I See London, I See France – Sarah Mlynowski

What a wonderful beach read! Or rather, what a perfect “travel read”!! I gotta say, I totally started doubting Ms. Mlynowski’s work. I was a bit hesitant because I felt like her work was so twee/high school. But I studied abroad in Europe last term, and when I saw the list of countries… well, I HAD to pick this up. I’ve been to London, Amsterdam, Paris, Interlaken, the south of France, Monaco, Pisa, Florence, and Rome before. I’ve been to Brussels (but not Bruges!), and I’ve always wanted to go to Greece. So when you put all these places in one book, well, it’s irresistible!

Synopsis

I see London, I see France, I see Sydney’s underpants.

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.

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.

Review

What a wonderful beach read! Or rather, what a perfect “travel read”!! I gotta say, I totally started doubting Ms. Mlynowski’s work. I was a bit hesitant because I felt like her work was so twee/high school. But I studied abroad in Europe last term, and when I saw the list of countries… well, I HAD to pick this up. I’ve been to London, Amsterdam, Paris, Interlaken, the south of France, Monaco, Pisa, Florence, and Rome before. I’ve been to Brussels (but not Bruges!), and I’ve always wanted to go to Greece. So when you put all these places in one book, well, it’s irresistible!

My only gripe — as a Canadian and 6-month Swiss resident — was that some aspects were a bit far-fetched, if not downright false. I think Mlynowski could have taken a bit more care to do some research here to build authenticity! What do I mean by that? I mean almost all Canadian phone plans are 100x worse than American plans, since we have two companies essentially monopolizing the phone market (seriously, they campaigned hard enough that Verizon was barred from entering the Canadian market). And there is almost no chance that Matt is a Toronto FC fan. NO ONE is a Toronto FC fan. If he’s really a good ol’ Toronto boy, he’s going to be a Leafs fan through and through.

Likewise, Mlynowski ponders why Switzerland doesn’t use euros, especially since euros are so “colourful and cute, like monopoly money.” Swiss Francs are even more colourful! And then she has the crew throw down euros instead of francs in Interlaken. Or she talked about amazing sandy beaches in Nice… yes, maybe in Juan-les-pins. But Nice just has pebbly beaches, not sandy ones. Rookie mistake. The devil is in the details. I found these sorts of cultural nuances incorrect for the countries I know well, so I can only assume the case was the same for the other countries.

Barring authenticity (sorry, do I sound snobby yet?), this book was SO CUTE. Loved the main romance, loved the crazy off-and-on situation with Leela, loved McGill, and loved the family- and friend-related depth added to the story. My best gauge for a good book is whether I’m able to forget to read it, and in this case, this book was un-put-downable.

Related Reading

  • The Wonder of Us – Kim Culbertson
  • Love and Gelato – Jenna Evans Welch
  • The Loose Ends List – Carrie Firestone
  • 180 Seconds – Jessica Park (not sure why; these books aren’t related at all!)

Rating: 5/5

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