Bea thinks she's the most boring seventeen-year-old in the world. She's not pretty or popular or funny, unlike her mother who had Bea when she was 17. The only glamorous thing about Bea is the French father who left before she was born and lives in Paris. She yearns for la vie Parisienne every moment of her dull existence.
So when Ruby Davies, the leader of her school's most elite clique picks Bea as her new best friend and asks her to go on holiday with them, she's wary but delighted. If nothing else it's two weeks away from her over-protective mother . But when the gang arrive in Spain, Bea is crushed to realise that Ruby and her posse have simply been using her.
Bea wreaks vengeance on her so-called friends, and plans to decamp to Paris to find her father. But when she falls asleep on the train and wakes up in Bilbao, she meets a group of American students who are backpacking around Europe and bonds with them straight away, especially the gorgeous Toph, who helps heal Bea's hurting heart. And though Bea has a shock in store when they finally get to Paris, the 'City of Lovers ' really works it magic on Bea and Toph, who spend a week wandering the sun-dappled streets of Paris, talking, holding hands and falling in love.
I will always go to Manning's books for a good story, a laugh and some romance. And while this is in her back catalogue, it didn't disappoint. Bea is used to being pushed around, bending to people's will just to avoid an argument. But when Ruby and the popular group use this to their advantage to have a parent-free holiday in Spain, Bea has had enough.
While the bullying was awful, nearly everything else in this story was hilarious. Bea's revenge on the girls, the tactical betrayal of their confidence, was ingenious and funny. And Bea wasn't stupid, she might have been out of her comfort zone but she knew how to handle things and right now, that was an adventure.
After dumping the girls in Spain, Bea tries to get to Paris but falls asleep on the train and fate takes over. She bumps into a group of American college kids who are travelling across Europe and there, she meets Toph. In fact, the whole gang takes her under their wing and befriends her. But Toph is special. He see's her for who she is, and more importantly, likes her for who she is. They grow closer and have an amazing summer romance. Definitely one of my favourites!
This was a great summer contemporary read, funny and romantic and hopeful. Bea doesn't give up on her dreams, no matter who was squashing them down, and proved her bullies wrong about who she was. She even got a cute boy too!
Published 4th Feburary 2010 by Hodder Children's Books.