Friday, December 21, 2018

Secrets in Translation by Margo Sorenson (Review)

This was such a fun book to read! And, of course, being set in Italy and with Italian phrases interspersed throughout its pages, I felt right at home reading this YA novel.

Book Details:

Book Title: Secrets in Translation by Margo Sorenson
Category: YA Fiction, 244 pages
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Regal House Publishing
Release date: October 1, 2018
Content Rating: G (mild kissing)

Book Description:

In this celebration of Italian life and culture, seventeen-year-old Alessandra returns for the summer to Italy, where she grew up. Pressured by her parents into babysitting a rebellious twelve year old—ruining holiday plans with newfound American friends—Alessandra resigns herself to a tedious summer in Positano. Her babysitting gig, however, turns out to be anything but boring! Not only does Alessandra fall for the handsome son of the Bertolucci family, renowned for their limoncello production, but when a body mysteriously turns up on the beach, the influence of organized crime in Positano becomes frighteningly real. As Alessandra is drawn further into an elaborate conspiracy, she must risk everything to protect herself, her family, and those she loves, and in the process finds herself—and her Italian heart.

My Review:
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

This was such a fun book to read! And, of course, being set in Italy and with Italian phrases interspersed throughout its pages, I felt right at home reading this YA novel.

Alessandra is an American who grew up in Italy, so when her family returns to the US and she attends high school, she finds herself trying to fit in within a culture that is different from the one in Italy. Just as she thinks she is getting to be more "American-like" her parents decide to send her back to Italy for a summer in Positano on the Amalfi coast to be a companion to a snarky 12 year-old girl. It's a summer in which she will: fall in love, discover how influential the Mafia is, and come to accept her bicultural identity.

Being the child of Italian immigrants, I can certainly relate to being from two different cultures. Unlike Alessandra, I love this aspect of my identity but I could understand how hard it could be and there were times I experienced the same feelings she did as a teen. The author captured the moodiness of tweens and teens quite well all while transporting us to Positano's sunny village and coast. And it's the first time I read a novel with well constructed Italian phrases! Most novels set in Italy end up butchering my maternal language with bad translation. It was clear the author understood well the Italian language and culture.

Alessandra's summer adventure reminded me of the summer I spent in Rome when I was 18. I discovered I could switch from being the "l'Americana" girl to one who could speak fluent Italian and fool shop owners who would say things thinking I did not understand them. I chuckled when I read Alessandra would do the same thing. Needless to say, this book touched a cord in me, reminding me of my own memorable summer in Italy as a teen and my own Italian heritage.

If you like YA novels that transport you to sunny Italy where a young woman comes-of-age, this is a perfect beach read or one to savor as an armchair traveller in front of a cozy fire.

Disclosure: Thanks to the author for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.

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About the Author:

Author of twenty-eight books, Margo Sorenson was born in Washington, DC, and spent the first seven years of her life in Spain and Italy, devouring books and Italian food. She finished her school years in California, graduating from the University of California at Los Angeles. After teaching high school and middle school and raising a family of two daughters, Margo is now a full-time writer, writing primarily for young people of all ages, toddlers through high schoolers. Margo enjoys writing for young readers since she believes they are ready for new ideas and experiences, and they really have fun "living" the lives of the characters in books. A National Milken Educator Award recipient, Margo always has a great time meeting with her readers in person or via Skype in school and library settings from Minnesota to California and Hawaii, as well as internationally.

Besides winning recognition and awards for her books from various groups, including the American Library Association, Margo was invited to donate and archive her working papers with the internationally-known children's literature collection, the Kerlan Collection, at the University of Minnesota. After having lived in Hawaii, California, and Minnesota, Margo and her husband now live full-time in California. When she isn't writing, she enjoys visiting her grandchildren, playing golf, reading, watching sports, traveling, and hearing from her readers. Margo's newest book, a YA/Adult novel titled SECRETS IN TRANSLATION, will be published in 2018 by Fitzroy Books. Her latest picture book, SPAGHETTI SMILES, was released in 2014 by Pelican Publishing.
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  1. This sounds super cute! I love that it's a clean, upbeat read. I'm definitely going to check it out.

  2. Thank you all so much! Your answers mean so much! Grazie mille per tutto!


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