Saturday, February 19, 2011

Review of Falling In Love With English Boys by Melissa Jensen

Falling in Love with English Boys
Sixteen-year-old Catherine Vernon has been stranded in London for the summer—no friends, no ex-boyfriend Adam the Scum (good riddance!), and absolutely nothing to do but blog about her misery to her friends back home. Desperate for something—anything—to do in London while her (s)mother’s off researching boring historical things, Cat starts reading the 1815 diary of Katherine Percival her mom gives her—and finds the similarities between their lives to be oddly close. But where Katherine has the whirls of the society, the parties and the gossip over who is engaged to who, Cat’s only got some really excellent English chocolate. Then she meets William Percival—the uber-hot descendant of Katherine—and things start looking up . . .

I decided to pick this up since it was pretty much guaranteed to have adorable British boys . Falling In Love With English Boys is not a serious read, but a fluffy romance with quirky characters. While it certainly doesn’t fall under my all time favorites, this is a perfect book for someone who wants to escape in a faraway romance.

Cat is dragged overseas by her mother, who is spending her summer working at the British Museum (which is awesome, by the way). This story is a bit like Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly in the sense that Cat finds a historic diary and the narrative alternates between the past and present day. I wasn’t a big fan of Cat--sure, it was fun reading about all of the chocolate she ate, but she was a bit whiny for my taste and didn’t seem to have any real interests of her own. The internet speak in her blog posts also tended to be annoying.

I was, however, a much bigger fan of Will. His character was more well-rounded as a person, and his gentle mockery towards Cat was charming. It was frustrating that it seemed like every time he and Cat had a real substantial conversation, it would be summed up in bullet points, instead of fleshed out in detail. I think that would have made me like him even more.

When the ending of this book finally rolled around, the whole thing felt rushed and a bit contrived. I wanted more emotion than I wound up getting. More details. I did love that Jensen acknowledged how oblivious some boys can be, because I can totally relate to that.

Falling In Love With English Boys was certainly a fun read that kept me turning the pages. However, I’m not sure if the blog form really worked for Cat’s narrative--it seemed like the author used the blog as an excuse to cut things short, and I think the story could have been much more romantic and powerful had several of the scenes been extended. At any rate, those who need a taste of a charming British boy should be sure to pick up this quick, quirky read.

Disclosure: I purchased a copy of this book.

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