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)