Thursday, July 9, 2015

Review: Ana of California

Ana of California
by Andi Teran

Why did you choose this book? Loved the cover!
When did you read this book? June 2015
Who should read this book? readers who enjoy coming-of-age stories
Source: Penguin First To Read
Here is a synopsis of Ana of California from Penguin First To Read

In the grand tradition of Anne of Green Gables, Bridget Jones’s Diary, and The Three Weissmanns of Westport, Andi Teran’s captivating debut novel offers a contemporary twist on a beloved classic. Fifteen-year-old orphan Ana Cortez has just blown her last chance with a foster family. It’s a group home next—unless she agrees to leave East Los Angeles for a farm trainee program in Northern California.

When she first arrives, Ana can’t tell a tomato plant from a blackberry bush, and Emmett Garber is skeptical that this slight city girl can be any help on his farm. His sister Abbie, however, thinks Ana might be just what they need. Ana comes to love Garber Farm, and even Emmett has to admit that her hard work is an asset. But when she inadvertently stirs up trouble in town, Ana is afraid she might have ruined her last chance at finding a place to belong.

My Review

This one was just an ‘ok’ read for me. I didn’t hate it, but it was a struggle for me to get through. This is billed as an Ann of Green Gables retelling, so it’s possible that my problem is that I’ve never read Ann of Green Gables.

In some ways, this story reminded me a bit of The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbach, in that both novels centered around girls on their last chance in the foster system. However, for me, Ana was a much more likeable character than Victoria — Ana seemed to appreciate being given one more chance. There was also a similarity to Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain with the social workers in both stories being women who truly cared about their charges and tried to help.

For some reason this story never really clicked with me. There were a lot of side stories that either never really developed, or developed so slowly that by the time they came into play, I no longer cared. Even at the end, there were a lot of unanswered questions. Ironically, had this been a short story, ending after about 100 pages when Ana’s ‘trial period’ on the farm ended, I think I would have enjoyed this story much more.

My Rating:  ★★     2 Stars

I was provided an advanced review copy of this book through the Penguin First To Read program. This did not affect my opinion of the book.

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