Friday, June 13, 2014 books

Wish You Were Italian
by Kristin Rae

First sentence:
You can do this.

Pippa has always wanted to go to Italy … but not by herself. And certainly not to sit in art school the entire summer learning about dead guys’ paintings. When she steps off the plane in Rome, she realizes that traveling solo gives her the freedom to do whatever she wants. So it’s arrivederci, boring art program and ciao, hot Italian guys!

Charming, daring, and romantic, Bruno is just the Italian Pippa’s looking for—except she keeps running into cute American archeology student Darren everywhere she goes. Pippa may be determined to fall in love with an Italian guy … but the electricity she feels with Darren says her heart might have other plans. Can Pippa figure out her feelings before her parents discover she left the program and—even worse—she loses her chance at love?
source: Goodreads

My opinion:
I love Italy! The country, the landscape, the people living there, the food, the language, the history, the culture, the art, …

I am an Italy enthusiast and feel a strong need to read every possible book set there. When Jana posted her review of this book, I knew that I had to have it. She loved it so much and when it comes to YA novels we have pretty similar taste.

Wish you were Italian is the story of Pippa, a 17 year old American, sent to Italy for a whole summer to study art in Florence because her parents own an art gallery and want her to take it over one day. Pippa is not happy about this arrangement at all and when she arrives on the airport in Rome she decides to stay there for a few days and explore the city. Seeing the Colosseo and the Roman Forum makes her think of all the amazing places in Italy and since she has a passion for photography she decides to take the first risk of her life and blow off summer school and explore Italy on her own.

Pippa is a great girl. She is stronger than she thinks and when she finally decided to explore the country and not to attend the art program she never wanted to go to anyway, she really starts living. That’s something Italy just makes you do – in a country where la famiglia and mangare (eating) is the core of society you just start to relax and enjoy life. Pippa also starts making friends pretty quickly and because she’s in Italy she gets insights into people’s lives and great opportunities open up for her.

I cannot imagine what it must feel like being forced to join an art program when you just want to enjoy your last summer of high school with your best friend and when you are not interested in art at all. Pippa’s mother is never listening to her and makes her daughter think that she does not care about Pippa and her ideas for her life. During the summer Pippa tries to stick as close to the truth as possible when e-mailing her mum but she always feels guilty about her secret. She enjoys her summer vacation and being able to do what she really wants – taking photos – but lying to her parents is something she feels really uncomfortable.

I really liked all the other characters in the book too. They are all lovely and so Italian. Kristin Rae portrays Italians and their behavior so well that I now really miss being there.

Wish You Were Italian is a wonderful summer read which will immediately fill you with the need to board a plane or get into your car (since Vienna is only about an 8 hour drive from Florence – lucky me) and go to Italy to soak up some sunshine, enjoy lots of pizza, pasta and gelato and listen to Italians talk to each other while staring either at the Statue of David in front of Palazzo Vecchio on the Piazza della Signoria or at the Campanile right next to the Duomo Santa Maria del Fiore.

For more information about Kristin Rae visit her Homepage or Twitter page.

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