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I See London, I See France

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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.

378 pages, Hardcover

First published July 11, 2017

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About the author

Sarah Mlynowski

124 books3,142 followers
Sarah was born in Montreal, Canada. After graduating with an honors degree in English literature from McGill University, she moved to Toronto to work for Harlequin Enterprises. While she never met Fabio, she used her romance publishing experiences to fuel her first novel Milkrun.

Since then, Sarah has written four additional novels for adults: Fishbowl, As Seen on TV, Monkey Business, and Me vs. Me; the New York Times bestselling middle grade series Whatever After; the middle grade series Upside-Down Magic (with Lauren Myracle and Emily Jenkins); and the teen novels Bras & Broomsticks, Frogs & French Kisses, Spells & Sleeping Bags, and Parties & Potions (all in the Magic in Manhattan series), as well as Gimme a Call, Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn't Have), Don't Even Think About It, Think Twice, and I See London, I See France. Along with Lauren Myracle and E. Lockhart, Sarah also wrote How to Be Bad, and along with Farrin Jacobs, she wrote See Jane Write, a guide to writing. Sarah also co-edited two bestselling charity collections (Girls' Night In and Girls' Night Out), and has contributed to various anthologies (American Girls About Town, Sixteen: Stories About That Sweet and Bitter Birthday, 21 Proms, First Kiss (Then Tell), Fireworks, and Vacations from Hell).

Sarah is also a co-founder of OMG BookFest, a celebration of books aimed at the early to middle grade reader (ages 7-12) that brings together commercial and award-winning authors with underserved local communities for an exciting experience of books, games and activities.

Sarah's books have been translated into twenty-nine languages and optioned to Hollywood. She now lives in New York City with her husband and two daughters.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,353 reviews
Profile Image for Hailey (Hailey in Bookland).
603 reviews87.3k followers
July 13, 2017
This was a really cute summer contemporary! It was also definitely one of the better YA travel novels I've read. I felt like I was back on my own backpacking trip in Europe that I took earlier this year, so the nostalgia definitely helped me enjoy it more, especially since I've been to all but one of the places they went to! I do have quite a few thoughts to share so I will do a video review as soon as I'm caught up with them (I have a ton to do still)
Profile Image for ♛ may.
805 reviews3,775 followers
April 16, 2018
DNF @ 35%

i really,,,,wow this book was awful. and i couldnt even make it through amsterdam.


i could supply you with a list of reasons why this book didn't do it for me, but i dont have the energy for that.

just know that resting on the top of that list is when the main character's best friend's ex CHEATED on her all it took was this explanation:

"“It was just a stupid kiss. It didn’t mean anything. I was freaked out. We’re only nineteen, and you were practically picking out our wedding invitations!”


bc wow !!! true love !! romance still exists !!

granted i dont know if she leaves him at the end, but that'll be SOME character development and sadly, i wont be sticking around to see

im out.
Profile Image for Stacee.
2,695 reviews702 followers
July 4, 2017
1.5 stars?

I don't know what to say about this book. I feel like what I read was not the same book from the synopsis.

Sydney was a decent enough MC. I struggled with {okay, straight up hated} her BFF Leela. Their dynamic was toxic and though I could get over a bit of lingering resentment, I got tired of reading Leela do whatever she wanted and Sydney just taking it.

The travel portion of the book was good. I did feel like I had actually gone on parts of this trip. It definitely didn't read like a YA, more like NA lite. There was drug use and drinking and a sex show. Everything was about what boys they were going to hook up with. {For the record, I don't have an issue with any of those things. I just wasn't expecting them to be such a focal point.} The mental illness aspect felt like an afterthought most of the time. Like Sydney used her mom and sister as a reason to get away from Leela or things she didn't want to do.

Overall, I liked the travel and the idea of this story, but I couldn't root for any of the characters and didn't care what happened to them. Perhaps I'm just not the demographic for this and that's why I didn't enjoy it.

**Huge thanks to Harper Teen for providing the arc free of charge**
Profile Image for Olivia (Stories For Coffee).
585 reviews5,588 followers
July 22, 2020
I’m not sure how to feel about this. While the premise was fun because I’m a sucker for a travel novel, this book was incredibly frustrating because the friendship between Sydney and Leela was so toxic and exhausting in the way they hardly communicated, the way Leela walked all over Sydney and manipulated her. Their friendship ruined the book for me, and I feel like the book could have been heavily edited down. Idk. Just a forgettable contemporary, for me.
Profile Image for Ashley.
484 reviews217 followers
May 15, 2020
One of the best ways to travel, as a mother of three children, who cannot take a month off from life to backpack around Europe is to read books! I love picking up books set in Europe because it is one of my greatest dreams to travel the continent someday and soak in the rich history and beautiful sights. Unfortunately, in it not in the cards...or the budget during this phase of my life. When I saw I See London, I See France by Sarah Mlynowski was published this summer, I was quick to add it to my reading list. In this case, I loved my free trip around Europe, but I didn't quite enjoy my travel partners.

Sarah Mlynowski did an excellent job of creating an experience of reading this novel. I felt as if I able to get a real tour of multiple European countries and learn a few bits of info that I hadn't previously known before, mainly about Amsterdam. As the characters traveled around, readers are introduced to each new place, more than just London and France, and many of the great tourist activities these places offer. I thoroughly enjoyed the detail in each activity and location, allowing me to feel as if I was experiencing it with the characters.

My main issue with the novel, however, was the immaturity of the characters. Maybe I am showing my age in feeling an inability to connect with younger characters and the issues they face. Though, I doubt this is entirely the case because I have read some thoroughly enjoyable YA lately.

Sydney's best friend, Leela, was incredibly infuriating for me to read about, as was Sydney's weakness in standing up to Leela's childish demands. The majority of the plot was spent with the characters either running from boys or running back to the same boys. Sydney and Leela never could stick to a plan for their trip, usually changing where they wanted to visit based on Leela's demands or feelings. While I'm all for spontaneity, I was ready for Sydney to drop her friend and travel the way she wanted to, uninhibited and free of Leela's silly whims.

One of the biggest disappointments was Leela conveying that Sydney needed to make out with multiple guys to truly have a great vacation and European experience. This is not something I would want any young girl to feel pressured to do, and I can't help but think how reading this novel may negatively influence young women. Kissing multiple boys should not be the objective of vacation before college and make or break the experience. I was really disconcerted by this message, and wish the author would have left this aspect out of the story.

In the end, I could only give this novel a middle-of-the-road rating of three stars. There were some things about the story I really enjoyed, but other things I wasn't quite fond of. I think I may have enjoyed this book more when I was younger, as the mom in me tends to picture my daughter in some of the situations the characters found themselves in, which makes me uncomfortable and frankly, sad to think about. Even so, many readers have loved this book and it may be just right for you, too. If you're looking for a quick read and free "vacation", I See London, I See France will certainly transport you!
Profile Image for Mackenzie Lane.
235 reviews2,112 followers
December 15, 2017
1.5 STARS ✨

Listened to this on Audible & it was my first time listening to an audiobook! Kinda wish I'd picked a book I actually liked, but oh well 🤷🏼‍♀️

I didn't think the characters were likable or relatable, at least not to me. They were actually incredibly annoying & immature.

I saw in one review that they thought the mental illness aspect of this book "felt like an afterthought", and I couldn't agree more.

Even the traveling bits were subpar. Just not a good book, with ABSOLUTELY no plot except for our MC desperately wanting to hook up with what's his face (already forgot his name and I finished the book less than 10 minutes ago).

Very much a forgettable book.
Profile Image for Jennifer Nielsen.
Author 39 books7,364 followers
August 16, 2017
It's a rare book that makes me laugh out loud, and Sarah has definitely achieved that here. This was a delightful book and I'm so excited to see more are coming.
Profile Image for Megha.
284 reviews86 followers
October 31, 2018
Yeah this book is not what I imagined it to be.

I was hoping for a cute, fluffy story but what I got was a teenager who can’t stand up for herself and a best friend who is hella annoying.

Sydney is the girl who handles everything. She takes care of her mom back mom, which I really liked. But she still worries every 2 seconds while she’s on vacation. I get it its her mom but she had to trust her sister to take care of her while Sydney is away. She also can’t stand up for herself. She practically plans the whole trip, and when Leela changes it abruptly we can see that it hurts Sydney but she doesn’t say anything. Why? Oh cause Leela is sad and she has to be happy! Like girl no grow a backbone and stand up for what you want to do. Leela is just a two-faced b****. I cannot stand her. She kept going back to her ex-boyfriend and when Sydney wants to be with Jackson she would give her a hard time. And Sydney would just be like yeah I value my friendship more blah blah blah. I get it they are best friends but Leela wants everything her way and that just can’t be possible. Their friendship just frustrated the crap out of me. It only consists of Leela complaining about everything and Sydney trying to fulfill Leela’s every demand.

There were some great parts too. I really liked the whole travelling scenario. I would be totally fun to have a trip like that. I also liked what was going back home to Sydney’s mom. It was great to see her coping. And I liked the Jackson part. I gotta say their relationship was cute. I was totally rooting for them.

Honestly, I am a bit disappointed. I feel like there was so much potential for this to be an amazing story but it just wasn’t for me.
Profile Image for Giselle.
1,055 reviews911 followers
August 1, 2019
Meh. Too juvenile for me..but it did get a little teensy bit better at the end. I love all the food and sightseeing references.
Profile Image for Tiff.
569 reviews539 followers
July 19, 2017
Review originally posted on Mostly YA Lit:

Review: I See London, I See France by Sarah Mlynowski
Yikes. I would have DNFd this book at 30% had it not been for a mutual silent agreement with my pal Michele of Just a Lil Lost that we were going to power through together. I really, really hoped that it would get better, that the mental health representation would go deeper and be a little stronger, or that I would like the characters and the premise more. But nope.

Sydney has just finished her first year of university in Maryland. Her best friend, Leela, has spent the year in Montreal at McGill University. The best friends have always dreamed of going to Europe together, but Syd's mom suffers from anxiety and agoraphobia. Sydney herself lives at home and spends most of her time taking care of her mom. But when Leela's boyfriend Matt cheats on her, Leela's plans to go to Europe are dashed unless Sydney steps in. Of course, they don't count on Matt showing up on the same flight, along with his hot friend Jackson.

So, there's a lot going on in this book - maybe too much because honestly, I got to the end of it and felt like not a single thing was delved into deeply enough.

First, the characters. Sydney and Leela are supposed to be 19, but I felt like they read incredibly young in both action and voice. There were a lot of moments where I wondered if I was reading a middle grade novel. And then they would talk about hooking up and sex - but not in those terms - and I'd just be confused again.

Neither one of the main characters is particularly funny, smart or interesting. I felt like I barely knew them other than what they did in the book. Moreover, Leela spends most of the book moping, bitching and complaining about everything and Sydney is a doormat who tries to please her. Their friendship is so crappy and obviously toxic. Add to that that they were the opposite of introspective, spending most of their time complaining about boys and the weather, and seeming to be frustrated whenever anything wasn't at all like it was in America.

The latter thing is hard to talk about, because I know my perspective is one of someone who is older and has travelled a lot, but HOLY HELL. For girls who supposedly have been dreaming of Europe their whole lives, they seem to know nothing about the places they want to see. They're in London and it's raining. "Why does it rain so much?!" They decide to go get fish and chips. "These taste nothing like the frozen fish sticks from home - oh and chips are fries! Omg!" First of all, I'm pretty sure you can get fish and chips in any ocean/seaside town in America. Second of all, does anyone not know that the "chips" in fish and chips are fries?

If that was the only instance of that kind of "helpful tip" in the book, I would have just ignored it. But the narrative of the book is sprinkled with "snippets" from a fake guidebook that includes tips like these. Obvious ones. Ones that literally made me wonder whether this book was some kind of satire for the stereotypical American tourist. I kid you not, I legit wondered that because the characters are so unlikeable and so shocked that things aren't the way they are at home that I felt like I might be imposing some kind of Canadian snobbery or something.

Those issues last through the entire book and just made my reading experience really painful. And they were exacerbated by Sydney's enabling of her mom, who is being cared for by her 16-year old sister. Sydney has been taking care of her mom for 7 years, and she's essentially allowed her mom to dictate her own treatment to the point where it's gotten impossible to go outside and Sydney has no life. I wont go into spoilers on how this all gets dealt with, but let's just say that it feels way too easy. As someone who suffers from anxiety, I just really felt like it was too light a take on this issue.

Finally, the romance. Because I wasn't invested in the characters, I wasn't at all invested in their relationships or love interests. I will say that towards the middle of the book, we meet a couple characters I liked better. But for the most part, the romance was light and fluffy and frankly not that interesting.

Overall, I'm hugely disappointed in this book. It needed a really good edit. At 380 pages, it really should have had some substance or at least some decent travel writing. But I never felt like I was in any of the places with the characters because their experiences were so limited to just touristy spots and dealing with their own drama. I don't think I've sighed in frustration more over a book than this one. I actually can't believe there's a sequel. You can bet I won't be reading it.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
1,818 reviews
July 14, 2017
3.5/5 stars

I See London, I See France is the first book in a new series. I believe that the next book will have different narrators, but be set in the same world (there was a small sneak peek at the end of this story which leads me to believe this).

The book is being touted as Young Adult. But I'm not completely sure what I think about that. The main characters are all 19 and have completed one year of university. There are sex and drugs in this story. However, these scenes are not graphic (which they usually are in New Adult books).

This book is a contemporary romance (IMO somewhere in between upper YA and NA). The narrator is 19 year old Sydney.

The book is basically Sydney and her best friend Leela travelling around Europe for a month.

One of the most interesting things about this book is that Sydney's mom has severe agoraphobia. I really enjoyed everything to do with this aspect of the storyline. And actually wished that it played an even bigger part of the story.

The book started off okay for me. Leela has just broken up with her boyfriend Matt. Unfortunately both of these characters were not that appealing to me.

While I didn't love Leela and Matt I did love two other characters (Sydney's friend Kat and Matt's friend Jackson). Also there were some Aussies in the book that I thought really added to the story.

At the beginning of each new city is a basic description of what that city is known for. I found this really cute.

The story wasn't bad. I just wanted more to happen. It was basically just two girls travelling. There was some romance. And I really did enjoy Sydney's romance. But the story ended too abruptly. It was just getting interesting. Perhaps some of these characters will appear in the next book. Although from the brief description it seems like there will be different narrators. Overall, I wish that the author had not rushed through the end.

Thanks to edelweiss and HarperTeen for allowing me to read this book.
Profile Image for Yv.
669 reviews26 followers
February 28, 2019
Wat een fantastische summerread!!
Last van een dipje? Dit is hét boek om er vanaf te komen!

De twee jeugdvriendinnen Leela en Sydney gaan 4,5 week citytrippen door Europa. Allebei laten ze hun problemen achter zich in Amerika, maar allebei treffen ze nieuwe problemen...

Het is heerlijk beeldend geschreven en je waant je samen met de personages in de steden. Je proeft nog net het eten niet zeg maar, al loopt het water je wel in de mond! De auteur heeft echt gigantisch haar best gedaan om land- en stadselementen (denk aan het Red Light District van Amsterdam, overheerlijke wafels in Brugge, ijs in Italie, and so on) weer te geven en daarom zijn haar kleine Nederlandse (ver)taalvoutjes haar vergeven. Het was gewoon heerlijk om me weer in deze steden te wanen, al was het slechts in mijn fantasie...
Af en toe mocht Syd zeker wat meer van zich afbijten en zich wat minder laten sturen en mocht Lee absoluut wat minder egoïstisch zijn. Maar aan de andere kant: 4,5 week op vakantie zonder trammelant? Doesn't happen! Ik ben zelf ooit 6 weken met een vriendin naar Zuid Afrika gegaan en de dingen die de dames in het boek meemaken, klinken echt als een deja-vu.
Ook is er de nodige humor in verwerkt. Gewoon, echt, een boek die je móét lezen met tropische temperaturen en een lekker koud glas wijn!!

Heerlijk boek, 4*.
March 9, 2018
I'll keep this short like my attention towards this book.

What's Good?
*Little, though shallow and saccharine, tidbits about each city they visited (I've visited several and, to tell the truth, it's the reason why I finished this book).

*Short chapters.

What's Bad?
*Bland characters. I forgot Sydney's (the protagonist) name throughout the book because she bored me to no end (Her family drama, sadly, added nothing). Leela was a manipulative snot to the point of being an antagonist. Kat was okay, but not a character that added as much as Mlynowski believed. She was more of a middle man to balance the imbalance of the other girls.

*Instant love. Hookups do not need to be lasting love.

*No clear plot. They travel place to place (It's not that easy to just pick up and go to another city. Some train rides cost more when you buy their tickets the day of your desired traveling) chasing or not chasing (whatever) guys.

After a while, you want to get off the train and finish the trip on your own, leaving these girls behind. YA? NA Lite? Doesn't matter? If you want a light summer read, sure, read this one. Do not seek depth.

Profile Image for Alafiya.
53 reviews277 followers
February 18, 2018
Wow, this was a lovely read. Refreshing. Also, I love travel-themed books but not all of them are uber-cool. This one was. 💖💖💖
Profile Image for Yusra  ✨.
249 reviews511 followers
Want to read
July 13, 2018
what's funny is that if england won the semi-final... this book would have predicted the world cup final????

Profile Image for Amélie Boucher.
678 reviews290 followers
May 24, 2020
Update 24/05/2020: I filmed a video in which I reread this book and read 4 other YA travel novels just like this one if you'd like to check it out! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LnzrX5dHnvA



This book gave me such a bad case of wanderlust! I've just returned from my semester abroad in Europe, and now I REALLY want to go back so I can explore it some more!

I loved how "real" this story felt. I felt like this story could happen to anyone (it might actually have happened to some people!), and I like how realistic and relatable the characters were. I was not a big fan of Leela (I think she was kind of a bitch and a bad friend), but I did like Kat, Jackson, and Sydney.

But my favorite thing about this book was the setting. I like how the chapters were divided into the cities Sydney visited, and all the cities were so vividly described, I felt like I was there too! The only one I've actually set foot in that is described in this book was London, and I think the author did such a great job of describing it! As I mentioned, this book gave me a major case of wanderlust, and it made me want to book my own trip across Europe over the summer (who knows, maybe that will actually happen?).

The only thing that pissed me off (but don't worry, it's nothing major) is the misuse of French. There were SUCH silly mistakes that could have easily been fixed if someone had done their research properly or had someone who actually speaks French revise their work. (I mean heures spelled h-e-u-r-s? Seriously?)
Profile Image for shannon✨.
917 reviews41 followers
September 5, 2018
This was such a great story about backpacking, and I definitely liked the plot. It was fun to read about travelling through Europe when you live in Europe yourself. The things that I didn't really like were the clichés, and Leela's behaviour. Leela was so egocentric sometimes, it was just so annoying at some points.
Profile Image for Anatea Oroz.
302 reviews515 followers
March 22, 2020
If you're like me and all you want to do is travel the world and you have this epic dose of Wanderlust, this book will be a perfect read for you!

Backpacking Europe is on a to-do list of - I'm pretty sure - 99% of the people. I mean who doesn't want to spend a summer in Europe?! I am lucky enough to live in Europe so I travel all around, all the time (See my Instagram), but Sydney and Leela only have one summer to do it. To spend a month traveling around Europe, where they visit some of the most amazing cities, meet amazing people and have lots of fun.

This book describes backpacking so well. I really enjoyed following Sydney's adventures. Maybe this way of traveling won't be appealing for some, but this is how it really is. You will meet the most random people from all around the world. You will meet the hot guys you'll want to hook up with. You will make the most spontaneous plans and will probably go with the flow. You will be disappointed in some places and you'll be in love with other.

I definitely recommend this book for all the travel-loving people!

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Profile Image for Stacey (prettybooks).
509 reviews1,550 followers
August 25, 2017
Yesssss. I am loving all the summery travel stories that 2017 has thrown at us. I went from accepting that I'll never get to go on holiday to constantly thinking about my next trip, even taking my first solo holiday this year. In The Girl's Guide to Summer (titled I See London, I See France in the US), 19-year-old best friends Sydney and Leela are off on a once-in-a-lifetime European adventure, visiting England, France, Italy, Switzerland, just to name a few.

I live in Europe, but I've never been on an interrailing adventure. I've never even considered it. In The Girl's Guide... the two friends have it all planned out... until spontaneity takes hold and the girls jump from train to train, heading to another country when the moment takes them. (Come to think of it, it seems like the perfect road trip for someone who gets car sick...). I particularly loved experiencing London through Sydney and Leela's eyes (and may have shouted at them a few times when they forgot to get travel money and didn't check when they could check into a hostel. *headdesk*). I also enjoyed reading about the places I've never been to.

With such freedom – and only a few weeks – comes exhaustion and drama. I constantly feared for Leena and Sydney's friendship! Ex-boyfriends, new boyfriends, tense friendships... The Girl's Guide to Summer has it all.

I also reviewed this book over on Pretty Books.
Profile Image for Naima ✩.
253 reviews152 followers
April 21, 2018
Wow. I deserve a pat on the back for finishing this. There is no milder way to put it but this was just horrible. So so bad guys.

You might think by looking at the cover that it must be a cute and fun young adult read but the synopsis and that cover is so misleading. The only thing that was young adult-ish about it was that the characters were teenagers. And ALSO maybe the writing??? It was way too juvenile and simple and bland. Sometimes, I would think that I’m reading a middle grade novel but then everyone would start talking about hooking up, sex, penises (basically what 90% of the book is about) They went to a sex show, smoked pot, you get the gist. So, more towards the new adult side, don’t you think??

Okay, let’s get down to business. All the things I disliked about I see London, I see France.

The characters

1. Leela: the best friend. I HATED HER SO FUCKING MUCH. She was a real bitch. Literally. She was so annoying and whiny and shallow and selfish and I could not stand her. First, she was the one who wanted to go to Europe in the first place with her boyfriend but then he cheated on her so she asked Sydney to go with her. So it was her idea, but then she does not do a single thing. She doesn’t book any hostels, doesn’t plan where she wants to go and dumps everything on Sydney and complains when something is not to her liking. Like???? Fuck off. And then she changes her mind so many times about where she wants to go and just expects Sydney to go along with whatever she says!!!
First, ’my boyfriend who cheated on me is back and he showed up for me and I’m back with him and he asked me to come to Amsterdam so lets ditch Paris and go to Amsterdam.’
Then, ‘Matt (the previously mentioned boyfriend) wants to have an open relationship and I can’t believe him and I hate him so I can’t go to Paris because it’s the city of love so lets go somewhere else.’
Then again, ’I don’t want to go to Barcelona. IT IS TOO HOT. I want to go somewhere cold like Switzerland.’
But then they meet some Aussies in Switzerland who invite them to the South of France and say don’t you want to go to the beach and suddenly she’s okay with the hot weather and ready to go because some guys invited her. BITCH, YOU SHOULD HAVE PLANNED YOUR OWN TRIP THEN. AND STOP CHANGING YOUR PLANS SO SUDDENLY AND NOT THINKING ABOUT YOUR FRIEND. Also, she knew what Matt was like but she still got back with him and then when he did something stupid she starts crying and whining. Literally all she did was complain about Matt or try to make Matt jealous. And she’s so contradicting. I’m gonna quote her here. First she says to Sydney about Jackson (Matt’s best friend), ”But he seems like the perfect guy for you to have a summer fling with, don’t you think?” and then when things got bad with Matt and Sydney and Jackson had actually hit it off, she goes: “Then it’s a good thing I stopped it. You don’t want to be another notch in his belt, do you?” bish what???? Anyway, I’ll stop about Leela now because otherwise I would go on and on and this review is already long enough.
2. Moving on to Sydney what a fucking doormat. Seriously! She needed to grow a backbone and stand upto Leela. All she thought about during the trip was oh no, I can’t do this. Leela won’t be happy. Oh no, I can’t kiss this guy because Leela just broke up with Matt and she’ll be upset. seriously woman?? She wasn’t being nice, she was at a point where all she was, was a pushover.
3. Kat: I think Kat’s the only person I liked a tiny bit. Actually, more than anyone else. But she wasn’t a person you’d remember after a few days either.
4. Matt and Jackson: honestly? I didn’t like them and that’s all I have to say. I am just neutral. Whatever they did, I was like ehhh.

Now the romance

It was freaking insta love guys. And. It. Sucked. So. Bad. Okay, I’ll admit that sometimes insta love is okay. But here. There was nothing between Sydney and Jackson. I didn’t feel anything. I was just disconnected. There was no CHEMISTRY. Zilch. They meet. Sydney thinks: wow he’s hot. They hook up. And then they can’t stop thinking about each other. Please. Just stop.

In the beginning, when the mental illness aspect was mentioned, I was excited. Sydney’s mom has agoraphobia and Sydney has always taken care of her. I would have liked to know more but all we heard was Sydney complaining about how she’s been there for her all her life so why can’t her sister take care of her for a month. And then getting upset when she starts getting better. That too though??? I don’t know, but it seemed way too easy.

Also, the times the word man whore was mentioned in this book is absurd. I got tired pretty quickly.

By the end, I was just done. There was no good substance, the travel writing wasn’t even decent. I mean, it’s been my dream to go traveling with my best friend. We’ve actually talked a lot about it. Reading this should have been fun but it was only disappointing.

I think the only good thing was that Sydney liked reading and a lot of good ya books were mentioned in here and they got me excited but otherwise? Nope. Nothing. Nada.

My advice to you: please don’t read this book unless you’re in the mood to torture yourself.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for starryeyedjen.
1,640 reviews1,230 followers
November 14, 2017
If you like a book with a definitive happily ever after, this is not the book for you. Most of the time, I'm okay with that, but considering Sydney's trip and the implications of her summer romance, I need some sort of closure. More than a few words in a text, at any rate. Beyond that, this book was fun. I've always wanted to backpack across Europe, and though I could have used way more description, it kind of felt like I was on said trip. And some of Syd's travel tips just might come in handy if I ever do get to make this trip one day.
Profile Image for Catfairy Books.
97 reviews32 followers
July 18, 2017
Catfairy’s First Thoughts

Sarah Mlynowski is an author I have heard about through the Whatever After children’s series and when I found out she was writing a book about two best friends that go on an insane European adventure I just had to pick it up!

One of the first things I love about this book is the title of the book and the cover! The overall representation of the book just sucked me into my own little book vortex and I just had to gobble it up asap! The writing of this book is light and fluffy without a lot of descriptions.

“Coffee shops in Amsterdam do NOT sell coffee. They sell pot. So. Much. Pot.”

-Sarah Mlynowski

Mlynowski’s book was chock full of many crazy moments that I enjoyed with their visits to the “coffee shops” in Amsterdam, sex shows, (Yes sex shows.), the crazy run in’s with Leela’s ex-boyfriend, and running around topless in the South of France! Now you might think that this book is a bit risqué based on the sex show and the running around topless part but it couldn’t be further from the truth! The way that Mlynowski describes all the shenanigans that Sydney and Leela get into is all in good fun that will just make you laugh out loud!

When I picked up this book I was excited about it because of the traveling around Europe part and anybody that knows me know that I am obsessed with all things Europe! Even though I love the European trip aspect, the characters didn’t grab my attention in the story. I left not caring so much about the characters once I was done reading the story. Usually, when I finish reading a story that I love, I usually get attached to the characters and I just want to have them be a part of my world! But Sydney and Leela just left a bland taste in my mouth in the end.


The book starts with Sydney who goes to college and takes care of her mom who suffers from acrophobia and she lives with her younger sister who has a stuttering problem.

Her best friend Leela originally planned a trip around Europe with Sydney who is her best friend but Sydney feels guilty leaving her mom who suffers from the mental illness agoraphobia. Instead, Leela decided to go with her (asshole) boyfriend Matt.

When Leela and Matt break up, she convinces Sydney to jump on this once in a lifetime opportunity and they go on a whirlwind trip all around Europe.

They go to London…

“Chips are French fries, by the way. And please, for the love of Prince Harry, don’t be a tourist and ask for ketchup.”


They go to Florence and Venice…

“Do you think there are water Ubers?”


They literally go almost everywhere around Europe from Amsterdam, Belgium, Paris, Switzerland, Juan-Les-Pins, Monaco, and Greece! I was so jelly and I would have gladly kicked off Leela and gladly taken her place on this amazing adventure! (More about Leela in a min!)

Meet Sydney played by Maia Mitchell

Sydney is a 19-year old girl that is just trying to do right by her family by taking care of her divorced mother who suffers from agoraphobia. She is described as a goody two shoes kind of girl who has a passion for reading in the beginning but throughout the story, you see that she has a bit of a wild side especially when she falls for Leela’s ex-boyfriend friend Jackson.

Sydney is a natural caretaker and a nurturer because of her mom and because of this she is always there to take to pick up the pieces for her best friend Leela. Although her nurturing side gets used and abused by Leela and there were many times where Sydney was made out to be a pushover.

Throughout the story, I didn’t particularly care for Sydney until she finally stood up for herself and she told off Leela!

Meet Leela played by Alia Bhatt

Leela is described as Indian which is bonus points for diversity in Mlynowski’s novel and she is described as someone who always wants everything to be done for her. Leela is also an extremely needy person and can’t seem to get over her asshole of an ex Matt who cheated on her twice right in front of her!

Leela was the character that infuriated me the most because she kept taking advantage of Sydney’s good nature based on her mood and emotions. When Leela decides to get back with her ex-boyfriend Matt she basically ditched Sydney and when she has to break up with Matt a second time she wants Sydney to be miserable along with her when they are in FREAKING EUROPE! NO WAY JOSE! I felt that Leela is a manipulative and selfish person who only cares about herself and Sydney should have dumped her butt somewhere in Europe a long time ago!

Meet Kat played by Serena van der Woodson

Even though Kat was a minor character in the story she was one of my favorite characters in the book! She made everything light and fun and she always made Sydney smile when Leela was being LEELA! Kat also became good friends with Sydney and this made Leela crazy jealous and possessive like a typical Blair and Serena relationship…

Kat is described as a New Yorker that comes from money and is always partying it up whenever she has the opportunity! If that isn’t your classic Gossip Girl Serena van der Woodson, I don’t know what is!

Catfairy’s Final Thoughts

Sarah Mlynowski has a way of telling a great story and I was along for the ride! She made a fun and accessible read overall. Also, I enjoyed the parts where she added the tips that Sydney learned from each country that she traveled. Mlynowski also had Sydney be the narrator in the story but it felt like it was written as a voiceover and it reminded of something out of the Wonder Years…

When Mlynowski had Sydney play the narrator the writing of it felt out of place and awkward at times…

Even though I loved the story I felt that there needed to be more character development and in the end, the characters fell very flat for me. I felt that there were so many things lacking with the characters and I just wanted more from them. I See London, I See France will teach you to let go, have fun, grab your best friend, and have a crazy adventure before it’s too late! This story gets three stinky slices of cheese in Europe out of five for me!

Please read this book review on my blog www.livinginayadream.com! There you can see my gifs, pictures, and my special playlist on Spotify for I See London, I See France! There is a giveaway on my blog right now! Read my blog post to find out the details! www.livinginayadream.com
Profile Image for Princessofbookaholics.
202 reviews42 followers
August 31, 2017

This review is also on my blog https://princessofbookaholics.wordpre...

About: Sydney is spending the summer traveling around Europe with her best friend Leela. They have everything planned out but their plans detour a little as they meet Leela’s ex and his friend and all goes haywire. The places they see and the things they do are all described in this book.

Characters: The book is told by Sydney’s POV. I love Leela though she’s a bit disregardful of Sydney sometimes. Sydney is a total sucker for planning and travelling and she plans everything for the two of them. They go on and meet a few Australians whom they befriend and they too seem like fun people. All in all the characters in this book were perfectly described and I had a lot of fun travelling with them. (Uh-huh yes it felt just as if I was travelling with them which made the book all the more fun to read.)

Feelings: I felt the need to travel to Europe! It is so beautifully described and anyway Paris has always been my dream destination so I’m definitely going there one day!

Recommendation: YES EVERYONE SHOULD READ THIS BOOK! Not only the travelers, but even non-travelers are going to enjoy this book. It is so awesome and I loved everything about it.

Favourite Quote:

“I’m seriously, no joke, actually doing this. I am traveling around Europe with my
best friend for four and a half weeks. Holy crap.”

I only chose this quote because I really, really want to say that about myself one day!

Rating: 5/5 stars.
Profile Image for Yusra ❥.
254 reviews
July 15, 2020
DNF 60%


Okay my heart hurts on how much I dislike this book I tried to stick it out but I just can’t. I want to start with a major issue that I found and work my way down. I really wanted to like this, since I’ve read and loved maybe fifteen books from this author.

So the major issue I had with this book was that it made around three seperate terrorist jokes (keep in mind this was published in 2017) one example:

*they are in Paris this girl is interning from NYC*

“Your not nervous?” Leila asks “About”- she lowers her voice -“terrorists?”
“I’m from NYC I feel just as safe here as I do there,” Kat says
“So not safe at all,”

Yep real convo in the book and it was just plain racist. Do I make you feel unsafe?

Other than that this book had such intense girl hate, b***h was used frequently, they didn’t want to ask girls for help etc etc. Another weird thing is girls were described very preciously and men were just called hot? Like I don’t know the love interests hair colour but know what a lipstick shade every girl in the room is wearing.

ANOTHER complaint this was targeted as YA this book is NOT appropriate for 12 year old, sex and drugs are more than common themes but plot points. The writing was terrible and juvenile but not in a cute way but in a weird way. This was a travel novel and it just seemed like she knew basic knowledge about each country, like she did a quick search looked at the images and said yep.

In conclusion if I could unread any book it would be this book.

Profile Image for Crystal.
488 reviews30 followers
July 23, 2017
Im freeee!!! I did it i finished this book i really was gnna give up lol but i did it! There was so much about this book i didnt like. First of hated Leela so whinny and wanted to babyed and wanted everything to change just cause she said so. Hated Matt the douchiest of exs. Annoyed as hell by Sydney i did not feel at all bad for her like seriously. The only one I actually found tolerable and didnt wanna rip out my hair was Kat. Also the romance with Sydney and Jackson was not even insta love it was more like insta lust i guess but like juvenille not adulty. Idk if that made sense but seriously this doesnt happen in real life you dont see an attractive person and be like omg hes so hott i must have sex with him like um no its called actually developing their relationship either as friends first or at least letting them get to know each other first like damn. Also just telling one fact about your life doesnt mean it you automatically know the person and is okay to jump their bones -_-. Anyway this is the second disappointing book ive read this year...le sigh so glad i didnt pay for this book cause i would have been pissed lol
Profile Image for Jen.
1,071 reviews92 followers
December 23, 2016
If Anna and the French Kiss and Just One Day had a baby, it would look a lot like this book. But with less angst and more laughs.

Sydney is nineteen, has just finished her first year of college, and is traveling through Europe on a last-minute trip with her childhood BFF Leela. She struggles to balance her need for a break from life and worrying about her mother and sister back home. Leela is no walk in the park either. Seriously, girlfriend is a Drama Queen with a capital D. Even fictional me wanted to lose her (accidentally on purpose) several times along the way.

I enjoyed seeing Sydney's growth from beginning to end, and even if I didn't agree with some of the choices she made, I understood why she was making them. I do wish we'd gotten a glimpse about what happens after the summer is over though. (For Jackson reasons.)

Sarah's books never disappoint me and I'm looking forward to what comes next!
Profile Image for Fleurine.
93 reviews74 followers
February 24, 2018
3,5 ster.
Het idee is erg leuk alleen waren er veel punten waardoor ik het boek niet uit wilde lezen. Stereotypering, vooroordelen, standaard dingen doen in de landen en Leela die ik wel kon verbranden. Daarnaast werd het wel leuker op ten duur. Oke deze recensie is niet zo enthousiast maar het is echt zo’n chaos boek en ik heb gemengde gevoelens. Wel zin om te reizen nu though.
Profile Image for Sail ♛ A Wicked Reader.
236 reviews86 followers
February 12, 2018
Contemporaries usually aren't my cup of tea but I decided to pick this one up because the plot sounded too fun to pass up. And the plot was probably my favorite thing about the entire novel. Basically it boils down to this: Sydney has been best friends with Leela her whole life, but now they're in colleges in two different countries and never see each other anymore. So for the summer they decide to go on a backpacking trip through Europe in order to rekindle their friendship. Unfortunately for Leela, her ex-boyfriend and his friend happen to be on the same trip as them. Fortunately for Sydney, the friend is extremely attractive. But Sydney struggles to have fun while worrying about leaving her mom to deal with her agoraphobia and anxiety alone.

I especially loved how big of a part the setting played in the story. It actually went into detail about places, attractions, and things to do in each city that they visited. So that appeared to be very well researched by the author and I appreciated it. And as someone who has anxiety and panic attacks myself, I loved the mental health representation as well. I might not have liked how it was dealt with, but I still enjoyed it. And I liked how the characters were in college instead of high school because I'm sick of reading about high school students lol.

However, there were quite a bit of things that I found extremely lacking, and the characters themselves fall into this category. They just all seemed very immature any annoying. Sydney was a pushover. Leela was a big selfish baby. The only one that I even somewhat liked was Kat, and she was only a side character. But another thing that annoyed me was that this is listed as young adult but it seemed more like new adult content to me. I just wasn't expecting the characters in a young adult novel to go see a sex show..so yeah.

Characters - 12/20
Plot line - 15/16
Originality - 12/16
Writing Style - 12/16
Pace - 14/16
Ending - 9/16
3/5 stars

I'd recommend this to contemporary fans looking for something a little different.
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