*Thank you to the publisher/Netgalley for for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influenced my opinion.*
Title: When in Rome…Find Yourself
Author: Lena Mae Hill
Publisher: Speak Now
Release: September 6, 2016
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Rory Hartnett has sworn off love, so boys will not be a distraction on her six-week study abroad trip to Rome. She has her plate full dealing with her anxiety in a foreign country, making new friends to explore the city with, taking classes, and applying for an internship at a travel e-zine. But when she meets the cute artist sharing her eccentric host mother’s lodging, all bets are off.
Fall in love with the first in a brand new series about four girls finding themselves—and maybe love—in the city of fountains. If you loved Anna and the French Kiss or Love & Gelato, you won’t want to miss this sweet New Adult series from new romance author Lena Mae Hill.
I am in a big contemporary mood and was looking for a fluffy book to make me smile and fill me with the feels; however this just missed the mark. I didn’t get that much fluff and I got a whole lot of anxiety and frustration.
This book is set in the beautiful Rome when socially awkward, Rory decides to study abroad for one of her classes. Rory struggles with anxiety and deciding to go to Rome by herself is a very huge deal. I was proud of her for making this decision to begin with and was looking forward to seeing her character development throughout the novel. With Rory having anxiety and struggling with social interactions I thought I was going to relate to her quite well. At first, I did. I felt what she felt and sympathized for her. She was in a new country around new people, of course she was going to feel overwhelmed. However, her thoughts became very repetitive. Rory would agonize over the same thing and have very similar thoughts over and over. It began to frustrate me and then triggered my own anxiety! I wanted to like Rory, I really did. Her voice was just unappealing and she had very little development. In fact, in the end I didn’t feel very much growth for her beside finally standing up to her overbearing parents.
As for our love interest, Ned, I didn’t swoon, I didn’t care, I didn’t fall in love. In fact, I didn’t even really get to know him! Plus, he smoked weed and that’s just not something I can get behind. Sorry, Dude. Ned and Rory are thrown together by staying with the same house mother while in Rome and though they spend a lot of time together, I didn’t feel a connection between the two of them. When characters told Rory that it’s so obvious that she liked Ned, I thought “How?” Was I missing something?
There were some enjoyable scenes. I really liked Theresa, Rory and Ned’s house mother. She struggles with anxiety and her own demons so severely that she is afraid to leave her own house. I would have liked to see Rory and Ned helping her feel comfortable to walk out and leave the house because her backstory was so sad! Rory really should have spent some more time interacting with her. Also, I liked when Ned took Rory out showing her around the city. I thought that was really cute. Kristina started off as a rocky character, but once she basically told Rory to grow a pair I started to like her. Rory finally felt like she was apart of the group and she had friends. It was nice to see Rory have someone who she felt she could go to for advice that was outside of her family.
The writing was clear, easy to follow and get into, but it was missing something – an extra spark. The plot felt dull and ended too abruptly. Although I had a few problems with this it was enjoyable. I just wish I could have liked it a bit more.
Side note: I wish we saw more of Ned’s art. There was a scene where Rory overhears his classmates talking about him and when they notice her one says “I wonder if she’s seen it?” Seen what? What is he doing? IT WAS NEVER ADDRESSED AGAIN!
If you enjoy this reading material, I would give it a chance. Who knows you may end up loving it. 🙂 Get it Tuesday, September 6!
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Until next time,