Sunday 18 February 2018

BOOK REVIEW - Out of the Nest: An Italian Summer by GB Amman

Out of the Nest: An Italian Summer
The Italian Saga Book 2
Author: GB Amman
Genre: MG/YA Coming of Age
Publication Date: 1st February 2016

Book Description:
Puberty: what a hot mess!

Italy, 1990. Leda is a strong-headed bookworm and a tomboy who can't fit anywhere as her world splits into girls and boys. Puberty is nonsensical and irritating until she falls victim to her first crush...

It's the summer of the 14th FIFA World Cup.
It's the summer of Leda's first kiss.
It's the summer that will change her life.

Can tomboy Leda win her fears and learn to stand up for herself? 

From periods to first kisses, pre-teens and adults alike will laugh and cry with this Italian childhood memoir set against the gorgeous backdrop of northern Italy and Tuscany.

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Lee and the gang are back for another wild adventure. Lee is off to middle school and is worried how the change will affect her friendship with the old gang. A lot is changing fast, and Lee isn't sure she likes it. The guys aren't how they were before, nor is she, it appears, as she's starting to prefer hanging out with her new friend, Sonia, as opposed to the boys. Friendships are tested and new romances are formed. Will Lee be able to survive the changes with her mind intact?

I really enjoyed this book. It was a good follow-up to the first book, and while I did like the new set of characters, I have to admit, I missed the old gang. I was hoping to see a bit more of Nico the Thug, particularly since there's a hint of chemistry between him and Lee. Although out of sight throughout most of the book, his influence on Lee was always predominant as many of her decisions were based on his impression of her and how much she's trying to prove him wrong. I don't know if any of the new characters left an impression on me, but what I did like about them was how much they challenged Lee to take risks and how much impact they had on her development, which made her come alive a lot more in this book than the first book.

This was a very hormone-driven tale, which wasn't too surprising given the kids were at that age of curiosity, but some of the topics discussed did surprise me, especially the wealth of information and knowledge some of the kids possessed. Lee often appeared mature for her age, which I did notice in the first book, but in this case, she seemed a little too mature at times, particularly when it came to her giving advice on relationships. Being as young and inexperienced as she is, her maturity sometimes came off feeling a little forced and not altogether authentic. I much preferred when she was confused and clueless as to how to handle her emotions. Take her relationship with Gio, for instance. This soon-to-be seventeen year-old hunk captures her heart at first sight, and she has no idea how to react around him. Her character shines in these moments, and that's when you truly get to connect with her. Gio was a little full on and borderline creepy, mind you. Lee was eleven, after all, so the panic and intimidation brought on by his advances came across as very genuine. I'm really warming to Lee. She's starting to feel very real.

I'm loving this series so far. I imagine there's a lot more drama and romance heading Lee's way as she approaches her teens. I have no idea what's ahead for Lee, but I'm sure it will involve chaos and heartache; what every good coming of age story needs. A jolly good read indeed.


Award: Gold
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Source: Author

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