My Super Sweet Sixteenth Centuryby Rachel Harris
On the precipice of her sixteenth birthday, the last thing lone wolf Cat Crawford wants is an extravagant gala thrown by her bubbly stepmother and well-meaning father. So even though Cat knows the family's trip to Florence, Italy, is a peace offering, she embraces the magical city and all it offers. But when her curiosity leads her to an unusual gypsy tent, she
On the precipice of her sixteenth birthday, the last thing lone wolf Cat Crawford wants is an extravagant gala thrown by her bubbly stepmother and well-meaning father. So even though Cat knows the family's trip to Florence, Italy, is a peace offering, she embraces the magical city and all it offers. But when her curiosity leads her to an unusual gypsy tent, she exits . . . right into Renaissance Firenze.Thrust into the sixteenth century armed with only a backpack full of contraband future items, Cat joins up with her ancestors, the sweet Alessandra and protective Cipriano, and soon falls for the gorgeous aspiring artist Lorenzo. But when the much-older Niccolo starts sniffing around, Cat realizes that an unwanted birthday party is nothing compared to an unwanted suitor full of creeptastic amore. Can she find her way back to modern times before her Italian adventure turns into an Italian forever?
From the Book
I bunch the soft fabric of the dress in my hand and then reach up to feel the ribbon in my hair. I lightly skim my hand over my chin and feel my lack of zit. I take in the costumes of the crowd, the stench of the animals, and the Italian I can now speak and understand. And suddenly it hits me.
Reyna pulled some gypsy mojo.
This must be one of those nifty twenty-four hour, ‘change your life’ magic scenarios like in the movies. That explanation is infinitely better than assuming I’ve lost my mind. My frantic tension melts away and a smile stretches across my face.
The growing crowd seems to notice my change in demeanor and begin shooting each other amused looks, but I no longer care. I was wrong earlier; Reyna is a psychic mind reader, because this is my exact daydream from earlier in the courtyard come to life.
The long red gown, the braided hair, the Italian merchant daughter, the time period. I am in Renaissance Florence!
Cane man clears his throat and points toward the carriage again. I glance at my surroundings with new eyes and suddenly remember Reyna’s words. It’s as if they float in the air around me. “Caterina, a great adventure is in store for you.”
There’s no way I’m letting this adventure pass me by without reveling in it. Gypsy’s orders. I mean, part of me wishes Dad could come along—he’d probably come back with killer ideas for a new historical or something—but an extra day without Jenna? Twenty-four whole hours of not feeling like I’m the third wheel in my own family? Sign me up for that kind of gypsy voodoo.
"This must be one of those nifty twenty-four hour, ‘change your life’ magic scenarios like in the movies. That explanation is infinitely better than assuming I’ve lost my mind. My frantic tension melts away and a smile stretches across my face." — from the book
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My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century
By Rachel Harris, Stacy Abrams
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2012 Rachel Harris
All rights reserved.
I concentrate on the monitor in front of me and scan through the in-flight entertainment, attempting to tune out Jenna. Like that's even possible. When my dad's bubbly fiancée gets this excited, I swear sometimes only dogs can hear her.
We've been on this plane for over six hours. I woke up less than an hour ago, cramped, cranky, and carb-deprived, and yet the woman insists on being perky. It's as if she were born with caffeine in her veins.
"Cat, do you know what this means?!?"
I quirk an eyebrow at Dad, but judging by his all-consuming interest in the newspaper, his stance of neutrality is in full effect. To tell you the truth, it's not his impartiality that hurts. It's knowing that by staying out of it, what he's really doing is taking her side.
And moving further away from mine.
I settle for a crappy rerun and decide to throw the evil step-witch-in-training a bone. I lean forward and look across the aisle, catching a glimpse of her flying fingers on her BlackBerry—thank goodness they have in-flight Wi-Fi, or she might've actually wanted to bond. "No, tell me, Jenna. What does it mean?"
"It means your party is practically a shoo-in for the show!"
My party. Right. As if anything about this is for me. If Jenna really cared about me, you'd think she'd have clued in to the fact that anything involving crowds, paparazzi, and scrutiny isn't exactly my thing. She refuses to grasp that while I might be a daughter of Hollywood, it doesn't mean I'm a product of it. If anything, this party is for her.
Jenna's too excited by her coup to notice my lack of reaction. She leans over Dad and gushes, "The buzz on this is absolutely unreal. Your party is going to be the biggest, flashiest event I've ever put together!"
I turn back to the television and pick up my headphones.
Unfortunately, that does nothing to deter her. "You can even sketch caricatures of the guests as they come in the door if you want." She flashes a brilliant smile, like she's doing me a huge favor. "Adds a fun, kitschy element to the whole thing, don't ya think?"
No, I don't think. I'm an artist, not a street performer.
She kisses Dad on the cheek, then rubs her thumb over the coral lipstick stain, and I watch him turn to mush. He's so whipped. "Order me a Diet Coke if the cart thingy comes by, 'kay?" Jenna says. "I'm off to brave the bathroom line!"
I shake my head as she haltingly maneuvers down the aisle and stumbles into a woman's lap. Jenna turns on her hundred-watt grin, tosses her poufy blond hair, and apologizes profusely. Then she plops herself on the woman's armrest, abandoning all thought of bathroom trips in lieu of getting better acquainted with her new bestie.
Whatever. At least her ADD works for me, I think as I slide into her vacated seat, lay my head against Dad's shoulder, and inhale the familiar scent of his spicy aftershave and Armani cologne. He wraps an arm around me, and I snuggle closer. It's quiet moments like this when I can imagine things are back to normal. Before he fell in love with someone completely wrong for him.
Dad kisses the top of my head. "Thank you."
I lift my head slightly, not willing to move out of his embrace just yet, and shoot him a puzzled look. "For?"
"For letting Jenna throw you a Sweet Sixteen. You may not believe it, but she has the best of intentions."
Sure she does. I glance forward to see her slap the armrest and let out a high-pitched squeal. The only intention Jenna has is having her event-planning business showcased on MTV. Date someone famous, get his daughter on television, and generate mad buzz for your business—not bad for nine months of work.
I glance back at Dad. Why can't he see how fake she is? It's like ever since she came into the picture, he's had blinders on, only seeing this giggly blond happy person—who is nothing like me.
"Jenna had one when she turned sixteen," he continues. "She said it was, and I quote, 'the highlight of her adolescent experience.' "
He rolls his eyes and grins, and the pressure in my chest lessens. He hasn't changed. We're still us, even with her around. Then his forehead wrinkles and he shifts uncomfortably, and that guilty look creeps back into his eyes.
Crap. Here it comes.
"Peanut, I know you're always trying to take care of me, but I'm the grown-up. And it's my job to look out for you. I want you to have at least one normal childhood experience."
I snort. "Normal. Right." With a teasing grin, I lean back a little and lift my eyebrows in disbelief. "Dad, I hate to break it to you, but we live in Beverly Hills. And while having your birthday party and private life broadcast around the world for entertainment purposes may be an unfortunate reality for media-obsessed brats, I don't think anyone would call that behavior normal."
Dad chuckles, and I gift him with a confident smirk. "Besides, when have we ever done anything like the rest of Hollywood?"
And the defense rests, I think, sitting back with a nod. Dad can't argue with that logic. If it weren't for our zip code and my fancy, overpriced education, you'd never know we had money. Although he's a well-known film director and has a handful of Golden Globes, Dad has this thing about "normalcy." I've never missed a day of school in my life, and he rarely takes on projects during the summer. That's time for family and vacations, but none of that "private jet to remote locations" stuff for the Crawfords. Nope, we go to good old Disney World and the beach, with the occasional stop at a film set in Canada to spice things up. We don't even have a maid or a cook.
Dad squeezes me tighter. "You're right, we're abnormal. But I still think it's a good idea." My head lolls against my seat, and he smiles. "It's a party; it'll be fun. Plus, I'm already doing a major suck-up job bringing you to Italy. Doesn't that earn me any negotiating cred?"
I have to admit, if everyone has a price, a trip to Florence would be mine. I've been obsessed with my Italian heritage—the only thing I accept from Mommy Dearest—and the Renaissance ever since I saw Bernard van Orley's Madonna and Child with Apples and Pears painting in fourth grade. Since then, I've inhaled every art book and novel on the time period or on Italy that I can find.
As bribes go, the trip is a good one.
Still, there's no way I can let Dad off the hook that easily. What he's asking of me is huge. Maybe things would be different if I were just a normal girl from the Mississippi countryside or the Cape Cod beachfront, or if people didn't take one look at me and assume they knew my whole life story. If I could just be me, Cat Crawford, without any expectations or preconceived notions, then maybe I'd be bonding with Jenna over napkin samples and color swatches right now. But that's not reality. So I shrug, affecting the confident, blasé image I've perfected for school and the media, and move back to my own seat.
I immediately reach in front of me for my backpack. Just holding it makes me feel better—more in control of my crazy life. I peruse the contents: my makeup kit and toiletry bag; my wallet, camera, iPod, and funkadelic purple iPhone; my art supplies and color-coded binder filled with tour packages and historical information; and finally, my reading material, including the copy of The Hunchback of Notre Dame I'm reading for English. I brought it to work on whenever I needed a Jenna break.
By the time this trip is over, I'll be a freaking Victor Hugo expert.
I pull out the book and zip my bag before leaning down to slide it back under the seat. As I sit up, I spot a familiar woman's face out of the corner of my eye and freeze. My hands slick with sweat. My heart pounds, and the roar of the jet engine beneath me intensifies.
It's just a picture, Cat, I tell myself. But it doesn't help.
Splashed across my seatmate's tabloid is a beautiful, smiling face and yet another jilted lover with the headline, CATERINA ANGELI DOES IT AGAIN.
"Another one bites the dust."
The words are out of my mouth before I can stop them. The owner of the tabloid takes a break from her engrossed reading to sneer at me, but then a hint of recognition dawns on her face. She quickly turns to compare the picture of my mother on her cover to the downgraded, non-airbrushed, soon-to-be-sixteen-year-old version next to her.
I want to sink into my seat and look away, pretend I have no clue why she's staring, but I can't. So I force myself to meet her gaze head-on with a confident smile. Casually, I turn back to my book, open it to the dog-eared page, and pretend to read. I feel the woman's eyes on me—watching, waiting for me to do something scandalous—and fight the urge to fluff my coffee-colored hair or gnaw off a nail.
Soon enough she'll stop looking at me, expecting to see my mother. She'll grow bored, go back to her gossipmonger ways, and forget all about me.
They always do.CHAPTER 2
Firenze. I look out my hotel room window and gaze at the rolling green Tuscan hills, the twisting Arno River, and the beautiful Ponte Vecchio. The world-famous Duomo, nestled amidst a sea of russet roof tiles, looks close enough to touch. I'm about as far away from Hollywood as I can get. I lean my head back, close my eyes, and breathe.
La vita è bella.
Lady Gaga interrupts my reverie, and I motorboat my lips. The chick may be a one- woman dynamo when it comes to style, and her songs are totally catchy, but my "Poker Face" ringtone doesn't exactly fit the tranquil setting I have going on. I crack an eye open, sigh, then trudge over to my phone.
"Buongiorno," I say in greeting.
Yeah, I'm all about the Italian.
"Is the room to your satisfaction, Signorina Crawford?"
I hear the smile in Dad's voice and grin in return. Holding my hands out wide, I spin in a circle. Thanks to his newly engaged status—and the guilt over the whole throwing-me-an-unwanted-Sweet-Sixteen bit—Dad abandoned his tightwad ways and splurged for adjoining suites. Our hotel is an honest-to-goodness, real-life Renaissance palace, complete with breathtaking frescoes covering the walls of my room.
I'd say it meets with my approval.
"Meh. It'll do."
Dad laughs. "Well, I'm glad to hear it. I'm sure you're settled in already." I look around, noting the dresser containing my clothes organized in perfect rows, the dry-cleaning bags hanging neatly in the closet, and the empty suitcases tucked out of the way on the top rack. He knows me well. "Jenna's itching to get going already, and I'm sure you are, too. How about we meet downstairs in, say, five minutes?"
My smile fades. I shoulder my backpack and grip the phone tighter. "Actually, Dad, I was hoping you'd let me explore on my own this morning. Before you say no, I've already looked into everything." The key here is to prove I've done my homework and that I'm a completely responsible human being. "There's a three-hour, English-speaking guided tour leaving from the Piazza Strozzi in about half an hour, and the concierge already gave me detailed directions. It's only a ten-minute walk from here."
My voice comes out calm and confidently level, despite my painfully scrunched-up face and death grip on the phone.
It's impossible to put into words how important this is to me. And it's not just because I need a break from Jenna, although I totally do. But coming to Italy and exploring my heritage, my only good connection to my mother, has been my dream since forever. I really need to ease into it on my own.
"By yourself, huh?" Dad pauses, and I hear Jenna talking in the background. He covers the phone, and I hold my breath. I walk over to the shiny gold wall sconce and trace the delicate curves, bouncing on my toes and moving my backpack to the other shoulder. Finally he gets back to me. "Jenna and I discussed it." He's big on presenting this united front, as if Jenna has an interest in my well-being or whatever. "And we agree you can go as long as you promise to meet us back here at two o'clock. That should give you plenty of time—"
"No problem!" I do a happy shimmy and kiss the foot of a cherub on my frescoed wall. "I'll be waiting in the lobby no later than quarter till two, I promise."
There's a pause on Dad's end, and I hear the muffled click of a door closing. "I know you need this, Caterina."
I stop gyrating and wait for the other shoe to drop. He only uses my full name when he's about to get mushy. Or when he wants something. But then, in exchange for an entire morning exploring Florence on my own, the man can have whatever he wants.
He clears his throat and continues in a lower voice, "When you come back, we'll grab lunch, go do some shopping, and then have a nice dinner together. As a family."
My eyes close, and I sink against the wall. As a family. The idea of giving me a close-knit family, like something out of one of his movies, has become an obsession with him. Dad and Jenna aren't even married yet, and he's already trying to cast Jenna and me into this perfect little mother-daughter scenario. I know my less-than-enthusiastic performance has been a disappointment, but I just can't help it. I don't trust her as far as I can throw her, and the fact that she seems so eager to be all buddy-buddy just makes me more suspicious. I already have a mother, and one sordid maternal relationship is more than enough.
But I still hate disappointing Dad.
I count to five and exhale a slow breath. "Deal." I hear his grateful sigh over the line and open my eyes, blinking repeatedly to stanch the flow of tears building and threatening to erupt. Why can't things just go back to the way they used to be? "Thanks for letting me do this, Dad. I love you."
"I love you, too, Caterina." His voice is soft and cracks a bit at the end. He coughs. "Now be safe, okay? You are going to have your cell phone with you, right?"
I pat away the tears, careful not to mess with my makeup, and straighten my shoulders. "You know it. Fully charged, with the extra battery pack ready to go. Please, did you really think I'd go anywhere without it?"
"Excuse me, what was I thinking?" Dad laughs, and my shoulders relax, letting go of some of my disappointing daughter guilt. "Go have fun, Peanut."
We hang up, and I kick into overdrive, straightening the rumpled comforter and running to check my appearance. While it's unlikely that paparazzi followed my family to Italy, the unfortunate truth is you just never know. They're like an infectious rash you can't get rid of.
When I glimpse my reflection in the gilded mirror, I cross my eyes and gag. The little flying I've done in the past has never agreed with my complexion, and today's excursion has proven to be no exception. With no time for the full palette of colors I always have on me, I grab my makeup bag from my backpack and pull out the essentials. Mascara for my skimpy lashes, eyeliner to rim my uninspired brown eyes, and concealer for the annoying zit that crept onto my chin overnight. Then I pump the wand of my coral lip gloss and coat the oversize mouth my mom is most noted for yet somehow looks completely wrong on my smaller face.
Sighing, I return my bag to my overstuffed backpack, knowing I can always do touch-ups later, then heave it onto my shoulder. The thing is heavier than the pancake makeup Jenna wears, but I really don't have time to rummage through it now—I'll barely get to the piazza in time as it is. After a cursory glance around the room, I grab my large, dark sunglasses and hotel key from the nightstand and book it down the curved staircase of the hotel.
On the bustling cobbled street, I sidestep a shiny candy apple–red Vespa and breathe in the scent of sunshine, espresso, and perfume. A smile breaks across my face—this is what I've been waiting for. It feels as though I'm walking onto one of Dad's movie sets and that none of this is actually real. Not the group of boys kicking a soccer ball in the alley or the bubbling fountain serving as a bench for some of the most beautiful people I've ever seen. Of course, they are competing with the surrounding American tourists in their wide array of T-shirts, white socks, and unflattering khaki shorts. Typical, cliché, and regrettably realistic. I stifle a laugh and pick up the pace, making it to the piazza with only two minutes to spare.
Excerpted from My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris, Stacy Abrams. Copyright © 2012 Rachel Harris. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Meet the Author
As a teen, Rachel Harris threw raging parties that shook her parents? walls and created embarrassing fodder for future YA novels. As an adult, she reads and writes obsessively, rehashes said embarrassing fodder, and dreams up characters who become her own grown up version of imaginary friends. When she's not typing furiously or flipping pages in an enthralling romance, you can find her homeschooling her two beautiful princesses, hanging out with her amazing husband, or taking a hot bubble bath?next to a pile of chocolate.
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A fun historical novel full of charm! I loved My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century! The characters, the setting, the story.. it was just fantastic. Within the first few lines I loved Cat. I thought she was funny, smart and had just the right amount of snark thrown in. I loved her attitude at the beginning but watching the subtle changes and her growth throughout the book made me love her even more. There were plenty of amazing, witty, hilarious comments thrown in this book. Most of them from Cat of course, which was another reason I just loved her! I really liked all the characters in this book, even the not-so-nice ones. They were all well thought out and even those characters I only met briefly were brilliantly written, I got a good feel of who they were, even from a few short lines. I loved everyone, Cat was hilarious fun and I was totally swooning over Lorenzo, but I had a real soft spot for Alessandra. She was soft and demure but I thought she had spunk! Plus her name is absolutely gorgeous and she's a real sweetheart. I thought this book was amazing. The cover was gorgeous and Rachel Harris weaved a mystical tale full of mystery and wonder; it also taught me some really cool things about Italy and it's art. My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century took me on a magical journey through renaissance Italy, told a brilliant tale of love and left me begging for more.
So I am officially in love with this book (I'm going to call it MSS16C for short). It's my new favorite book. So. Good. Okay, so I admit it, the gorgeous cover was what drew me in. I mean, who doesn't want that girl's dress? But when I read the summary and found out it was about time travel (I'm a huge Doctor Who fan), I freaked out and knew that I had to read it as soon as it released. THEN, when I saw that Lisa T. Bergren, one of my favorite authors ever and the writer of the fabulous time travel River of Time series, had blurbed it, I became even more excited. Basically, I had super high expectations for this book. And MSS16C definitely lived up to them! The characters: perfection. Every single one of them. See, it's really rare for me to read a book and love all of the characters. It always seems like I never fully connect or like everyone. But in MSS16C, I adored them all! The main character Cat is absolutely hysterical. She's the type of girl I'd want to be best friends with in real life. She has a great sense of humor, she's smart, and she's completely likeable. Then there is Lorenzo. *cue dreamy sigh* Ladies, he is totally swoon-worthy. What's great is that he's not just a cute guy. His character also has depth and we find out more of his dreams and wishes as the story continues. Another two of my favorite characters were Alessandra and Cipriano. I loved the friendship and bond that formed between Alessandra and Cat, and Cipriano was so protective and sweet! The setting was amazing as well. I've always loved Italy, and Rachel Harris chose a great time period to write about. I loved the descriptions; it made me feel like I was there. Lastly, the plot. MSS16C is definitely a fluffy, fun-filled book, but there are still some serious moments. Cat struggles over finding a way back to modern times and has to make some tough decisions about family and what's important. I appreciated that aspect of the plot and really admire the decisions Cat made, even though the end was heartbreakingly sad. And yes, it also ends with a cliffhanger. *groan* I need the sequel! Why can't it come out sooner? MSS16C is a must-read. Anyone can enjoy it, and fans of books like The River of Time series and Ruby Red will love it! Most definitely recommended!
One word I’d use to describe this book? Flawless! My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century was brilliantly written. To die for characters and swoon worthy romance, combined with the authors compulsively readable voice makes this a must read. This book had be cracking up one page and swooning the next. Cat is the heroine everyone is hoping for when you crack open the cover to a YA book. She’s funny and interesting and I couldn’t get enough. And Lorenzo…sigh. If only he were real and I was a teen again. I loved him! The romance in this book was perfectly done. The characters and emotions felt very genuine. Time travel, a hot Italian boy and beautifully crafted story? This book is everything I look for and more in a YA book. I recommend this one to…well, everyone! If you are looking for a fun, engaging read that will sweep you off of your feet and take you to another world, this is the book for you! And in case my review didn't say it all, I adored this book!
I truly adore this novel! Being an author of historical fiction, any book that comes along, which contains some sort of historical reference, becomes gold in my eyes! Seeing as I am also sixteen, I love books that celebrate the sweetness that is the sixteenth year of our lives. Rachel does an excellent job of writing a fun, flirty, and fantastic novel for young adults... or just the young at heart!
Rachel Harris is one of the most talented authors I’ve had the privilege of reading. A master of descriptive writing, Rachel paints rich, vibrant scenes and characters that jump off the page as she crafts a fresh, detailed world full of adventure and romance in her debut YA. Cat, girl, she knows how to get herself into some messes, but I love her reactions and logic as she navigates the world and time she finds herself in. There’re some truly hilarious scenes, scenes that made me melt, and others that broke my heart. Lorenzo…with a swoon-worthy name like that, you know you better guard your heart, and Cat tries her damndest to do just that. But as this suave and sexy ladies’ man from the past works his way into her thoughts, she finds herself falling for him, and falling hard. I love Lor! He’s one of my top book boys, and I admit, I selfishly want him all for myself. With action, gypsy magic, amazing description of a world long past and heart-melting romance, My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century is beautiful and enchanting, and a must read for lovers of Magical Realism.
Did I enjoy this book: I really, really did enjoy this book! I couldn't put it down, I read it every free chance I had and when I was finished, I couldn't stop smiling nor could I stop myself from having that excited feeling you get when you finish a great book. (In fact, that reaction lasted for most of my day!) I enjoyed so many things about this book. The characters were great. Cat, who has always been in the spotlight because of her parents, is a character you feel bad for yet you want her to learn the lessons that she needs to learn. Alessandra is a sweet girl and I want to know more about her. Lorenzo was a great match for Cat. Nicollo was a character I did not like from his introduction. Reyna, the gypsy, was strange at first but I loved her at the end. I would give you more detail but I don't want to give anything away. I really liked that this book wasn't all about the usual cliches that come with these century-swap-type of stories. Of course, there were the inevitable blunders but it wasn't too much and it all worked fabulously. Two scenes really stood out to me. First, the scene in the field between Patience and Lorenzo, while they were watching the clouds, was so sweet, intimate, and left you with a content sigh. The second scene that stood out was the scene between Patience and Michelangelo discussing the David sculpture. I literally laughed out loud. That scene was written so well...I loved it! The end...oh, the end...I loved how it all came together. The little things that popped up were great - the painting, the boy - so good. I cannot wait for the next book in this series. If I had it now, I would have started it immediately because of the cliffhanger that was the end of this book! Would I recommend it: I would recommend this wonderful book to anyone! Will I read it again: I just may.
If there is one word to describe My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century, it's "charming". This book made me smile from page one, and it's the type of feel-good book I want to revisit on days that I am down. So, if you're looking for a fun, light read, preorder this amazing book. But, Cassie, you say--what is it about? My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century is about a girl, Cat Crawford, who is transported to sixteenth century Florence. The whys and hows are all explained in the book, but overall, it's a sweet and simple plot. Nothing jaw-dropping. Even so, this book is fresh, readable, and tons of fun! Cat is no ordinary girl, though. Her parents are very well known in the movie biz. You could say that Cat is "Hollywood Royalty". Her life, though, is far from glamorous. Her parents are divorced, her mother's scandals are printed on tabloids for everyone to see, and her father has a new fiancé. Yeah, her life isn't so great. When I first started the book, I half expected to meet a selfish, spoiled, attention-seeking character who learned to tame her ways (thanks to some sixteenth century discipline). And I'm pleased to say that didn't happen. Cat is more of a loner. Quiet and shy, although not without some snark (and who doesn't love snark?) I was surprised with how quickly I took to her, how quickly I related to her struggles. And the people Cat encounters are just as amazing--including swoon-worthy Lorenzo and sweet Alessandra. When Cat returned to present day, I couldn't help but miss them too. I would also like to compliment Harris on her ability to paint a very vivid picture of sixteenth century Italy. This book is relatively short, but it's certainly not lacking in detail. Her writing is descriptive, and yet, not overbearing. Moderation is always key, and I think Harris does a great job with it. My one complaint is that I wish more pages were written to further develop the secondary characters and to further develop Lorenzo and Cat's relationship. I wouldn't say that Lorenzo and Cat experience "insta-love", but it's close to that line. Even so, the chemistry between the two characters managed to erase all my reservations about how quickly their relationship developed. And for those of you who are a little bit iffy on historical reads, don't worry. Harris makes a point not to bog you down with customs, rituals, and stifled language. This reads very much like a contemporary, despite its setting. Bottom line? Read this book. It's so much fun, and I can't wait to purchase a finished copy come September 11.
How on earth would you rate such a whimsical and amazing work of complete art such as this? Rachel Harris created a character that, in my mind, will become a literary classic. I've always been in love with time travel historical fiction novels and this addition to the genre is a welcome one. Cat is by no means a typical teenage girl. Most girls spend their evenings with friends, hanging out, getting in trouble, and going on dates. Not so much, for Cat. She is the daughter of a scandalous actress who deserted her and Cat's father when Cat was young. Her scandals are constantly being thrown into Cat's face on the covers of tabloids all over the world. As if that isn't enough for any teenage girl to handle, Cat's father is a well known film director. Although he strives for Cat to live a normal life as much as possible, it simply isn't easy when the paparazzi are always following you, just knowing you will mess up just like your mom. To make matters worse is Cat's over the top, future stepmother. Miss I-Can't-Wait-To-Use-My Fiance-To-Better-My-Own-Career Jenna. Cat wants to stay out of the media yet party planner Jenna wants to throw her an extravagant sweet sixteen bash. Sounds innocent right? Not! If done correctly, this extravaganza will be broadcast on Mtv and will be the ticket to Jenna's success. Selfish much? It's no wonder Cat's Dad has agreed to take her on a trip to Italy. He's totally trying to butter her up. Cat has always been in love with Italy and their art. She aspires to be an artist one day, herself. In her spare time, she studies everything she can about Renaissance Artists. Knowing she will eventually have to give an answer about this dreaded birthday bash, she decides she needs a bit of time for herself in Italy. After assuring her dad she would return for dinner with him and Jenna, he reluctantly agrees. While exploring, Cat stumbles upon a gypsy tent. Very curious and with time to spare, she enters. After what seems to be some normal gypsy mumbo jumbo, Cat feels something unusual happening around her and soon realizes she has been transported back to Renaissance Italy. Cat finds herself thrown into a conundrum of events. She must pretend to be someone she is not. Perhaps, however, this new person is who she needed to be all along. Is this where she was meant to be, with the chance of love or must she find a way back to her father and her own time? Thank you, Rachel, for creating a masterpiece I am sure I will reread many times. I'm already looking forward to sharing it with my daughter. Looking forward to the next installment in this captivating series. You rock, girl! Congrats on your debut. You can only go up from here!
I absolutely LOVED this book!! I wanted to live in those beautifully written pages. Time travel, Italy, hotties...what more could you ask for?! This is a MUST read! My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century has it all! This will easily be a classic that should be on your shelves. Rachel Harris has penned a remarkable story. I'm a huge fan of the Renaissance, beautiful flowing dresses, vivid scenes and Romance. Travel back in time with Catarina, as she discovers what life is like in the sixteenth century and opens her heart up to possibilities. This book will sweep you off your feet.
Hands down, one of the most imaginative books I've read. Harris has the ability to whisk you away not only to another place, but to another time. Her characters are flesh and blood, and the romance is so hot it crackles. I can't wait until every one learns what I have about MY SUPER SWEET SIXTEENTH CENTURY, which is that it's brilliant. Bravo, Harris! I'm standing on a chair clapping my ass off.
This was a great novel! It was a quick read, it only took me a couple hours to read, but even so, it really stuck with me. It reminded me a lot of Pam Mingle's book, Kissing Shakespeare, which I'm also a fan of, and I greatly enjoyed it! Cat was a fascinating character, who you got to know quickly, yet you still saw her personality develop. Her relationship in the book was the most heartbreaking part, it was so sweet. You became very attached to the characters involved. It was one of those books that left me thinking at the end, which are always my favorites. And what an ending, it left of at a great place, it leaves you begging for more!
Cat Crawford is a teen girl on the verge of her 16th birthday. She is shy and a bit of loner, part of which comes from being hurt and not wanting people to get close to her. She is a big art enthusiast, and has been dreaming of going to Italy and exploring her Italian heritage for quite some time. While on a tour through the city she stumbles upon a gypsy and thus begins the start of her time traveling adventure. When she discovers that she must have gone back in time, she wasn’t as freaked out as I thought she would be. Especially for a 15 year old, she took the situation rather well…almost too well. Though she does panic a bit at first, she warms to the idea and decides to use this trip as a way to discover more about her family. Her family consisting of her uncle Marco, aunt Francesca, and cousins Alessandra and Cipriano. While staying her with her 16th century family she meets Lorenzo, the best friend of Cipriano. Lorenzo is quite taken with Cat, but she dismisses him as being a total player and wants nothing to do with him. Eventually her feelings change and she starts to like him. The more she stays there and interacts with everyone the more she starts to look at things differently. My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century (MSSSC for short) is a fun and light-hearted read, that I am happy to have discovered. It has some fluffiness, but not too much so that it’s over the top, which is good. Normally I don’t like the whole time traveling concept in books, but for this story I didn’t mind it. Even though this book is on the younger side of the YA book spectrum than what I would normally go for, I was still able to get into it and enjoy the story. One thing that I liked was Rachel Harris’s way of describing Italy and the various surroundings. It was so nicely detailed that I almost felt like I was there too. My only big complaint is that there is a cliffhanger at the end. That I was not expecting at all. Now I will be on pins and needles wondering when the second book will be released and what will happen next. I liked this book enough that even though I got it as an ARC, I ended up buying a copy anyway. I would give this book 4 out of 5. **Thank you to NetGalley and the Author, who I received this ARC from in exchange for my honest review.**
Full of charm and heart, My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century is one girl's magical journey towards finding herself. My Super Sweet is a book that I had been looking forward to since I first read the synopsis, and I'll admit it, the cover totally hooked me. I'm so happy that I got the chance to read it early because I simply adored it. Author Rachel Harris did a phenomenal job of recreating Sixteenth Century Florence. So many details that could have been easily overlooked, such as the silverware and plumbing used, helped lend a nice touch of authenticity. The manners and speech of the Sixteenth century felt real. I loved that Cat continually struggled throughout the story to behave in a manner that reflected that era. The characters in My Super Sweet all hit the right notes. Cat was lovable, awkward, funny and charming. Alessandra was a doll. I love that she openly embraced Cat and gave her no choice but to love her. Lorenz was super swoony, everything you expect in an Italian gentleman, without coming on too strong. I thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of the story. Cat's journey towards trust, being open to love was one any of us can learn from. But besides the lesson, My Super Sweet was fun! The setting provided the perfect opportunity for an escape. In fact, it's the best Italian getaway you can hope for,short of actually going there. The ending was absolutely perfect. I think I may have even cackled with glee. I can't wait for the next adventure! Whether you're looking for a story with depth, a sweet escape, or better yet, both, My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century is a book that will find your sweet spot.
I've been dying to read this one for what seems like years now. It sounded incredible, and I always love seeing how authors tie time travel into their books, especially when it contains such a fun background as the one My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century had. So basically, I knew it was the one for me, and as it turns out, I was exactly right. Not only was My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century a funny and original book but it contained incredible main characters and an ending that had me dying for the next one! My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century tells the story of Cat Crawford, a girl who wants nothing but an escape from the coming days of her life. It was bad enough when Cat's father first brought home her future step-mother but now that she's planning Cat an expensive as well as televised Super Sweet Sixteen party, Cat is simply furious. Cat's never been one to really enjoy social events, especially ones were she is the center of attention. Therefore, when she ends up being shipped off back in time to the sixteenth century, she's beyond happy. No party? Can't get better than that! But this trip is going to turn out to be much more than a little vacation...Cat's going to fall in love and make amazing friends and most importantly, evolve as a person...but for better or worse? You'll just have to read to find out! Okay, there was so much I LOVED about this one...I don't even know where to begin, but I'll guess I'll start with the characters. I was a little bit hesitant about Cat at first to tell the truth...I could see why she wouldn't want a big party, but at the same, I wanted to shake her on the shoulders and be like "it's only a party and you're stepmom is just doing it because she wants to make you happy." Thankfully, Cat really evolved throughout the book and began to see this. What I always enjoyed about Cat, though, was her sense of humor as well as her undying loyalty to her friends. In the book, she makes such a change in the lives of Alessandra and Lorenzo and I just loved seeing it all evolve. Talking about Lorenzo and Alessandra, they were two of my favorite characters as well. Alessandra was so sweet and naive in the best kind of way, and Lorenzo was swoon worthy to say the least...I always loved when he made an entrance. The plot in this was also a ton of fun! For one, I just adored the setting and the different fun Rachel was able to bring out because of it. The people Cat meet (especially one center artist) and the different social challenges she faced were always interesting and kept the book flying! I also enjoyed how Rachel developed the relationship between Lorenzo and Cat...it moved at a steady pace, one that really allowed them to be viewed as a realistic couple and a great one at that. Lastly, I just loved Rachel's writing! She did such an amazing job for a debut author...one that has left me DYING to see what she writes next. Though, I have to say that ending was simply evil...I can't believe I have to wait so long to read the next one! In all, My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century is a charmingly sweet and romantic novel that I can't suggest highly enough...trust me, you have to read this one! Grade: A+
*4.5 out of 5 stars Oh, how I loved this book. It was fun, romantic, and totally engaging. I loved the setting, the characters were awesome, and the plot was amazing! I loved getting to travel back in time with Cat and see her struggle with trying to figure out how to get home. At first it's an adventure, but she starts to realize that maybe she has been wrong about some things back home in her real time. She knows that she needs to change things, it just took traveling back to the sixteenth century to realize it. Cat is a really great character. She is daughter of an Oscar winning producer father, and tabloid scandal mother, but that last thing she wants is to be in the spotlight. She would love to be able to just be a normal girl who can have real friends or even a boyfriend, who she knows actually like her for who she is. It's hard having a famous family. Now she is struggling to get out of a huge sweet sixteen party that she doesn't want, but her father wants to please his fiance so Cat has to go along with it. MTV filming, and her soon to be step mother planning everything. I loved the changes she went through when she ends up back in the Renaissance period. She really does mature a lot. I really did connect with her character and I felt for her. The romance is totally sweet. I love Lorenzo. He is very charming. He really cares for Cat and I really loved seeing them fall for each other. He proves that he really cares for her for who she is. Of course to complicate things, add in Niccolo. Ugh!! I seriously couldn't stand him. Creepy and gross is an understatement. Okay, I get that things were different back then, but the dude could be her dad, and she is just turning sixteen. Marriage equals totally wrong to me. *gag* Anyways, moving on. Not only is Niccolo enough to make me want to run for the hills, but he is a sneaky, evil jerk too. I found myself getting worked up at times and wanting to punch him and then wanting to run and hug Lorenzo and Cat. I really loved Alessandra too. She is like the fabulous sister that Cat never had. She is fun and bubbly, and most of all, she is trustworthy and there for Cat through everything. I liked her parents too, even though I couldn't agree with some of their decisions, I totally get where they are coming from. And one of my favorite characters was Reyna, the gypsy. She is awesome and I really hope we get more of her in the next book. This story was so incredibly awesome. I really loved everything about it. At times it was a bit slow, but never boring. I was always fascinated and wrapped up in it. I am not really a historical novel reader, but this was really good. I may change my mind about liking historical books if they can all be like this!! From beginning to end, this book was great. Rachel has created a wonderful world that I can't wait to jump back into. Oh, and the ending? Perfection!!! I am dying to read the next book!!
Definitely for a younger crowd. S.A.K.
I loved Cat's journey very much. It was not at first sight or at first chapter, it was slow and gradual such that by mid of the book when I had to keep it down to get some sleep I couldn't keep it down and then I realised I was completely sucked in and can't wait to know what happened further. It was my first time travelling novel and it was perfect Rachel created the historical era mixed with Cat's contemporary mannerism. It felt amazing to learn lessons which Cat learned during her journey, they are important and a must for many. Rachel told the story in such a way that I felt I was there with Cat during her high and lows, I was cursing the cunning characters, at times I wanted to give a tight hug to Lorenzo and Less and wanted a big brother like Cip for myself. The ending was ah!!! I don't what to say but I am happy that I already have Book 2 with me otherwise I would have gone mad waiting to read what happened next. In all it a light funny read filled with romance and some drama. complete post at my blog: gateway to different world.
I was intrigued after reading the excerpt and moreover, I just simply love time travel stories even though I don't read a lot of YA books. This book is funny, utterly romantic and beautifully written. It is definitely a story you'll relax into that brings you back to Renaissance period in beautiful Italy. Despite the fact that her estranged mother is a top celebrity and her father a famous director, Cat was really down to earth and normal albeit emotionally withdrawn. She also didn't believe in love. Cat was on a vacation in Florence, Italy with her father and step-mum to be, Jenna. She was dreading it but did so to please her father. he has a penchant for art especially in the Renaissance era. After some negotiations with her father, she was allowed to go on a 1/2 day trip alone to tour Palazzo Vecchio and see the statue of Michelangelo. That's when her real adventures began. Cat's time travel back to the 16th century brought lots of fun and laughter as she tries to adapt herself into the era without technology, without the convenience of bath, toilet and the wardrobe differences. As much as she refused to get emotionally attached, she couldn't help but bond with her cousins, feel the warmth from her Aunt and Uncle and falls in love with Lorenzo as she seeks out the reasons for her time travel into this era. This is my first book by Rachel Harris and it won't be my last. Definitely checking out the rest of the books in this series.
I loved this!! I have had this book for over a year and I am so mad at myself for waiting so long to read this. My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century is a fun and romantic story. I was glued to the story by the first chapter and I loved everything about this book! I really loved the characters. Cat Crawford is on the verge of turning 16 but is dreading the huge MTV style party her future step-mother is planning. She would rather be alone in her room or exploring an art gallery than be the center of attention. Cat has grown up under the Hollywood spotlight, thanks to having a famous movie director Dad and an infamous diva actress Mom. With the paparazzi and expectations of being a Hollywood kid, it isn’t surprising that Cat has lived a lonely life. Beginning with her parents divorce, Cat has had to deal with the pain of people leaving her (her so-called “friends” only using her for a chance to meet her Dad so they can get into Hollywood). So it is understandable that when we first meet Cat she is bitter and is suspicious of her future step-mother (and pretty much everyone else). But once she steps into Renaissance Italy her walls come down with the help a lovable cast of supporting characters (Aunt Francesca, Uncle Marco, Alessandra and Cipriano) and a gorgeous artist Lorenzo. We see a fun side of her (the real Cat that she has been afraid to show). I have read a lot of adult time travel stories that always had a serious story filled with danger and historical facts. My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century was my first teen time travel story and it was so fun to read. Right away the idea of a modern day teenager thrown back to Renaissance Italy creates images of hilarious faux pas, which author Rachel Harris does a great job of creating. This was written flawlessly and I find it hard to believe that this was her debut novel. I loved how the author added a variety of pop culture references (for example- Miley Cyrus, the Kardashians, the tv show Quantum Leap, and the movies Titanic and The Blue Lagoon) which added humor to the story. But it also lets the readers get a glimpse of the fun side of the author. It was a nice personal touch and I loved it! I highly recommend this book! And now I’m off to start on the sequel, A Tale of Two Centuries!
My Review This was my first read from author Rachel Harris and it was fantastic! There was a little bit of everything in this book... swoon-worthy romance, fabulous characters, humor, and conflict. There is a little bit of the contemporary right alongside the historical and the blend of both creates a mystical story that I truly fell into. Cat is a perfect protagonist who really grows over the course of the novel. She is a daughter of Hollywood, but she is far from the "mean girl/rich girl" stereotype. Instead, she was a bit socially awkward, a bit of a loner. This made her instantly sympathetic and I loved that she was, at heart, every girl. But as her life changes, we get to see so much more depth. We see the hurt and the pain, but we also see the passion, the intelligence, and the humor. Her "cousin" Alessandra was very different from Cat, the epitome of a proper 16th century young girl. She was also a perfect friend for Cat and the two of them together were as sisters or best friends should be. And Lorenzo... oh, Lorenzo. The perfect Book Boyfriend! Gorgeous, smart, creative, funny... what more could you want? Some Quotastic Goodness --Throughout history, while day-to-day life has changed, humanity hasn’t (Loc. 217). --I live my life by the wise words of Eleanor Roosevelt: no one can make you feel inferior without your consent (Loc. 677). --If looks could kill, I’d be a barbecued pineapple (Loc. 888). --The first is that if beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder , I want the world to see me the way he does. Every flaw, every imperfection that I hate about myself has been made beautiful through his eyes and with his hand (Loc. 1454). --At least I can look like a Kardashian while hyperventilating all over the dance floor (Loc. 2164). --Our second kiss is gentle and passionate , tentative and hungry, all at once (Loc. 2419). --At certain times of the month, I’ve considered chocolate consumption an urgent matter (Loc. 2529). --“There we go, rule number three. Caloric consumption. Thou must not thinketh or worry about the circumference of one’s thighs while at a sleepover (Loc. 2785).” --“And I’ve learned that letting people get close to you doesn’t always lead to pain. Some people are actually worth the risk (Loc. 3127).” My Recommendation This was a fun read with great characters and an interesting story. One thing I really appreciated was the author's attention to detail. It kept the experience believable and I applaud that!
Time travel, crazy parent problems, romance, creeptastic suitors, 16th birthdays...how can you resist?! Cat Crawford's mother is a movie star...one that is constantly in the tabloids for running from one relationship into the next. Needless to say, Cat isn't on the best terms with her mother. Cat's father is a well-known film director, but he really wants life to be 'normal' for Cat. Cat's father is dating a woman named Jenna, who just happens to be an event planner. Jenna has decided Cat 'needs' to have a sweet sixteen birthday party, and since Cat is a 'daughter of Hollywood', Jenna is pretty sure she can get Cat's party onto MTV's "My Super Sweet 16." Cat is less-than thrilled about this whole idea, and she thinks Jenna is just using her dad (and Cat) to boost her business. In an effort to keep Cat happy, as well as doing something 'normal', like taking a family vacation, the three of them are on their way to Florence, Italy. On her first full day in Florence, Cat's life is changed forever. She convinces her dad (and Jenna) to let her spend the morning on her own, on a tour of the city. On her way to meet her dad and Jenna back at the hotel, Cat steps into a gypsy's tent for a reading...and back out of the tent into 16th century Florence. She is brought to a magnificent home, which just happens to literally be owned by her ancestors (on her mother's side). In this 16th century world, Cat has a new name: Patience D'Angeli. She is moving in with her aunt and uncle after her 16th century parents passed away. What happens to Cat in the 16th century? How does she spend her 16th birthday? And most importantly, will she ever get back to her real life? You'll just have to read the book to find out! :-P I love the fabulous mix of 21st century nonchalance and 16th century seriousness. It gives not only the main character, but the reader as well, some real perspective on life, love, friendship, and other mysteries. Not only should you read this fantastic book, but you should pre-order its sequel, A Tale of Two Centuries, as well! I promise, you won't be sorry!
I loved this book! It has a really entertaining plot that grabbed my attention and kept me wondering what would happen next. The characters were also all a lot of fun, well developed, and interesting. I can't wait to read the next book in the series!
What a fun read. I was nervous at first. I get anxiety when characters are thrust into situations that they can't succeed in, like a dream where you show up at school to take a test that you haven't studied for. Luckily, although Cat is thrust into a world she doesn't know a lot about, she at least has the ability to communicate and was put in the right clothes. It helped with my anxiety that she wasn't completely a fish out of water. I enjoyed the romance and the friendships that were developed. I also found the realizations that Cat comes to do be worthwhile for all. We all need to open up and allow others in to be able to truly be happy. That is part of living this life, developing relationships. And, Rachel Harris gave us a cliff hanger. Thus, I will eagerly await the sequel to this fun book. Warnings: Teen drinking in the 16th century that was obviously allowed, it was the 16th century! I would let my 15 year old read this book. I think she would like it.
Cat, a soon to be 16 year-old girl, travels to Italy with her dad and stepmom but on her first day meets a gypsy named Reyna who sends her to the 16th Century in her journey to find herself and learn a mystery lesson. “Reyna: Be sure to keep your mind open to the lessons ahead.” My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century It’s a lovely story full of humor, a bit of mystery and sexy accents. Did we mention 16th century clothes? You have to admit, those are fun! Cat is the daughter of a hollywood director and an actress but all she wants is the cameras to stay away, something hard to do when your stepmom wants to throw you the biggest sweet sixteen EVER. Cat has lots of issues, she can’t trust anyone to get close to her for her and not her parents, she feels like she’s losing her dad to a new woman and is sick of feeling she’s always supposed to please everyone, but the 16th century is not as fun as it seems, and more than once Cat finds herself in problems with the vocabulary... “Cat: Who’s that dude, Less? Two verbal gaffes in one sentence—so much for my nailing the old-world gig.” What I really liked about her was how easy to relate she was, how normal she felt. Cat has insecurities like everyone else, but at the same time there’s a little person trying to be free and find her place in the world, someone who wants to follow her dreams and step outside of her parents shadow and talent. Inside that shell she created to not get hurt or used there’s a girl who wants to know what it feels like to have a real friend, someone you can trust and someone who will be there for you no matter what. And maybe, she’s also looking for real love. Lorenzo, in a way, is very similar to Cat. He's an artist in a world and a family that doesn't get him. He's cocky, and sexy and he knows that as much as he knows the effect he has on girls. He’s a heartbreaker. And he wants Cat. I love how romantic he is, maybe is the whole I'm-from-another-century vibe but he has a lot going on, the perfect good boy you want to take and keep hidden from the rest of the girls. I also enjoyed the fact that there wasn't another love interest for her though the secondary characters are a great combination and add a lot for the Story. Her 16th century family is adorable, her aunt and cousin had me laughing through the book with her happy actitudes about everything. I particularly liked The Ending, it has an original twist to this sort of stories that I wasn't expecting. Rachel has done an AWESOME job in her debut novel bringing us characters that you'll remember. The writing is lovely and traps you right from the start. And the best news is there will be more! The sequel is called "Rearview Mirror" and is set to come out in december of 2013 following Less’ (Cat’s causin) adventures.