Series?: First of a trilogy
Pages: 329 (eARC)
Release Date: June 12, 2012 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Source: Netgalley for review, thank you!
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! ...GoodreadsReview
Violet is shocked when she sees a museum painting of a girl that could be her twin. It's centuries old, and originated in Italy. This sparks her curiosity and has her questioning her origins; why she looks nothing like her tall, pale, supermodel Norwegian mother or Scottish father. Violet's positive her mother would've told her if she were adopted, so to uncover any answers for herself, she enrols in a summer course in Italy and finds herself immersed in the culture, a mystery, and boys of course!
Flirting in Italian can definitely be classified as a fun read. It takes place in the summer, in a foreign country, there's mystery and intrigue and plenty of cute boys and catty girls. The first thing I loved was the setting. I've only dreamed of going to Italy but I felt that Henderson captured its beauty perfectly. From the winding cobblestone roads, the olive groves and lemon trees, the warm breezes and late nights, I could see the countryside in my mind and I loved it. Along with the atmosphere, I really liked the mystery element of the plot. Violet's trying to find out more about this painting and her search leads her to the Castello di Vesperi in Tuscany, a castle that houses the royal family. She encounters some weird stuff when she visits the castle, but more on that in a minute.
I also came to like the characters as well. In the course with Violet are Kelly, another British girl, awkward but sweet, and the American girls, Paige, stereotypical tall blonde, and Kendra, the poised and proper rich girl. They don't have the best meeting initially, but the quartet eventually begin bonding and getting to know each other. Though there is a thread of competition that runs through them, they're a united front when it comes to dealing with the snobby daughter of their host, Elisa. And Violet was an awesome protagonist. Henderson herself is English so she captured the snark, slang and general hilarity that always seems to be present with the Brits. They are fun!
Then there's the boys. The one we're interested in is Luca, the local principe, prince. He's tall, dark, devastatingly handsome and arrogant as hell. Well dressed, poised and unafraid to go after what he wants, Violet is both and infuriated and enraptured by him. They were a confusing duo, and while they were certainly amusing, I felt their actions were firstly accounted for by lust and maybe a little bit of curiosity and excitement. I do look forward to them (hopefully) getting to know each other better.
My one main gripe about Flirting in Italian was the mystery and ending. First, the mystery, or lack thereof. I initially thought this was a standalone book, so as I was reading about Violet and the girls learning how to arrange flowers, or more likely, going out with the boys to party, I was wondering how Violet was going to learn more about this mysterious painting because she wasn't doing anything! I was definitely hoping for more proactive investigating on her part. Then the book just ends and I'm left with a giant question mark and title for book two: Following in Love in Italian, which I seriously hope is a typo because it just sounds awkward and doesn't really make sense.
If you're a fan of fun, summer reads with some mystery thrown in, Flirting in Italian is a good book to read. The atmosphere of Italy was fantastic and the characters were entertaining. Though the abrupt ending wasn't what I expected or was hoping for, I'm curious to see how the rest of Violet's summer turns out and what she learns about the di Vesperi family and how she may be connected to them.