Michele Ashman Bell has authored more than 20 published books, but Summer in Paris is her first book intended for the national audience.
From the back cover:
"I declared bankruptcy this morning. We've lost everything." Kenzie's father took a breath and continued. "We have thirty days to auction off our belongings and move out of the house."
Kenzie's mouth dropped open with disbelief. "Bankrupt," she whispered. That one word had the power to reduce her life from chauffers and credit cards to nothing.
"While we sort this out," her father continued, "we've made arrangements for you to stay with your aunt and uncle in Paris."
Paris. That wouldn't be so bad.
But wait . . . her uncle didn't live in Europe. He lived in Idaho.
So begins Kenzie Williams's fall from New York ballerina to Idaho farmhand.
I found the book to be pretty entertaining, though I didn't feel there was anything really original or fresh about it. I also felt like Kenzie's transition to farm life was a little too easy to be realistic. And I do have a pet peeve about authors keeping information from the reader that the protagonist obviously knows, which Bell does near the end.
Still, overall, it was a nice, light read, which is sometimes a good thing when all you've been reading about for a while is vampires and genetic manipulation and werewolves and Afghan history and wizards and dying cancer patients and post-apocalyptic dystopian societies. Not that that's what I'd been doing or anything. ;o)
I wouldn't feel comfortable recommending most of the books I've been reading lately to my kids. Even a lot of the "young adult" books on the market right now really aren't appropriate for young adults, IMHO. But this cute little book seemed like something my daughter would enjoy, and it was clean, so I didn't have any misgivings handing it over.
She did enjoy it for the most part, though the pacing slowed down a bit for her near the end and she had a hard time getting through some of the slower parts to get to the more captivating ending. But she said there were some exciting scenes throughout the book that kept her attention, (Sorry, no spoilers) and she liked Kenzie. When I asked her if she learned anything, she replied, "Sometimes going off to a new place and having a new life isn't the worst possible thing that could happen."
So there you go. If you're looking for a fun, clean summer read for your kids, Summer in Paris might be just the ticket.