Author: Lauren Henderson
Series: Flirting in Italian #1
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Date: June 12, 2012
Source: For Review
Four girls. One magical, and possibly dangerous Italian summer. Family mysteries, ancient castles, long hot nights of dancing under the stars . . . and, of course, plenty of gorgeous Italian boys!
Flirting in Italian had several elements that were bound to create an awesome story: mystery, Italy, summer vacation, and lots of promises of romance. How I was not amazed with the end result of all of these awesome ingredients is truly outstanding. While Flirting in Italian has all of the right concepts, each one felt half-developed, leaving us with a somewhat fizzling story.
The story begins with Violet finding an old painting of a woman that looks exactly like her. Spurred on by such an odd coincidence and the fact that she looks like absolutely nothing like either of her parents, Violet tracks the painting’s origin down to Italy and finds a summer program in the area that her mom agrees to let her attend. One would assume that since this burning desire to find out more about the painting spurred Violet’s summer vacation in Italy and she has a deep-seeded need to know why she doesn’t look like the rest of her family, the mystery of the painting would consume most of Violet’s time—it does not.
What does consume Violet’s time is partying, a rivalry with another girl, and a boy named Luca. I love romance—but letting a boy distract you from the sole purpose of your Italian vacation? Not cool. Letting a boy who has shown little interest in you, is hot and cold, and somewhat rude distract you from your entire reason of being in Italy? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I cannot stand characters who don’t have the self-respect to do away with someone who treats them poorly—especially when it starts in the very beginning of the relationship. No, I favor strong female characters, which Violet is decidedly not.
Even though Flirting in Italian has a promising premise, each aspect of the story is half-baked. The mystery is ditched in favor of the romance. The romance is luke-warm and Lucca appears to have no genuine interest in Violet. I suppose the summer in Italy is done relatively well—but this is hardly enough to make a story. Just as things start to get interesting, the novel comes to a predictable, albeit abrupt halt. Even though Flirting in Italian was not my favorite, I will be checking out Falling in Love in Italian because Flirting in Italian didn’t really feel like it had a finished ending. The ending, like the rest of the novel, appears to be half-done, and I will need to pick up the sequel in order to have some semblance of closure.