Published by Allen & Unwin on January 3rd 2017
Genres: Adventure, Coming of Age, Contemporary, Fiction, General, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, Young Adult, Young Adult Fiction
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What do you wear to Paris? Ami and I discussed it for hours but I still couldn't think of anything suitable. Ami said a trench coat with nothing underneath but your best underwear. That was only if some boy was meeting you at the airport, I said.Eighteen-year-old Lisette has just arrived in Paris (France!) - the city of haute couture and all things stylish - to practise her French and see great works of art. Her clairvoyant landlady Madame Christophe forces her to attend language lessons with a bunch of international students but soon Lise discovers she's more interested in studying boys than art or verbs ...When the undeniably hot Anders jogs into her life it feels too good to be true. Things get even more complicated when she is pursued by Hugo, a charming English antiques dealer.Can she take a chance and follow her own dreams? How far into the future can Madame Christophe see? And could Lise really be falling in love - in Paris?
A gap year in Paris sounds like a dream come true. Seeing the sights, experiencing the culture and seeing the City of Lights in person is something Lisette and her mother have talked about for years. But who is Lisette really doing it for? Arriving in Paris with her suitcase of homemade couture and a copy of Vogue, Lise hopes to understand what is is about the city which has made her mother a passionate Francophile. With a quirky clairvoyant landlady as Lise’s guide, she begins to see Paris from the eyes of a Parisian. The longer Lise spends in the city her heart is opened to the world and she begins to question her future and the path she has planned out for herself.
Lisette’s Paris Notebook combines many of the things I love about young adult fiction. Fun characters with their own eccentricities as well as people who are questioning their place in the world. Add in the exotic city of Paris beautifully described by Bateson through Lise’s eyes and you’re onto a winner.
Lise is someone I enjoyed following as she made her way though the Parisian streets. Her relationship with her mother is complicated. It has only been the two of them for Lise’s entire life. Now that she’s legally an adult and graduated from high school, their lives are about to change. Lise’s mum is off screen for the novel yet she’s a driving force in Lise’s Paris adventure. As an eighteen year old character, there were times when Lise did read a little young but at the same time I felt she was a believable teenager and I sympathised with her cause.
Paris is famous for being the City of Love and Lise did experience her own romantic complications whilst staying there. There is the enigmatic Anders, a German artist Lise meets in a language class. He’s the kind of boy Lise could imagine having a summer love story with. But there’s also Hugo, an Englishman in the antiques trade who is the opposite of Anders in so many ways yet he has more in common with Lise than she ever could have imagined.
The romance side of Lise’s adventure was interesting and did set up other parts of her story yet there was times when I felt it overshadowed everything else in her life. The boys are fun to read about but I wanted to read more about what Lise wanted out of her future rather than which boy she was more attracted to.
When it comes down to it, this is a book about growing up, learning to work out what is most important in life and living your life for yourself – not for anybody else. It’s a little superficial at times but the overall message shone through in the end.
Lisette’s Paris Notebook is an entertaining read about fun, fashion and falling in love with the City of Lights.
Many thanks to Allen and Unwin for the review copy.