Author(s): Melissa Jensen
Edition: Paperback, 293 pages
Publication Date: December 23, 2010
Source: Borrowed from library
Buy: Amazon - Barnes & Noble - Book Depository - Inkwood Books
Sixteen-year-old Catherine Vernon has been stranded in London for the summer-no friends, no ex-boyfriend Adam the Scum (good riddance!), and absolutely nothing to do but blog about her misery to her friends back home. Desperate for something-anything-to do in London while her (s)mother's off researching boring historical things, Cat starts reading the 1815 diary of Katherine Percival her mom gives her-and finds the similarities between their lives to be oddly close. But where Katherine has the whirls of the society, the parties and the gossip over who is engaged to who, Cat's only got some really excellent English chocolate. Then she meets William Percival-the uber-hot descendant of Katherine-and things start looking up . . .
I loved Melissa Jensen's sophomore book, The Fine Art of Truth or Dare, so I wanted to get my hands on her debut novel, Falling Love with English Boys. It was just as quirky, funny, and well-written as her other book, and one of my new favorites!
The story takes place in both modern London and 1800s London, revolving around two girls: Cat and Katherine. Cat has been transplanted by her mother to London in order to finish a research project her mom conducting on Katherine's family, The Percivals, a family that is part of the Ton of Regency England. While researching, Cat's mom comes across Katherine's diary, and gives it to Cat to read. Paralleling Cat's own blog posts, Katherine's life seems very similar to Cat's own: an absent father, a nosey mother, some awesome friends, and boy troubles. As Cat reads more she realizes that while she and Katherine are separated by centuries, their experiences are the same.
The writing really shines in the book. Someone could separate Cat's and Katherine's stories out and have two complete books, that is how well crafted the characters and details were. I like this particular distinction, as it really helps focus the reader into the time period. If either world was too close in tone and word choice, it would make the book disjointed. But while the stories could be separated, the similarities between the two lives creates a harmony. It sounds funny, but trust me it works.
The characters also shine. I love Cat; she's a great mix of snarky, smart, flirty, and naive, just the kind of teenager I enjoy. Along with the three girls she befriends, the awesome just grows. Of course, Will, the Percival of the modern century, is just the type of swooney English boy us American girls fall for. Each character from the modern century really made an impact to the plot. While this may be the case for Cat and Company, I didn't really connect with any other characters in the 1800s except for Katherine herself. The other characters, while important to her story, where not as interesting. But this is most likely a personal preference, as I don't enjoy very many historical fictions.
Overall, this book is full of humor, romance, and friendship, while also posing a great example that humanity, even across time, share common threads. A fun read for sumer, you won't regret picking up Melissa Jensen's Falling in Love with English Boys.
Check out Melissa Jensen's second book, and my review of, The Fine Art of Truth or Dare!
Book Cover: 4/5
Book Title: 4/5
Overall: 44/50: B+