Published by Allen & Unwin on January 3rd 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Amazon | Book Depository | Publisher | Angus & Robertson | Booktopia
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What do you wear to Paris? Ami and I discussed it for hours but I still couldn't think of anything suitable. Ami said a trench coat with nothing underneath but your best underwear. That was only if some boy was meeting you at the airport, I said.
Eighteen-year-old Lisette has just arrived in Paris (France!) - the city of haute couture and all things stylish - to practise her French and see great works of art. Her clairvoyant landlady Madame Christophe forces her to attend language lessons with a bunch of international students but soon Lise discovers she's more interested in studying boys than art or verbs ...
When the undeniably hot Anders jogs into her life it feels too good to be true. Things get even more complicated when she is pursued by Hugo, a charming English antiques dealer.
Can she take a chance and follow her own dreams? How far into the future can Madame Christophe see? And could Lise really be falling in love - in Paris?
I love fluffy contemporary romance novels and Lisette’s Paris Notebook looked extremely promising. It has an extremely cute cover and was screaming Anna and the French Kiss at me. However, I found this novel to be a pretty big disappointment and did not enjoy the reading experience at all.
There isn’t really any other word to describe the plot other than dull. There was really nothing that happened in this book at all and I almost dozed off numerous times while reading it. The story begins with Lisette or Lise, as she now wants to known as, arriving in Paris for her three month stay in the city of love. From that point on, all she does is attend French lessons with a bunch of art students and walk around aimlessly taking photos and kissing boys. *this reviewer snoozes* I wouldn’t say that there really is even much of a plot, and this really bothered me because 286 pages is a long time for someone to just be walking around Paris? The novel did have some interesting family elements but these were really not explored very well at all. It definitely seemed like a wasted opportunity considering the novel focuses on nothing much at all. I was most disappointed with the ending because there were some loose ends that hadn’t been tied up and it felt a little bit unresolved. I also had problems with the writing style of the book. From the very first page, I knew that I wasn’t going to connect with the writing style. It was very direct and there was too much telling and I felt like I was being told exactly what to think. I had a very difficult time with Lisette’s voice.
I had a lot of trouble with Lisette as the main character. She was extremely hard for me to like because of her non-stop complaining about every little thing in the world! She always seemed to think that she knew best and sometimes acted like things were beneath her, which was extremely off-putting. She had a love for fashion and this came across in a really smart alec kind of way that made her really dislikable. She kept pointing out that her mother was “not just a dressmaker, she’s a seamstress” and I found myself almost tearing my hair out in frustration while yelling “what is the difference?!!!” Lisette was also indecisive but never listened to anyone’s advice, and this was something that lasted for the entire book. I saw no character development in her at all and was disappointed by this because it seemed like she hadn’t really learnt anything on her three-month long adventure in Paris. I felt like this novel could have been a great character-driven, coming of age story but fell extremely flat in that department. It’s been a while since I’ve been as frustrated with a character as I was with Lisette.
I didn’t particularly like any of the other characters either. Most of the characters felt extremely cliched and stereotypically French. I did enjoy reading about some of Lisette’s new friends who she met at her French classes but they didn’t get enough page time for me to appreciate them. I wasn’t a fan of the two ‘leading males’ in the book and found them to be YA contemporary romance cliches. Hugo was an okay character but came across to me as a little bit boring. My favourite character in the novel was probably the dog, Napoleon. And as much as I love animals in books, it’s a bit sad that my favourite character (by leaps and bounds) was the dog who wasn’t even mentioned all that often.
I also had some problems with the romance in the book. While I looooove contemporary romances, I really am not a fan of ones that are purely about the romance, and this one was almost purely about Lisette finding love. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but like I mentioned above, the novel really throws away character development and the family and friendship themes for the romance. Or romances since there are two in this novel. I found the first romance of the book to be extremely frustrating, but even more frustrating was the speed at which the second one started. The book jumps from one directly to the next, with no break at all, and I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at how many boys thought Lisette was desirable within the space of one week… The second romance in the book felt forced and rushed and I wasn’t a big fan of it either, though I didn’t mind it as much as the first. But don’t get me started on that Romany curse that erased his phone number from Lisette’s arm…
I was expecting a light and quick read, but Lisette’s Paris Notebook was not a pleasant reading experience for me. The plot, characterisation and writing style all frustrated me and I couldn’t connect with the book at all. The novel lacked development and flow for me and I find it hard to recommend it. But while I didn’t enjoy it, you might! Check out Jeann’s birthday giveaway to win a copy of Lisette’s Paris Notebook!
Rating: 2 out of 5
Thank you to Allen & Unwin for providing a review copy of the book.
Lisette’s Paris Notebook was published by Allen & Unwin on 3rd January 2017. It is now available at all Australian retailers for $16.99.
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