Paris is a popular setting for numerous novels. Not surprising, since it has an extraordinary history and incomparable beauty.

One Paris Summer, by American author Denise Grover Swank, is told in first-person narrative by main character Sophie Brooks. A sixteen-year-old Charleston, South Carolina native, she is sent to live in Paris for the summer with her father and his new wife. Along with her older brother Eric, Sophie begrudgingly goes with low expectations.  It doesn’t help that her new stepsister Camille is not welcoming, nor is Eric’s friend Dane who has tagged along for the first half of the trip.

Sophie finds solace in playing piano. When she’s offered the opportunity to audition for a major Paris school, she finds herself having to choose between her life in Charleston and the offer of a  dream music education.

Although I enjoyed the book, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Stephanie Perkins’ Anna and the French Kiss. Both novels employ a teenage girl protagonist who is sent to live in Paris. There are some differences. Anna is sent alone to attend foreign high school, whereas Sophie goes to spend the summer there. Each of the girls has their main interest- Anna being movies and Sophie being music. But both of them end up meeting a boy whom they initially don’t want to be with, but then they do, and so on. Honestly, I felt like this novel was almost a spinoff of Perkins’ book, or even part of the same series. I felt like it lacked originality and was predictable.

Swank’s novel did have some good elements. Sophie’s relationship with her older brother is a major plot point and made for some good interactions, as are her attempts to reconnect with her estranged father. I also enjoyed reading about Sophie’s first time on the Eiffel Tower, and the mesmerizing feeling the view had on her.

Overall, I recommend this novel to those who enjoy reading stories that take place in Paris.

 

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