Lively and funny, “My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century” is a pick-me-up read for anyone who is feeling a little blue or like they’ve been reading too many murder mysteries or dystopians. It’s the story of soon-to-be-sixteen-year-old Hollywood teen, Caterina Crawford. She is plagued by the reputations of her famous parents, her over-friendly stepmother who wants to throw her an undesired mega MTV Super Sweet Sixteen party, and her own need to control everything around her. As a treat for Cat, she, her dad and her stepmom-to-be go to Italy, where Cat’s mother’s family is originally from. Cat goes off to soak up the sights of Italy on her own, enters in a gypsy’s tent on a whim and then finds herself in 16th century Italy in full Renaissance garb. At first Cat is excited about the spell but soon she learns that it’s not as temporary as she thought. Which is totally not cool when you have no idea how to get home. Cat learns valuable life lessons in friendship, family and love as she navigates the 16th century.
This is a very cute, light story but it also has deeper messages that some teens will really be able to relate to. Cat is dealing with an absent mother and a father whose is now dividing his attention between her and his fiancé; Cat also wants nothing to do with her stepmom-to-be and wants to go back to being just her and her dad. Universal themes such as family and freedom can be found in this book, but Harris resists being pedantic or dull with great success. Cat is a very good main character, easy to enjoy and be sympathetic toward, and I think she reacts to her problems and the situation in a realistic manner. The rest of the cast of characters are somewhat predictable, but I like all of them, besides creepy Niccolo. But that’s what Niccolo is there for: the ick factor. I wish we could have gotten to see more of Cipriano, since I think he is interesting with his double nature: standoffish to strangers but warm and open with friends. The settings were wonderfully described, and Harris uses all of the five senses to bring the Renaissance alive for the reader.
This is an awesome light read where you can let your mind go and enjoy the antics of modern-day Cat in Renaissance Italy. It offers tidbits of historical culture, clothing and cuisine, so I think it’s great for teenage girls who have a fascination with the Renaissance Period as well as anyone who wants to pick up an enjoyable, quick book.
Thank you to NetGalley.com and Entangled Publishing for letting me read the ARC of this book!