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Flirting in Italian

Flirting in Italian is a YA contemporary with a splash of mystery by Lauren Henderson.

Violet has always known she’s looked nothing like her Scottish father and Scandinavian mother. Her darker skin, eyes, and hair have always appeared more Italian, Mediterranean… something different. But she’s never felt like her parents’ were hiding anything from her either.

Yet when she visits a museum near her London home, she’s riveted by her a painting of a young female Italian aristocrat – who could be her twin. Even the museum employees can see the stunning similarity – as if she was looking in a mirror with a period costume on.

Unable to get it off her mind, she decides to search for more information, as the painter was anonymous. Convincing her mom that she wants to go to Italy for a study course to get her into university was an easy enough thing.

Once she’s in Italy though, she’s distracted by the utter beauty around her – including the Italian boys that lavish attention and admiration on the girls in the program. Especially one called Luca whose mood seems to change at the drop of a pin, yet holds her thoughts captive.

Friendship with the other foreign girls, rivalry with the horrid daughter of the woman running the program, Elisa, and romantic confusion is getting Violet off track from her original intent of going to Italy.

But even so, Violet is still determined to find her connection to that painting…

Flirting in Italian is such a cheerful, chick-lit sounding title that I was surprised by how the main character, Violet, was far more serious and goal driven than bubbly. I actually wouldn’t have minded a bit more wit and humor, but I also wasn’t bored. I just wanted more… sparkle.

I did like Violet’s relatable mix of insecurity and confidence – that had believability to it. And the romantic elements certainly had chemistry.

My problem was that I never really liked Luca. He seemed mostly like a jerk that couldn’t make up his mind. Plus, like I mentioned, it was never enough FUN for me. The mystery element fell behind and felt forgotten, and when it was brought up it was sort of stale and solemn. When a little bit of danger cropped up, that was nice… but it still lacked OOMPH!

It just didn’t quite do enough of anything for me, alas. But it could for you!

There’s to be a sequel called Kissing in Italian. I wouldn’t actively seek it or eagerly wait for it – but if it fell in my lap? I’d read it.

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