This full-length novel by debut author Natalie Blitt is a pitch-perfect blend of Stephanie Perkins and Miranda Kenneally that proves the age-old adage: opposites attract. Seventeen-year-old Abby has only one goal for her summer: to make sure she is fluent in French—well, that, and to get as far away from baseball and her Cubs-obsessed family as possible. A summer of culture and language, with no sports in sight. That turns out to be impossible, though, because her French partner is the exact kind of boy she was hoping to avoid. Eight weeks. 120 hours of class. 80 hours of conversation practice with someone who seems to wear baseball caps and jerseys every day. But Zeke in French is a different person than Zeke in English. And Abby can’t help but fall for him, hard. As Abby begins to suspect that Zeke is hiding something, she has to decide if bridging the gap between who she is and who he is is worth the risk.
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What worked: I totally loved this contemporary love story with it's mix of French, bantering, secrets, and half-truths. There is much more than romance going on. Abby's borderline obsession with French is her way of distancing herself from hurt that has happened to her in the past. She doesn't want anything to do with baseball. Period. I liked her and could relate with her over the top behavior that is like a wall she puts up to protect herself.
Zeke is cute but mysterious. I had my doubts about his true purpose at the beginning and kind of figured out what he might be hiding. Still, I bought the romance that started off as indifferent( Abby hates his baseball T-shirts to the point of making a bargain with him). The scene at the Chutes and Lattes place is so teasing, it's hurtful. The tension between these two is strong. Loved the chemistry!
There's also her room mate Alice that has panic attacks. I felt these were shown in a very realistic light. I also have to deal with them and know how debilitating they can be. There are scenes where Abby and Zeke help her especially with an open poetry reading. The only thing is I would have loved to have read one of her poems though I know this isn't really her story.
Loved the banter between her and her baseball obsessed brothers! And that ring tone on her cell! Too hilarious!
Sweet tale filled with engaging characters that whisks readers off to a romance where opposites do in fact attract. A charming debut.
2. LOVED the chemistry