Monday, July 24, 2017

Book Review: I See London, I See France by Sarah Mlynowski

Pages: 378
Genre: YA Realistic Fiction
Pub. Date: July 11, 2017
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "Nineteen-year-old Sydney has the perfect summer mapped out. She’s spending the next four and half weeks traveling through Europe with her childhood best friend, Leela. Their plans include Eiffel-Tower selfies, eating cocco gelato, and making out with très hot strangers. Her plans do not include Leela’s cheating ex-boyfriend showing up on the flight to London, falling for the cheating ex-boyfriend’s très hot friend, monitoring her mother’s spiraling mental health via texts, or feeling like the rope in a friendship tug-of-war.   In this hilarious and unforgettable adventure, New York Timesbestselling author Sarah Mlynowski tells the story of a girl learning to navigate secret romances, thorny relationships, and the London Tube. As Sydney zigzags through Amsterdam, Switzerland, Italy, and France, she must learn when to hold on, when to keep moving, and when to jump into the Riviera… wearing only her polka dot underpants."

College-age Leela was hoping to spend the summer in Europe with her boyfriend, but plans change when her boyfriend cheats on her.  Leela then asks Sydney, her best friend, to go and before they know it, they have planned an incredible summer. They are going to Europe for over a month and visiting all the places they have dreamt about.  But things don't always go smoothly. For starters, Leela's ex-boyfriend is on their flight to London leaving them wondering why he is still going to Europe? Sydney can't help but feel a spark for Leela's ex-boyfriend's friend, which obviously makes things complicated.  Sarah Mlynowski's I See London, I See France is armchair traveling at its best. Mlynowski gets that traveling with someone, even if it's with your best friend, can be a challenge at times, but in the end traveling is an experience that won't easily be forgotten.

I truly felt for the character of Sydney in I See London, I See France. She couldn't just up and go to Europe like Leela, she has major responsibilities at home. For starters, her mother is agoraphobic and relies on her more than she should. Sydney is afraid to leave her mother at home with her younger sister, but her mother, even though she is majorly dependent on Sydney, realizes that this is an opportunity that shouldn't be missed and encourages Sydney to go on the trip.  I liked that this book portrayed the stressors of caring for a family member and how that can impact a teen.

I think that any good friendship is put to the test when traveling as things always happen. This is the case with Leela and Sydney, especially when Leela's ex shows up along with his friend, Jackson, whom Sydney starts to have feelings for. Cue all the drama.

Mlynowski did an awesome job portraying a whirlwind European vacation in I See London, I See France.  I loved the travel tips that she included throughout the novel and her descriptions of the famous landmarks. It definitely had me wanting to book a flight to Europe.

It should be noted that I See London, I See France is for older YA readers as there's a lot of mature content.  After all, the main characters are college-age, which leads me to the question as to whether this novel is for teens or new adults? I'd say both depending on maturity.

Either way, I enjoyed I See London, I See France. If you like books that whisk you away to memorable locations, definitely give this one a try this summer.


  1. I wasn't sure about reading this book though the setting appealed to me. You're review makes me want to give it a try! I like armchair travel and I've always wanted to visit Europe. I'm glad she includes travel tips too. Great review!

    1. I think you'd like it--it's light and fun...perfect summertime reading especially if you like armchair traveling. Thanks for visiting, Christina!


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