I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.I See London, I See France (I See London, I See France, #1) by Sarah Mlynowski
Published by HarperTeen on July 11th 2017
Genres: YA Contemporary, YA Romance
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I see London, I see FranceI 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.
In this hilarious and unforgettable adventure, New York Times bestselling author Sarah Mlynowski tells the story of a girl learning to navigate secret romances, thorny relationships, and the London Tube. 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.
Catfairy’s Mix Tape
When I first went to Paris and Italy all I could listen to was the Marie Antoinette soundtrack from the Sofia Coppola movie (Who is a genius btw.). So here is a mix of some songs from the Marie Antoinette movie and some other songs that remind me of Sydney and Leela’s summer craziness in Europe!
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.”
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!
Now tell me if you can go anywhere in Europe where would you go? This is a sweepstakes giveaway! The winner will be chosen at random! The winner will be announced officially on July 20th! Answer this question and you will win the author signed arc paperback copy of Sarah Mlynowski’s I See London, I See France! Only lower 48 states apply.
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