{Review/Giveaway} WISH YOU WERE ITALIAN by Kristin Rae

The First Loves Blog Tour is hosted by Bloomsbury and features YA authors: 
Jillian Cantor, Mandy Hubbard, Lindsey Leavitt, Emery Lord, and Kristin Rae.
Blog Tour Schedule

Addicted Readers  Q&A 5/6
Anna Reads  Q&A 5/7
Fic Fare  Q&A 5/8
Andi's ABCs  Q&A 5/9
GReads  Q&A 5/12
Bookish  Q&A 5/13
Yadultreview  Q&A 5/14
Gone Pecan  Q&A 5/15
A Backwards Story  Q&A 5/16
Dear Teen Me: Emery    5/19
Dear Teen Me: Lindsey 5/20
Dear Teen Me: Kristin    5/21
Dear Teen Me: Jillian      5/22
Dear Teen Me: Mandy  5/23
UK: Fiction Fascination   (Fool Me Twice) 5/26
UK: Book Passion for Life (Wish You Were Italian) 5/27
UK: is Bloggers[heart]Books (Searching for Sky) 5/28
AUS: Behind the Pages   (Searching for Sky) 5/28
AUS: Fictional Thoughts (Wish You Were Italian) 5/29
AUS: She Known As Jess (Fool Me Twice) 5/30

I'm not on tour yet, but I figured it would be fun to review all of the books being featured during Bloomsbury's First Loves Tour this week and next!

Check back on Friday for a great interview where I ask all five authors a burning wisdom about first love! 

In addition to the following review, 
I'm also giving away a book of your choice! 

You can choose from:

SEARCHING FOR SKY by Jillian Cantor
FOOL ME TWICE by Mandy Hubbard
THE CHAPEL WARS by Lindsey Leavitt

O P E N I N G   H O O K:

    By yourself. 
    Outside the terminal window, the plane that will take me to my connection in Newark taxis up to the gate. Thirty minutes until they board first class. As if a big reclining seat and hot towels could make me forgive Mom any faster.

(Page 1,  US ARC Edition)

This spring, Bloomsbury has launched a new line for tweens and teens entitled If Only. So far, both books have been light and breezy, a quick read perfect for the beach. They're also great for younger teens as well as older ones. I used to love "series" like this consisting of standalone novels by various authors when I was growing up. It's nice to see that they still exist for a new generation!

The last thing Pippa wants to do is go to Italy and spend the summer enrolled in a stuffy, boring classroom. This wasn't her choice. This wasn't what she wanted. Her mother forced her into it, and pressures her to enter into a career she has no interest in. When Pippa gets to Italy and finds a wad of "guilt money" that her dad slipped her way, she makes an instant decision: Rather than go to Florence and spend the summer in a classroom, she's going to travel around Italy and do whatever she wants. But she has to keep it a secret or her parents will flip. Her best friend Morgan gave her a travel journal, and one of Pippa's assignments is to make a bucketlist of ten goals to accomplish while in Italy. One goal is to fall in love with an Italian boy. Too bad the Italian Boy she's staying with is Trouble with a capital T. Too bad she keeps running into an American Boy everywhere...and may be developing feelings for him. As Pippa soaks up the culture and atmosphere of Italy, she finds herself making amazing new friends as she learns the truth that separates love from friendship.

This If Only title is my favorite of the two. There's something about traveling around a foreign country that really appeals to me. Italy is on my Top 5 list, too. I lived vicariously through Pippa! The fact that Pippa went to Italy against her will and still managed to fall in love with the country reminded me of the way Anna from ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS by Stephanie Perkins was shipped to France against her will...and that's one of my favorite contemporary novels, so any nod is a good nod. Granted, parts of the novel were completely unbelievable. Readers will have to hold their suspension of belief in order to enjoy the book. Let it roll, and go where it takes you. This is a wish fulfillment novel, because who doesn't want to spend the summer in a foreign country doing as they please? Plus, Pippa is a very, very lucky girl. She could have had so many things go horribly wrong for her due to her impulsive decision. Instead, luck is completely on her side. She finds this awesome Italian girl to spend the summer with (So she doesn't run out of food/money/etc, plus, BONUS, she gets to be fully immersed in a way most tourists don't. There is a difference between living somewhere and visiting.)  There's also a serious undercurrent running through the novel, especially in the back-half as everything comes to a head. It's not all frills and lightness, though there is a lot of that. But I find that I don't mind, because Pippa's journey makes me want to hop on a plane and go to Italy right now.

While the situations can be a little unbelievable, these are wish fulfillment novels and they excel at making dreams reality. Yesterday I reviewed the first novel in the line, FOOL ME TWICE by Mandy Hubbard. The third novel in the collection, NOT IN THE SCRIPT by Amy Finnegan, comes out October 7th.

Excuse me now while I go into the fridge and dig out the tiramisu gelato I just bought. I suddenly have a craving for something Italian!


Content Ratings: highlight between ( ) for details

Romance: mild ( kissing )
Language: none
Violence: mild ( innuendo from a shady minor character who may be dealing drugs )

This is a new system I'm trying out, since I never know how to bring up the fact that younger readers may not be ready for a book without talking about the reasons WHY. This makes it harder to accidentally stumble on that information.

What are your thoughts? Keep it/Alter it/Get rid of it? 
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

At first, I wasn't overly impressed, but it's grown on me.  So far, the design treatment is consistent across the series, real people and scribbled backgrounds. The contrast between the two will stand out on the shelf alongside other contemporaries.

The colors really pop on this one. Well, to me. Purple, silver/gray, blue, and green are my favorite colors. And they are all here on this cover! Although I don't like pink much. But this tone works! 

The actions of the main characters on this cover don't resemble story elements the way the first book in the series did, but it's fun and light and breezy, and readers looking for such a story will flock to this.

I also think it's fun that the same baby blue color is on both books. Just because it's fun.
O F F I C I A   I N F O:

Author: Kristin Rae
Release Date: May 6, 2014
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Pippa has always wanted to go to Italy … but not by herself. And certainly not to sit in art school the entire summer learning about dead guys’ paintings. When she steps off the plane in Rome, she realizes that traveling solo gives her the freedom to do whatever she wants. So it’s arrivederci, boring art program and ciao, hot Italian guys!  

Charming, daring, and romantic, Bruno is just the Italian Pippa’s looking for—except she keeps running into cute American archeology student Darren everywhere she goes. Pippa may be determined to fall in love with an Italian guy … but the electricity she feels with Darren says her heart might have other plans. Can Pippa figure out her feelings before her parents discover she left the program and—even worse—she loses her chance at love?

Kristin Rae is a...

Lover of books, music, chocolate, and crafty things. YA writer represented by Marietta Zacker of the Nancy Gallt Literary Agency.

Author Links:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram


Ready to check out

Enter to win your own copy now!

I'm giving away a Bloomsbury First Loves book of your choice this month! 

(New entries added with each post!)

INT if Book Depository ships to you! 
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  1. England. I can speak the language.

  2. Hello! I just found your blog really love it so thought I’d follow you. It’d be great if you followed me back on blogger. I love to hear from my followers :)
    Looking forward to reading more of your posts! Much love xx


  3. What country would you most like to visit?

    I'd love to visit all the US and UK. Plus I fell in love with Italy a while back, so probably I'd go to Italy, too. And this last place has a bonus for me, 'cause I love ALL Italian food ;)

  4. Romania or Maybe one of those Scandinavian ones or Ireland or Scotland!

  5. I have a thing for France, so I'd definitely want to go there, or maybe England since I'd at least be able to understand the people, or perhaps Finland (I have Finnish ancestry).

  6. UK and Australia, I have relatives there! :)

  7. At the moment, Peru 'cause I'm dying to visit Machu Picchu or Angkor Wat in Cambodia for the same reason. :)


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