Book review: One Paris Summer by Denise Grover Swank
**I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review**
When Sophie and her brother Eric find themselves on a plane to visit their father and his fiancé for their upcoming nuptials, while excited for a trip to Paris, France, they aren’t nearly as excited about seeing their father or the wedding. For the budding pianist Sophie, she is beyond worried that a lack of practicing all summer will endanger her chance at a scholarship to a prestigious college. And while her new step-mom, Eva is nice and happy to have them in Paris, her daughter and their new step-sister, Camille, is less than thrilled to not only have to share her room and home with Sophie, but that she is also expected to show them around on their visit. When their first trip sightseeing ends up with Camille purposely loosing Sophie on the Metro, she knows she’s in for a long summer. But then Mathieu, a childhood friend of Camille’s shows up to rescue Sophie, while she first thinks that it’s another of Camille’s cruel jokes, but Mathieu has a way about him that settles Sophie and sends her head spinning. Even with her brother Eric’s friend Dane visiting them in Paris, whom Sophie’s had a crush on for some time, she sees the caliber of character difference and begins the spend more time with Mathieu, if even just to practice on his mother’s piano instead of the key board her father bought her.
Mathieu keeps his feelings just out of reach, and Sophie is continually baffled by him – his seeming interest, but then pulling back just when she starts to feel close to him. Between boy issues and daddy issues, Sophie can’t help but feel overwhelmed. However, when she gets in front of the piano at Mathieu’s house, her tensions melt away and all the trouble with boys, her father, and even Camille are nothing but key strokes on the piano. So when she gets the opportunity of a lifetime to play in a prestigious program, while she has her reservations, she decides to try. With all of her ducks seemingly in a row, she finally begins to feel confident about her decisions – but when her best friend is in a terrible accident and someone comes between her and Mathieu, Sophie wonders if it hasn’t all been a trick of the bright lights in Paris.
I ADORED this book! Ms. Grover Swank does yet another amazing job in setting the stage of the emotions and conflicts that Sophie feels on everything from boys she crushes on, to her piano career, and her relationships with her mom and dad. But to have it set in the City of Lights made the story glide off the pages like a cool breeze – her dedication to keeping the French accurate, the names and places she mentions – it’s all summed up in a beautiful story of a young lady’s coming of age story and finding her way in the world. While Sophie may be just another typical teenager, nothing about the way Ms. Grover Swank portrays her characters and their emotions is simply breathtaking! Bravo!!