May 18, 2011

Travel Magic • A Year in Europe

A Year in Europe book cover
A Year in Europe by Rachel Hawthorne
Publisher: Laurel Leaf
Publication Date: September 11, 2007
Source/Format: Bought || Paperback

Robin: Her junior year abroad in London takes a surprising turn when she falls for British hottie Kit. 

Dana: Paris is the City of Love, and Dana's on a mission to find a gorgeous French boyfriend. 

Carrie: She's crazy about Antonio, her Italian dream guy. If Carrie tells him the truth about her American heritage, she might lose him forever. 

It's always been a dream of mine to visit Europe; London and Paris are the top two cities that I want to visit in particular. So when I accidentally found A Year in Europe in Borders about a week ago, I immediately read the synopsis and found myself intrigued - three love stories set against the backdrop of London, Paris and Rome? It was no question that I would buy the book.

Overall, A Year in Europe was a good read. I enjoyed immersing myself into the world of the three main characters (Robin, Dana and Carrie) and reading about their experiences during their Year Abroad in their respective European cities (London, Paris and Rome). It's always a pleasant experience for me to read about Europe, and about sights and experiences that I'm hoping to have there someday.


The first story is set in London, and stars Robin and her host brother Kit. I think, out of all three novels, this one was the one I liked the least.

I liked Robin... when she was being Texan Robin. I wanted to throw the book at a wall in frustration when I kept reading about how she tried so hard to change who she was. I'm definitely glad she learned her lesson in the end. I liked Kit... when he wasn't being silly about his "girlfriend". I kept wanting to tell him to dump her because I didn't like her. I liked him in general though because I kept imagining him as a cute Brit boy, which is basically my type.

Their story had an air of predictability about it, for certain, but I do love how they finally get their acts together in the end. It was quite cute actually, so that's a positive, I suppose.


The second story is set in Paris, and stars Dana and her high school batch mate Alex. Out of the three, this is definitely, hands down, my favorite story.

I liked Dana because she reminded me of me. She was attuned to her sense of creativity, determined to live out her dreams and well, tended towards being sensitive and romantic and a dreamer. Her character was easy to fall in love with. I loved Alex though. He's definitely my type - a quiet, unassumingly handsome boy, who's got creativity flowing in his veins, coupled with a sensitivity and romantic side. You can't help falling in love with his character, especially when he reveals his vulnerability.

Their story made me smile; I felt all warm and fuzzy when it reached it's conclusion (which I couldn't have been more pleased with). It's truly a lovely story and perfectly set against the backdrop of the City of Romance.


The third and last story is set in Rome, starring Carrie and Antonio. I liked the story well enough, but I guess it was mostly towards the ending when I really got into it.

Carrie's an interesting character, but I kind of got mad at her when she decided to trick Antonio. She did make up for it in the end though, so everything turned out just fine. Antonio also annoyed me when he made that presumptous statement about Americans, but totally made up for that too. I did like his sense of romance and the way he expressed himself.

I like how characters from each novel appear in the other novels (like Kit and Robin coming to visit Dana in Paris, and how Kit, Robin, Dana and Alex all show up in Rome for Carrie's party). I also liked the private chatroom that Robin, Dana and Carrie share - it reminds me of my own friends and how we have something similar too.

All in all, I prefer A Year in Europe by Rachel much more than the first novel I read by her. It's an nice, easy to read piece of young adult chick lit and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it.


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