Review: One Paris Summer by Denise Grover Swank

Book Blurb

Most teens dream of visiting the City of Lights, but it feels more like a nightmare for Sophie Brooks. She and her brother are sent to Paris to spend the summer with their father, who left home a year ago without any explanation. As if his sudden abandonment weren't betrayal enough, he's about to remarry, and they’re expected to play nice with his soon-to-be wife and stepdaughter. The stepdaughter, Camille, agrees to show them around the city, but she makes it clear that she will do everything in her power to make Sophie miserable.

Sophie could deal with all the pain and humiliation if only she could practice piano. Her dream is to become a pianist, and she was supposed to spend the summer preparing for a scholarship competition. Even though her father moved to Paris to pursue his own dream, he clearly doesn't support hers. His promise to provide her with a piano goes unfulfilled.

Still, no one is immune to Paris’s charm. After a few encounters with a gorgeous French boy, Sophie finds herself warming to the city, particularly when she discovers that he can help her practice piano. There’s just one hitch—he’s a friend of Camille’s, and Camille hates Sophie. While the summer Sophie dreaded promises to become best summer of her life, one person could ruin it all.

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Toot's Review by Stacy Sabala

Sophie and her brother Eric are spending the summer in Paris with their father.  He left their family ten months ago and is now marrying someone else.  Neither Sophie nor Eric want to be there.  They are both angry with their father.  Once they get there, Eric seems to be settling in but Sophie is stuck with Camille, her new step sister.  Camille does everything she can to mock Sophie and exclude her.  She even goes after Sophie’s crush, Dane, when he arrives. 
Sophie needs a piano to play to get through her summer.  It is her escape and part of the deal her mom made with her dad.  When Eva only provides an electric keyboard, Sophie is frustrated.  Then the strange boy she met outside the restaurant and the train platform offers the use of his. 
Sophie practices the piano like she needs, relaxes around Mathieu and starts learning French.  Things are looking up.  She is enjoying Paris plus she and Mathieu are growing closer.  So are she and her brother Eric.  Then Camille exacts her revenge and everything falls apart.
I liked this book.  You could feel how hurt Sophie and Eric were.  The author did a great job of setting the tone as the character arrived in Paris.  The interactions were awkward and Camille’s anger was tangible.  You feel sorry for Sophie immediately.  Camille is cruel and vicious.  She was a great character to hate.  You also feel for Sophie because it seems she doesn’t have anyone to side with her.  Her brother Eric does but gets annoyed with her first.

As the story progresses you watch her change and grow.  She becomes more independent and stands up for herself.  The ending is a surprise.  I wasn’t expecting it to happen like that.  Sophie’s heartbreak is hard to watch.  However she ends up being my favorite character.  I give this story a 4 out of 5.

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