A white Australian girl spends part of her gap year in Paris.
Lisette, who prefers to go by Lise, should be perfecting her French and visiting museums as per her mother’s instructions, but she’s more excited about finding a boyfriend and buying vintage clothes. Her mother’s Parisian dreams were disrupted when her artist boyfriend—Lise’s father—left her while she was pregnant. Intelligent, hip Lise never met her now-deceased father who had been living in Wales. Her mother’s internet clairvoyant, Madame Christophe, who rents her a room for the summer, also arranges for Lisette to take a French class with a group of slightly older artists, including blond, German Anders, and two friendly young women from Canada and the Philippines. After a fling with Anders, which becomes complicated, Lise meets Hugo, a likable young English antiques dealer—and faces difficult decisions about her future ambitions, desire to learn more about her father, and romantic relationships. Unfortunately, Lise barely speaks to any young French people and experiences a superficial view of Parisian life. For example, an emotional encounter with a Romani woman who curses her on the Metro reinforces stereotypes without offering useful cultural context. Lise and her shopping adventures are engaging, but her endless self-examination is repetitive.
A light, romantic summer read for fashionistas made more interesting by its Australian protagonist. (author’s note) (Fiction. 14-18)