by Rachel Harris
Published on September 18, 2012
by Entangled Teen
Connect with the author: website | Twitter.
Summary from Goodreads: On the precipice of her sixteenth birthday, the last thing lone wolf Cat Crawford wants is an extravagant gala thrown by her bubbly stepmother and well-meaning father. So even though Cat knows the family’s trip to Florence, Italy, is a peace offering, she embraces the magical city and all it offers. But when her curiosity leads her to an unusual gypsy tent, she exits . . . right into Renaissance Firenze. Thrust into the sixteenth century armed with only a backpack full of contraband future items, Cat joins up with her ancestors, the sweet Alessandra and protective Cipriano, and soon falls for the gorgeous aspiring artist Lorenzo. But when the much-older Niccolo starts sniffing around, Cat realizes that an unwanted birthday party is nothing compared to an unwanted suitor full of creeptastic amore. Can she find her way back to modern times before her Italian adventure turns into an Italian forever?My take: I've mentioned my mad love for Freaky Friday on the blog many times. I've read the book, I've seen the movies (both the Jodie Foster and the Lindsay Lohan versions) and I count Borris Harris as one of my favorite book guys of all time. So I'm always up for a comical story about switching bodies and/or lives.
My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century was such a fun story! Jaded Hollywood teen Cat Crawford is visiting Florence with her dad and stepmother when she steps into a gypsy tent and -- poof! -- she's transported back to the Renaissance, where everyone thinks she's a British girl named Patience. It was so much fun to watch Cat struggle to survive without indoor plumbing, meet her adorable cousin Alessandra, try to speak without twenty-first century slang, and fall in love. Cat was a great character -- funny and headstrong, but with enough vulnerability to make her relatable. This book had me smiling from start to finish, and I was only happy to get to the last page because I knew I had this companion book waiting for me:
by Rachel Harris
To be published on August 6, 2013
By Entangled Teen
Source: received an e-ARC from the publisher via NetGalley. You can read my full FTC disclosure on right sidebar.
Summary from Goodreads: Alessandra D’Angeli is in need of an adventure. Tired of her sixteenth-century life in Italy and homesick for her time-traveling cousin, Cat, who visited her for a magical week and dazzled her with tales of the future, Alessandra is lost. Until the stars hear her plea. One mystical spell later, Alessandra appears on Cat’s Beverly Hills doorstep five hundred years in the future. Surrounded by confusing gadgets, scary transportation, and scandalous clothing, Less is hesitant to live the life of a twenty-first century teen…until she meets the infuriating—and infuriatingly handsome—surfer Austin Michaels. Austin challenges everything she believes in…and introduces her to a world filled with possibility. With the clock ticking, Less knows she must live every moment of her modern life while she still can. But how will she return to the drab life of her past when the future is what holds everything she’s come to love?
My take: Alessandra (or "Less" as Cat likes to call her) completely won my heart in My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century. She's innately sweet and incredibly loyal. A character like that might sound dull, but I found her endearing and charming. In A Tale of Two Centuries, she's also funny -- okay, sometimes unintentionally funny -- as she tries to puzzle out some of the weirder aspects of 21st century life, like our clothing, slang, and popular culture.
When Alessandra enrolls in Cat's Hollywood high school, she meets the infuriating and handsome Austin Michaels, surfer and slacker. I know I'm in the minority here, but am not always the biggest fan of "gorgeous jerk" characters and found Austin a little moody -- aloof, angry, flirtatious, rebellious, protective. There's an explanation given, which helped. And I did think that Alessandra brought out the best in him.
One of the things I liked most about this story was that it introduced the element of choice. In My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century, Cat pretty much gets transported back and forth in time against her will. In this book, Alessandra knows what happened to Cat, and, after a big life disappointment, decides to try time travel. Then, when she's happily ensconced in her new life, she has to face the consequences of what she's done. I thought it was great that this aspect of each book changed to fit the needs of the main character. Cat didn't have much choice in the first book, but she needed to learn to loosen her control -- to be more trusting and open to other people, while Alessandra needed to learn to gain control -- to stand up for herself and trust her instincts.
While I had an idea about how My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century was going to end, A Tale of Two Centuries (and its Dickensian title) had me in suspense up to the last page. If you're love books that are finn, touching and romantic, definitely try these out!