Wish You Were Italian (If Only Series)

( 6 )

Overview

The summer before senior year of high school. It’s supposed to be one of the biggest summers of her life, but Pippa is headed to an art program she has no interest in. The one saving grace is it’s in Italy. And when the opportunity strikes, she decides to ditch the program and travel Italy accomplishing her own list of goals. Things like swimming in the Mediterranean Sea, eating a whole pizza in one sitting…and falling in love with an Italian boy!

As she explores the famous ...

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Wish You Were Italian: An If Only novel

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Overview

The summer before senior year of high school. It’s supposed to be one of the biggest summers of her life, but Pippa is headed to an art program she has no interest in. The one saving grace is it’s in Italy. And when the opportunity strikes, she decides to ditch the program and travel Italy accomplishing her own list of goals. Things like swimming in the Mediterranean Sea, eating a whole pizza in one sitting…and falling in love with an Italian boy!

As she explores the famous cities of Rome and Pompeii, Pippa finds herself falling for two boys: a local guy she knows is nothing but trouble and a cute American archaeology student who keeps disappearing and reappearing at the strangest moments. Will Pippa find her true love before her parents find out the truth about her summer program?

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
03/17/2014
This breezy, envy-inducing romance opens the If Only series, written by multiple authors. For some reason, 17-year-old Pippa Preston is dreading spending the summer in Italy—her parents are forcing her to attend an art history program in Florence. When Pippa’s plane lands in Rome, she discovers that her father has given her an envelope full of euros, and she decides to forgo summer school in favor of sightseeing and meeting boys. A new Italian friend, Chiara, whisks Pippa off to her family’s house on the Cinque Terre, and Pippa’s charmed summer becomes even more so (especially after two boys, one American and one Italian, enter the picture). Debut author Rae’s style is upbeat and cheerful, but like Pippa, who throws caution to the wind, the story lacks direction, with choppy prose and brief chapters tugging readers this way and that. Rae uses advice from one of Pippa’s friends back home to give some structure to Pippa’s zigging and zagging, but it’s not quite enough to anchor the novel. Available simultaneously: Fool Me Twice by Mandy Hubbard. Ages 12–up. Agent: Marietta Zacker, Nancy Gallt Literary Agency. (May)
From the Publisher
"A charming and addictive read. Devour this delicious treat like a double scoop of gelato." —Lindsey Leavitt, author of Going Vintage and Sean Griswold’s Head

 

"Enjoyable—an ideal beach read." —Kirkus Reviews

 

"This breezy, envy-inducing romance opens the If Only series." —Publishers Weekly

 

"Rae’s debut novel is a breezy, fluffy summer read full of dreamy romance." —Booklist

 

"Readers may enjoy the international setting and details about Italian culture and travel in this innocent romance." —School Library Journal

Voya Reviews, April 2014 (Vol. 36, No. 1) - Marla Unruh
Pippa’s trip to Italy is her mother’s idea. Pippa is enrolled in an Art History course in Florence so she can later help in her mother’s art gallery. It is not what Pippa wants to do, but she comforts herself with her own goals for her stay, one of which is to fall in love with an Italian. She discovers that her father has sent along some extra money—enough that she could extend her stay in Rome and learn about its history first-hand. Almost immediately she meets an American boy who offers to include her with his friends as they see the sights. Then, she meets Chiara, who invites her to spend the summer with her family at Riomaggiore on the Italian Riviera. Here is a novel filled with all the classic teen angst: the struggle for independence from a dominating mother; the difficulty distinguishing Mr. Right from Mr. Wrong; the decision to deceive her parents; and anxiety about consequences. The first-person narrative makes it work, however, as Pippa’s voice is true to that of a conflicted and vulnerable young adult. Scenes in Rome and on the craggy Italian coast add a spectacular backdrop for the story and contribute to the sense of adventure. The emotional showdown between Pippa and her parents at the end provides a satisfying resolution, and romance fans will identify with Pippa’s coming-of-age journey. Reviewer: Marla Unruh; Ages 12 to 18.
Voya Reviews, April 2014 (Vol. 36, No. 1) - Jessica Smith
This is a typical teenage girl book because the main character falls in love with a boy she just met. The novel’s message is to follow your heart and do what you want to do. Wish You Were Italian will hold the reader’s interest because Pippa’s journey takes the reader to different places in Italy. The author’s writing style is consistent and to the point. This contributes to the quality of the story. Reviewer: Jessica Smith, Teen Reviewer; Ages 12 to 18.
Kirkus Reviews
2014-02-26
This debut takes readers to Italy, where 17-year-old Pippa defies her parents' wishes and secretly takes off on her own. Her parents were sending her alone to an art school in Florence to learn about classical art so she could follow in her mother's footsteps and run an art gallery. But she has plenty of euros and no desire to learn about art, wanting instead to see Italy and fall in love with an Italian. In Rome, she meets Darren, an attractive American archaeology student who shows her the Colosseum. Then she meets Chiara, an Italian girl who grew up in America but who lives in the Cinque Terre, where her family has a restaurant and where she invites Pippa to join her. Pippa decides to go—without telling her parents, of course. Complication lurks in the form of Bruno, Chiara's handsome cousin, who begins to court Pippa aggressively. When Darren arrives, Pippa worries which boy she should choose: Bruno is Italian and hot hot hot, but she's still attracted to Darren. Meanwhile, her parents still think she's at school in Florence. While Rae presents an appealing character in Pippa, her evident love of Italy dominates the narrative, making the story feel like an enthusiastic travelogue. Readers will detect early on which boy Pippa will choose, but mild suspense about how that will come about should keep them engaged. Undemanding but enjoyable—an ideal beach read. (Romance. 12-18)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781619632868
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 5/6/2014
  • Series: If Only Series
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 395,453
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

KRISTIN RAE is a native Texan with a slight northern accent thanks to all of her relatives in Chicago and a slight obsession with Italy thanks to its awesomeness. She lives in Houston, Texas with her husband and two boxers, Duke and Mylie.

www.kristincreative.blogspot.com

@kristincreative

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 31, 2014

    This was exactly what I wanted it to be - light, fun, and wonder

    This was exactly what I wanted it to be - light, fun, and wonderfully descriptive of the great Italian setting. I love the way the passion for Italy comes through here, and that Pippa clearly feels it too. I loved her excitement for the culture and history, and the way it felt so true to life and my own experiences when I traveled both as a teen and now. I could've done without constantly wanting to lick my e-reader in the hopes it would taste like gelato, but you win some, you lose some.

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  • Posted July 3, 2014

    I need to go to Italy, now! This book captured the essence and w

    I need to go to Italy, now! This book captured the essence and wild spirit of not only teenagedom, but facing an adventure in a foreign country. How I wish I could be as brave and strong as Pippa choosing to travel to Italy alone. There were so many cute/funny/adorable moments, not to mention a hot Italian boys. I loved all of Pippa's awkward interactions with Darren, especially the cheesy jokes. The only thing that held me back from giving this book five stars was the pacing about 3/4 of the way through the book. It may have worked better if Pippa and Darren had more time together in the beginning of the book so we could get a lot more of those cheesy jokes instead of them just getting to know each other. Other than that, it was wonderful summer read. Not I can tell people I got to dip my toes in the Mediterranean sea once. Who cares if it was just in a book?

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  • Posted June 28, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    This was *exactly* the book I needed in my life after finishing

    This was *exactly* the book I needed in my life after finishing a heavy read earlier today. It was so freaking charming. I've always had a hint of wanderlust, but this book kicked it into high gear. It makes me want to book a flight to Italy, eat gelato, take a whole bunch of photos and meet a hot boy guy.

    One of the things I loved most about this book was the catalyst for Pippa's adventures in Italy – the "to-do" list/scrapbook from her BFF Morgan. I thought it was clever and thoughtful and gave me a lot of insight into their friendship. While Morgan isn't in the book that much, she plays a HUGE role in Pippa's life while she was overseas. I loved following Pippa through all of her Italian adventures. I was so very jealous. It was easy to get swept away and live vicariously through her. Krista's descriptions of everything from the people to the places to the food were so vivid it felt like I was right there with Pippa. 

    The characters in this novel were wonderful. I really liked Pippa. I related to her if for no reason other than her love of photography because I share that love. I was incredibly jealous of her shooting her way through Rome . Darren was adorable. I was rooting for him all along. Bruno definitely had charm and I could see how Pippa could get swept away with him. Her friendship with Chiara and her interactions with all the other characters were also realistic and enjoyable to read about. 

    Wish You Were Italian is part of a series, but they're standalone novels. I didn't read the first book and didn't feel as though I was missing anything. (I did, however, go back to buy the first book just because I want to see how it compares.) This was a great, mostly light and fluffy YA contemporary with humor, heart and a whole bunch of swoons. There was one little bit of the book that wasn't nearly as light and fluffy – and did make me a wee bit teary eyed – which added a little depth to the story. But overall, Wish You Were Italian will deliver more smiles and "awwwwws" than tears. I finished the book and just wanted to sit and hug it for awhile. I might have, actually. Might. :)

    I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Posted June 21, 2014

    I have mixed feelings on this book, because while I really did e

    I have mixed feelings on this book, because while I really did enjoy it, it took me a while to actually get through. (The eARC being terribly formatted was mainly to fault, although I can't hold that against the book.) I was expecting this to be a light, fun summery read, but I ended up loving it so much more than that. 

    The main reason I loved this so much! Rome. I mean, if I never get to travel anywhere else in my life, I absolutely HAVE to go to Rome. I must. I mean, crazy nerdy Latin scholar over here (can I call myself a scholar? Whatever, I'm doing it anyway). Which is what made me want to read this in the first place. And I mean, this will give you a serious case of the wanderlust. I did a bit of author stalking (he he) and the places described in the book were from personal experience. And Kristin Rae was spot on. The descriptions, places, experiences were described to perfectly and vividly, I felt like I was there. (And then started crying because I wasn't actually there. Not really, but I wanted to). 

    Which leads into her writing, which, if you couldn't tell, was very well done. I've talked enough about the setting (well, you can never have enough Italy), so let's talk characters. I was all prepared to be mad at/dislike Pippa. I mean, get sent to Italy and you want to complain? But I think she handled being sent to Italy by herself for something she hated very well. And choosing to ditch her parents' plans and make her own cemented my approval for her. (I mean, I could only WISH my parents would send me to itself, but I can also only WISH that I would be ballsy enough to do all of that by myself.) 

    The other characters--Morgan, Chiara, Darren, even "bad-boy" Bruno--were well-written and added a lot of depth and fun to the story. And Darren's contagious excitement over the ruins and history of the city was just super adorable. I mean… *insert heart-eyed emoji here*. His hair was practically its own character. 

    So you might be wondering--what was it that made me take forever to actually get through it? Well… The Love Triangle. Now, when a book gets too awkward or romantically angst-y (is that a thing?), I will often put it down and have to focus on something else for a minute or do something else before picking it back up. It's not because I'm uncomfortable, but more of an  I really don't feel like dealing with this right now. Sooo basically…the entire part with Bruno. This wasn't one of the worst love triangles I've ever read. Just that it was really frustrating because come on, we all knew who Pippa should REALLY be with ;) 

    This was a fun, cute read. It made me smile and laugh quite a bit. It was a great summery read (but be warned--it will leave you totally jealous). 

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  • Posted May 7, 2014

    Since I am obsessed with all things Italy, Italy-related, and It

    Since I am obsessed with all things Italy, Italy-related, and Italian- I knew I had to have this book. :) I adored Wish You Were Italian! It was a cute, fun, read and I loved being able to travel back to Italy with Pippa and revisit all my favorite places!

    Pacing: I felt this book was well-paced. I liked the development of the romance as well as how Pippa's journey unfolded. Kristin Rae does an amazing job with her setting. Having studied in Italy, I'm extremely critical when it comes to being authentic and I feel Kristin did a great job of capturing the essence of Italy, as well as Pippa's feelings while she's there.

    Storyline: Pippa is sent to Italy to study at an art school in Florence. Most kids would love that opportunity, but not Pippa. She isn't interested in that kind of art- she prefers photography instead. However, her parents run an art galley in Chicago and think this trip would be good for her to learn more about art. Traveling alone, Pippa gets a taste of that exhilarating freedom that comes with being in a foreign country with no parents and no one to stop you from doing what you want! She makes a decision, that while a bit reckless and impulsive, ended up being the right one for her. Having stayed in Italy, I can honestly say there was never a point where I felt unsafe or was afraid to go out on my own. Her first day in Italy she meets Darren, a cute American student who may or may not have a girlfriend with him named Nina. The three explore Rome and Pippa finds herself enjoying spending time with them. My favorite part was when Pippa saw the Colosseum for the first time because I felt the exact same way. It is a truly a sight to behold and you can't help but get emotional when you see it! Pippa makes the decision to travel around Italy and pretend she's going to the art school in Florence. She meets new friends along the way and keeps running into one very familiar face during her travels. Her best friend Morgan has provided her with a journal full of goals to complete while she's in Italy and one of them is to fall in love with an Italian! Uh-oh! Pippa girl- sometimes those Italian boys can be more trouble than they're worth! Pippa sets her sights on Bruno, her new friend Chiara's cousin, but it's hard to stay focused when Chiara warns her against him.... and she keeps running into Darren.

    Characters: I liked Pippa. She's not a girl who is disobeying her parents' wishes just to be disobedient. She wishes they would hear her and take her feelings into account. She doesn't have a very good relationship with her mom, which is why she goes to such lengths to keep her not attending school a secret. She does end up confiding in her best friend, though, which is probably a good thing in case something happened. Pippa finds herself torn between Bruno and Darren and will have to decide if she wants the illusion or the reality.

    Darren was a bit hard to read. I wish we would have gotten a bit more background on him and learned a bit more about why he acted the way he did with Pippa. He didn't run hot and cold, but he did tend to pull back when things were starting to become more with them. I did like Darren though. I felt he was a more natural fit for Pippa than Bruno was and he seemed to genuinely care about her and what she wanted. Bruno, while gorgeous and Italian, is known for being a player and is rather flirtatious with the tourists. He is definitely on the more reckless side than Darren is, and his actions are a bit self-destructive.

    I really enjoyed Chiara's character. She was a good friend to Pippa and sweet to invite her to stay with her family in the amazing Cinque Terre. She doesn't want to see Pippa get hurt by Bruno, as she knows the type of person he is, despite Pippa's insistences otherwise. I again wish we could have gotten a little more backstory concerning Chiara and Mauro, as something big happened between them.

    Final Thoughts: If you are looking for a fun, cute, summer read- this is the one you need! I loved getting to go back to Italy and remembering what it was like to travel around, have that freedom, and eat GELATO all. the. time! Throw in some romance and you're all set! I want to point out that I loved how Rae brought the story full circle at the end with Pippa and her mom. I was really proud of both Pippa and her mom for having the moment they did, as life is too short to look back on with regrets.

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  • Posted May 6, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Light, fun, and totally sweet, Wish You Were Italian was a true

    Light, fun, and totally sweet, Wish You Were Italian was a true delight. From the wonderfully described Italian scenery, to the adorable romance, this book was fantastic. Loved it!

    The best part of this book, hands down, was the wonderful description of the Italian sites the characters visit. Not only the visual of the monuments, but the awestruck feeling you get when you see something so old and magnificent. The author did a great job encompassing what it feels like to see the ancient sites, which the history nerd in me really appreciated.

    Pippa was a lovely heroine. She was a realistic, likable character. After being constantly pressured by her mother, she uses her exile to an art school in Italy to break free and follow her dream of photographing historical sites. I really liked her character and I thought she was great.

    The two love interests were Bruno (the Italian) and Darren (the American archaeology student). They were both adorable in their own ways. Bruno was, well, as super hot Italian. What more do I need to say? But, seriously, he was utterly charming and could be a real sweetie when he wanted to be.

    Darren was also amazing. This guy was so sweet and adorable and so heart-meltingly nice. He was the kind of sweetie that you can't help but fall for. Needless to say, I adored him as well.

    The romance was very sweet. I won't say which guy won out, but I will say that the romance was well done an totally cute.

    The plot was well paced and I was hooked the entire way through. The story was so fun and sweet as a spoonful of gelato (sorry, I couldn't help myself). I enjoyed every bit of it and the ending was absolutely lovely.

    Wish You Were Italian was a wonderful, light, and fun YA romance. I really enjoyed reading this fantastic book. From beginning to end, this delight of a book and just lovely. YA lovers, if you want a light read that's guaranteed to make you smile, then this is your book.

    *I received a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

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