza and pasta and gelato? No one, that's who.