One Paris Summer
Denise Grover Swank
Blink / Zondervan
Anyone would be thrilled to spend the summer in Paris, but Sophie dreads it. Meeting her dad’s new wife and stepdaughter? Leaving her friends behind in the States? Not fun at all. When Sophie arrives, things only get worse. Her dad promised her a piano but never follows through. Her stepsister Camille torments her constantly, and even recruits her friends to help make Sophie miserable. Then one of Camille’s friends reaches out to Sophie. His charm and sweetness are the lifeline Sophie needs to get her through the difficult summer. The two grow closer, but if Camille finds out, she’ll do everything within her power to ruin Sophie’s happiness.
The French setting definitely won me over in this book. I loved the way Swank described different places and streets, cafes and apartments. The relationship between Sophie and her brother Eric added a lot to the story, too. I liked that while at home they were more like rivals, once they arrived in Paris, they became each other’s number one ally. It was sweet and definitely felt real to me.
For the most part, I liked the plot. There were a couple of moments that made me pause. One was when a stranger approaches Sophie outside a restaurant. For a girl who panicked about being alone in a foreign country earlier, she is remarkably unguarded when a strange man strikes up a conversation with her. Later on, a boy lies about his relationship with Sophie, and I just didn’t buy the idea that he’d tell such a farfetched story. I didn’t feel like he had enough motivation to do it, so I didn’t buy in. Which made the ending sort of unravel for me.
I loved the scenes in which Sophie plays the piano. Her music definitely felt like a real, emotional part of her life. I often found myself pulled into her playing and wanting to look up the composers and pieces she practiced.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
References to swearing, but no cursing appears in the text.
Sophie and a boyfriend exchange kisses. She learns about her stepsister sleeping with boys, but doesn’t personally witness any of her behavior other than kissing. At one point she discusses the difference between American dating and French relationships, and mentions that the French are more free about sex. Her French companion disagrees, pointing out that in France, there may be less judgement or shame about sex, but most people only engage when they love each other.
Sophie’s parents have a civil ceremony to legally wed and then a separate church ceremony. She’s told that many Catholics prefer the religious ceremony.
Blink is an imprint of Zondervan in which stories do not contain overt Christian themes.
An unknown thief pickpockets Sophie on a subway. A boy handles her roughly, leaving a bruise on her wrist. A boy kisses her when she didn’t expect, and she doesn’t want him to. She’s able to stop him pretty quickly. A boy claims he’s been having sex with her every day, which isn’t true.
At Sophie’s Dad and stepmom’s wedding, all guests except the youngest children share in a champagne toast to the couple. At a Bastille day picnic, Sophie and her friends drink alcohol. She only sips a tiny amount and doesn’t like it. Later, her brother drinks a bottle of cheap wine and ends up sick.