“Wish You Were Italian” by Kristin Rae
3 out of 5 stars.
Pippa has always wanted to travel to Italia and experience the culture and explore the sights, but when her parents decide to send her ship her off to an art school for the summer, Italy doesn’t sound quite so appealing. Who wants to spend their entire summer vacation in Italy stuck in a stuffy classroom learning about art instead of seeing and experiencing it for real? Pippa’s outlook on her summer is gloomy at best until she comes up with a plan.
Pippa decides that life is too short to waste in a classroom when she could be out and about, exploring one of the most beautiful countries (in her opinion) on earth. On her adventurous, albeit rebellious, journey, Pippa meets many different characters along the way, some of whom befriend her. From historic Rome to beautiful Cinque Terre, “Wish You Were Italian” takes a reader on this teenage girl’s whirlwind journey of self discovery where unexpected friendships and romance await her.
I’m sad to say that I greatly disliked the main female character, Pippa, in this book and I thought that she was really foolish. One of the reasons why I was not a fan was how she handled different situations she was put in or got herself into. Yes, I’m sorry, Pippa, that you’re stuck in Italy and have to learn about art; it is your parents’ passion and not your own, so I get that. I also get that you want to exploring everything around you instead of being closed up in a classroom. But did you really need to ditch school, run off without telling your parents, and start hanging out with complete strangers in a foreign country? Oh, and Pippa also traveled from Rome up the cost to Cinque Terre with a girl, Chiara, who she had just met. Did I mention that she did so without the slightest hesitation? Have you ever heard of human-trafficing or serial killers, Pippa? I know those are dark thoughts, but honestly, you are a girl ALL ALONE in a foreign country, and you decide to tag along with a person you’ve know for about twenty-four hours? I find that to be a bit stupid, but whatever. I know that at some point in most of our lives we dream about doing something adventurous, but that did not seem like a safe or smart thing to do. Granted, this is a fictional book, but still… Okay, now that I’ve stated the reasons why I found Pippa annoying, let’s talk about the things I that I did like about “Wish You Were Italian.”
Kristin Rae has a gift for descriptions. Her writing painted such beautiful and clear descriptions of Italy that I felt like I was there. Sometimes when I read a book and I don’t like the main character, I can’t enjoy the descriptions of the world or setting. But with “Wish You Were Italian,” the descriptions of Italy completely overshadowed the fact that I wasn’t a fan of Pippa. It was gorgeous, stunning, and lifelike the way Kristin wrote about the country, and I loved every moment of this Italian setting.
Another aspect of “Wish You Were Italian” that made up for the more than lacking Pippa, was the side characters. Chiara was cool in an intense Italian kind of way, and I did like how Kristin Rae dispersed a little of the Italian language in this book. I felt like I could hear their accents, and it really made me want to learn the language. I also thought that the American boy that Pippa met was sweet.
Overall, “Wish You Were Italian” was a cute, light summer read that was surprisingly enjoyable. If you want to take a trip to Italy for a small fee of $9.99, this is the book to buy!