"Pretty Little Liars" meets "My So-Called Life" in this story of four American teens in Paris and the scandals that haunt each of them.
There's rich New York girl Alex; Cali-born dancer Olivia; closeted Memphis boy Zack; and finally PJ, an elusive beauty from Vermont who's hiding a dark past.
Studying abroad for their junior year of high school, they run wild in the Tuileries, hold clandestine parties in their host families' luxe apartments, take over tiny crowded cafes and generally live the glamorous life.
But in the end they all must face the lies they've told and secrets they've kept when the unthinkable happens.
OPINION: 4 STARS
The most defining feature of this book is the fact that it is American teenagers but set in Paris at the Lycee- a very nice twist on the high school setting. The four main characters all have vastly different but still strong personalities and althought some of them bothered me, I grew to love them all.
Alex is selfish, stuck up, and completely self centered but she still wants love and friendship. Even though many parts of her story were very obvious, it was in that way the reader is almost screaming at her to figure it out but knowing what lies ahead and wishing to protect her. Or maybe that was just me. Her vulnerable side came out in a great way and I certainly look forward to more from her in the next 2 books. She is the character I can see many people disliking the book because they don't like her but truthfully, for me, it made me like the book more because I could see it from her eyes.
Zack is adorable in so many ways- a completely loveable gay. His background and the family he left behind to come study in France lends more drama and angst to his sexual orientation but I really did think he was tastefully done. Not too much but it was still a defining thing about him- many things came back to it but it wasn't in a way where I felt Silag was just trying to remind readers he was gay. His orientation was a true stuggle for him and that came out well in the book.
PJ intrigued me the most and although I thought her character was kind of an idiot sometimes, her particular background grabbed at me. She very much was the girl just trying to put her past behind her, move on, and find her way in the world- and became too distracted by that to really notice much else in a way.
Olivia, finally, was the character I felt grew the most through this book. There was a noticeable difference between when she was first introduced to the girl that was at the close of this first book in the trilogy but it seemed very much like a smooth transition, not rushed and not forced. Although the story only spans the fall semester, that is still a lot of time, especially in a foreign country- and I felt like Olivia showed how big an impact that could have more than anyone.
The ending was a massive cliffhanger, setting things up perfectly for the next installment which comes out Christmas Eve and yes, I am definitely going to be getting it. I am very eager to find out what happens next and where things will go from here.
This is certainly an easy read- filled with drama but because it shifts between the different characters, the reader isn't stuck with one thing for too long and the French setting also makes it refreshing compared to typical high school drama. One thing I did really like about this story was the fact that although it shifts between 4 perspectives, only a few times did I have to stop to think of what the new chapter and new character were doing- the transitions were pretty seamless, overall, with very little backtracking within a character's story to earlier chapters. The four different story lines overlapped in a way to tell a story greater than just them- the reader could see the entire picture and not just one character's focus and view of it, helped along by how the characters interacted with each other within the chapters.
The writing was good- it didn't astound me and take my breath away, but it didn't bore me or turn me off and I actually really liked the cover. The next 2 covers are featured on the back of this one and they all follow the same overall look and fit together quite nicely.