Date Read: November 20 2012
Release Date: September 11th 2012
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Genre: Time Travel/Historical
"On the precipice of her sixteenth birthday, the last thing lone wolf Cat Crawford wants is an extravagant gala thrown by her bubbly stepmother-to-be 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?"
This was such a fun, cute and refreshing read! I initially picked up this book thinking it would be a fun trip to the past but when I finished, I realised it was so much more than that - it was a coming of age book about growing up and that there are sometimes more important things in life.
I really loved the way this was written. Imagery, extremely descriptive, it was verb and simile paradise!
There were so many types of imagery utilised:
Aural: "the clanging church bells...", "birds are singing and chirping happy music"
Olfactory: "the overwhelming stench of sewage overwhelms me", "the heady scent of incense tickles my nose and I sneeze"
Visual: "vibrant red poppies explode against the deep jade of the grass and the lush gold of the wheat fields" THEM COLOURS OMG
Tactile: "I feel soft fabric brush against my leg"
Gustatory: "he tastes like the wildflower-honey pastries inside, sweet and intoxicating"
"Warm water sloshes over the sides of the wooden tub as I scoop up a handful of gardenia-scented bubbles and blow gently, creating a iridescent, rainbow-infused cave".
UNF GIVE ME A BUBBLE BATH NOW!
Like shit it was sensory overload and I loved it. As nobody really knows what Renaissance Florence feels like (or Renaissance anywhere really) these descriptions were crucial in placing the character in said time period.
The book is filled with amazing descriptions and I really felt I was in 1505 Italy. I think other than the meadow, I loved the way Michelangelo's David was detailed:
"Look at how his right leg is tense and supporting him while the left one is bent like a warrior's. His furrowed forehead perfectly shows he's facing incredible odds, yet his nostrils are flared and his eyes are fierce... Look at the veins in his hands and feet, the cords of his neck, the folds of skin on his upper thigh" WOAH I don't even know a block of marble can be described like that but after reading that I'm bowing down to Michelangelo (even more than before that is).
And the juxtapositions and antitheses! It really helped iterate the difference between Cat and Patience's worlds.
"Dejected, I fling the phone and watch it crash into the painted chest... Hanging over the chest is my wrinkled ball gown from last night."
The story itself was cute, interlaced with heartbreak, humour and lessons-to-be-learnt. I really liked what the main character, Cat, learnt on her trip back in time. What she thought was her redeeming qualities because of the way her mother acts (Cat stays out of the spotlight so she doesn't make mistakes that land her on the front pages of tabloids like her fickle mother), are actually what's holding her back from who she really is.
Lesson learnt: it's ok to make mistakes as long as you learn from them.
Cat finally gives her heart to someone - and what I REALLY like about this is that because she's 16, Harris doesn't explicitly say she falls in love at first sight and all that crap, but rather that he ignites feelings in her she hasn't felt before. Then Cat PROGRESSIVELY starts falling harder for him, longing for his presence more and they admit they CARE for each other. And the love that blossoms from that ERMAGHERD BE STILL MY HEART "You want to be with me; I know that you do". Cue my wrenching heart and burning eyes. The romance is entirely believable so that was a winner for me.
Lesson learnt: it's ok to let your guard down and let your heart guide you - but sometimes love is not enough, there are things you have to sacrifice. And in the case of Lorenzo? That love might just set you free.
The presence of her bubbly aunt Francesca and beautiful cousin Alessandra remind Cat of her future-stepmother and it's here that she finally sets her prejudices of her stepmother aside and realise Jenna isn't all that bad. The comparison of her Renaissance ancestors and their parallels to her stepmother allow her to see the good in Jenna!
I loved all the characters in here. I especially LOVED Lorenzo. His gentlemanly behaviour was expected of someone of that period but there was that extra spark and other side to him that made me (ahem I mean Cat) fall in love with him. The passion between Cat and Lorenzo was definitely there and god so many teary eyed moments! Alessandra was a breath of fresh air with her innocence but fiery passion to be an actress. I think her presence helped Cat understand the importance of having a friend there when times are hard. Lesson learnt: don't try to tackle everything on your own, friends are there so you can tell them your problems and it sucks to lie to them. Even characters like Antonia had something important to say. Basically, all the characters had a purpose and they weren't there just for the sake of it. I also liked how there was no guarantee of a happily ever after. I mean yeah another boy shows up but Cat doesn't immediately replace Lorenzo and that's what I loved - the uncertainty!
Was there anything I didn't like about this? I think the sheer amount of slang and colloquialisms that even I didn't understand. It got a bit too much for me at times... but I'm going to assume that's how 16 year olds talk nowadays and I fear for that generation. I also wondered how a lot of said slang would be phrased in Italian (typed some stuff into Google translate and that's some weird shit but whatever I'm not Italian so I can't say).
Overall, beautiful imagery, characters with personality and relevance, lessons learnt all in the middle of one of the world's most renowned cultural movements. And that uncertain happily ever after? As my friends say, "shit got real". Yup this did it for me.