The story continues in slow, meandering fashion for Violet, the heroine of Flirting in Italian (2012).
Determined to forget Luca, the Italian boy who might be her half brother, Violet resolves to discover if she is adopted. While waiting weeks for that answer, there’s a surfeit of issues to keep Violet occupied. Among her fellow students on a summer study course in Italy, Kelly struggles with her perceived outsider status, Kendra starts a romance with their art teacher, and Paige flirts and shops. But when Kelly tells Catia, their guide, about Kendra’s romance with Luigi, it damages the relationships among the four girls. This development is nothing more than filler—the real heart of the novel is Violet’s forbidden romance with the remote, one-dimensional Luca. Violet seeks solace in her artwork and waits for her mother to tell her the truth. But when Violet’s parents tell her what she has long suspected, it turns out that’s not the end of the secrets, as Violet and readers learn in a credulity-straining twist. Violet’s character is fairly well-drawn, and the other girls are relatively interesting, although Kelly’s sad-sack persona quickly grates on the reader.
Unfortunately the plot moves as slowly as an Italian summer afternoon, leaving one to wonder at the lack of urgency in a novel billed as suspenseful. (Mystery/romance. 14 & up)