If you’re yearning for a trip across Europe, but can’t go — or, even if you can — I urge you to live vicariously through Syd and Leela in I See London, I See France.
Best friends Syd and Leela end up going on a last-minute trip to Europe, thanks to Leela’s boyfriend cheating on her. Syd rakes together enough cash to take his place on the trip, and everything is going smoothly… until Syd sees Leela’s ex-boyfriend on the plane. With his “man-whore” friend.
That’s all I’ll give away, cross my heart! You need to read the book yourself to get any more plot details from me.
Mlynowski’s writing seems effortless, almost like you’re along for the trip. There’s so much detail, but Mlynowski includes it all without over-writing the settings or characters. And, speaking of the characters: If Leela and Matt are real enough that I was thoroughly annoyed with them, then they’re well-written. I was rolling my eyes and getting frustrated right alongside Syd.
Oh, and also, Jackson. Can I have one? Or five? I think I have a new book boyfriend, and damn, is he different from my usual fae fantasy ones.
Speaking of which, I feel like it’s a little important to note that I’m a fantasy lover. I pretty much exclusively read YA fantasy books, and haven’t ever really loved contemporary in general. But I loved this book.
Every adjective I could use to describe I See London, I See France doesn’t seem to do it justice. It’s lighthearted, but substantial. It’s cute, but it isn’t unrealistic or too cutesy. It’s romantic, but at its core it’s a story about friendship and travel.
It’s a book that made my summer better for its existence. Mlynowski did her research — I felt like I was on that vacation. I felt like I would always have Amsterdam, too. I felt better about my boring summer after reading about Syd’s.
The characters are as vivid as the setting — these 19-year-olds and 20-somethings grow throughout the book, and made me wish for a crazy group of Aussies to pull me out of my comfort zone. As much as Leela annoyed me throughout the book, she does grow and learn from her mistakes. Kat made me wish I could pluck her out of the book, fully formed, to be my best friend. Syd is remarkably similar to me, so I identified with her quite a bit — which made my reading experience all the better, though I think even readers who don’t completely identify with her would enjoy I See London, I See France.
Overall, I highly recommend this book to anyone. Go forth and read.