It’s unfortunate when a book set manly in a country I’ve never been to can’t hold my interest. In the vein of Anna and the French Kiss, most of Flirti...moreIt’s unfortunate when a book set manly in a country I’ve never been to can’t hold my interest. In the vein of Anna and the French Kiss, most of Flirting in Italian happens outside of the US. That’s such a great way to initially capture a reader’s attention – but once you’ve got it, holding on to it can be difficult. The author’s descriptions of the surroundings weren’t that interesting. They fell flat most of the time, and I didn’t much care that Violet was in Italy. I wanted to know more about her, about her life, because getting to know Italy didn’t work. What I wanted to know the most was why, for a high school graduate, Violet was still so immature. The melodrama she brought with her – making such a huge deal out of the most ridiculous things – didn’t do much for her. This was surprising, since the book is one of these New Adult books, and it’s not exactly what you’d expect from that. There’s a veil of maturity that should come with the protagonists in these books, and for Flirting in Italian, that wasn’t successful. The mystery surrounding the painting that Violet finds – it looks just like her – wasn’t as strong to me as it may have been for other readers. It’s hard for me to believe that she could see herself in a painting – even older, traditional classic paintings are never that particularly reminiscent of how a person probably looked, due to the style of different artists. For her to make such a big deal out of it, personally, struck me as more melodrama, less mystery. The “super hot Italian guys” in this book weren’t really all that interesting. When you have to rely on the author’s description, there needs to be more in it than just physical appearance. But the guys were so rude. Half of the time, I didn’t understand why Violet would even flip back and forth between the main love interest, Luca. Those parts felt like she was trying to forge an interest in him, and that doesn’t leave much for her character. The parts that kept me reading were Violet’s interactions, the parties, the hang-outs with her girl friends. I have a soft spot for authors who can make these things realistic, and an even softer spot for when they stand out. For Flirting in Italian, the friendships were the strongest part. The rest fell flat for me. (less)
**spoiler alert** A book involving creative writing students? One of them works in a coffee shop? Oh, something about horses… eh, this could still be...more**spoiler alert** A book involving creative writing students? One of them works in a coffee shop? Oh, something about horses… eh, this could still be interesting. Oh, they’re in their first workshop, discussing her first story… oh… why is she talking? …Why is she talking? Why is the teacher and why are the other students let her argue? Why won’t she shut up? Why won’t this entitled brat shut up?
I spent the entire time reading Love Story wishing that Erin would shut up about what a victim she was and figure out what it was she really wanted. It didn’t happen, even with Gabe’s subtle pushes in the (possibly) right direction. Even through to the final conflict, between her and Gabe, the entitled rich white brat poked out and left me with a pretty bad taste.
Erin Blackwell was not the type of person I would typically read an entire book about, but the fact that some of this was supposed to take place during a creative writing class was interesting. If there had been more about that (and if someone would have told Erin to shut up and sit down and wait until everyone was done discussing her train wreck short stories), maybe I would have liked this book.
So then, there was Hunter, a character as bland as the name Hunter. We really only got to see any of his redeeming qualities through the fictional short stories that Erin wrote. But he was always so wrapped up in himself. Both of them were obsessed in getting what they thought they deserved and didn’t step aside to think about how it would impact anyone else. It was all about fueling one dude’s hurt bunny feelings that someone hadn’t stuck up for him in high school.
Seriously. If Erin had been a good enough person to say “Hey, stop calling him that,” this story wouldn’t have even mattered. If Hunter had a backbone and had told people in high school, “Hey, stop calling me that,” again, this story wouldn’t have mattered.
Okay, yes, there are people out there who have these qualities, and that makes them more realistic. Except that was all there was. Erin didn’t have much of a character aside from being stubborn, entitled, and scheming. She’s the “heroine” of her own “love story” and I don’t really care if she got what she wanted. In fact, I sort of hoped maybe the car that hit her would have paralyzed her so that she would have become more interesting, and way more likeable.
It would have also been nice to see some personality in any of the side characters, aside from Manohar. He was, I think, the only character in this book that I enjoyed reading about.
Jennifer Echolls has a great writing style. It’s fluid and interesting, and she has great pace, great dialogue, all of the mechanics that could come together to make a story great. And she picks some interesting circumstances that could seem like they might make for memorable reads. But her female leads leave so much to be desired, and that positively kills it for me. This will probably be the last of her books I’ll read.
I found myself getting tired and frustrated with the needlessly airy writing and meaningless sentences littered throughout the story. It was a complet...moreI found myself getting tired and frustrated with the needlessly airy writing and meaningless sentences littered throughout the story. It was a complete distraction from what was really going on. Between lines like "The inside of the porch is easier to look at than the vast, empty nothing of the night sky," there is an authentic story of a woman who didn't know how to be herself, who was afraid.
That's where this could have been good; unfortunately, it was buried. (less)