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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

By The Seat Of Her Pants

By The Seat Of Her Pants by Jenifer Rubloff

(Summary taken from an email the author sent me)  "When Betsy Butters, American teen, vacations in Paris, from her Swiss boarding school, Château Mont Blanc, she expects to fall in love with the city, but never, with intelligent and handsome French teen, Alex Petrov. While Alex shows Betsy the city of Paris, they learn about their common likes and experiences, most teens their ages don’t share, and Betsy learns about the Petrov family’s loss in life and fortune. Betsy returns to Château Mont Blanc’s winter campus, in Crans-Montana, and makes a connection between her school and the Petrov’s chalets, misappropriated during WWII. When she experiences a freak ski accident, Interpol’s Inspector Bernard questions if it wasn’t really intentional, and what Betsy has done to cause someone to wish her bodily harm. Unflappable Betsy sets off a chain of events that puts her on a collision course with the thieves out to find the missing Petrov fortune. After more than seventy years of searching, will the treasure be recovered, and will Betsy’s detective work motivate someone to rid himself of her uncanny talents? Inspector Bernard has no clue what curious Betsy may uncover next, and worries how he will protect her until the school year ends."

This is a cute little story. I liked the characters, especially Betsy, Maria, Alex, Chip, and the Inspector. I thought they were fairly well developed and were very likable. I also liked Maria's family.  I got confused with all the girls back at school, but there were a few likable characters there as well. I liked the premise of the book, but was confused in a few places because I did not read the first book. Although it is mostly a stand-alone novel, I think it would help to read the first book. I liked Ms. Rubloff's descriptions of Paris and Switzerland, and her descriptions of the yummy food they ate. However, I did feel bombarded with descriptions and information, some of the time, and it made the book feel more like a travelogue than a novel. It almost felt like she was just trying to throw in as much information as possible.

I did enjoy the story, but I definitely think this book needs some editing. There were many punctuation, grammatical, and spelling errors that made it less enjoyable to read. The dialogue in the book drove me crazy. When the characters spoke, they always called each other by name, and in a real-life conversation that doesn't usually happen. You might use the person's name to get her attention, but after that you don't need to use her name in  each sentence. The other thing that bothered me was that the first half of the book is all about Betsy and her friend Maria in Paris. In my mind, if you invite someone to your home for Christmas break, you are really close friends. After the girls get back to Switzerland, Maria is barely mentioned, and when she is, it is more of a side note. I felt bad for Maria because she did so much for Betsy, and then Betsy didn't even acknowledge her back at school. I also didn't understand what the first part of the book had to do with the story if Maria wasn't involved in the second half. I guess it would be because of Alex. It was also hard to determine which language was being used, because Maria's family spoke Spanish, Betsy spoke English, and Alex spoke French, with a lot of French being used while they were in France. It was a little confusing sometimes.

This book was clean except for the random insertion of this awful story where Betsy is kidnapped and horrible things were done to her. I'm guessing it happened in the first book and Betsy was referencing it, but it seemed random and violent to me.

If you're looking for a cute story and some fun characters, then I recommend this book. Keep in mind my drawbacks, but I did enjoy the story.

Rating: PG-13+ (A graphic couple of paragraphs about Betsy being kidnapped, mild language)

Recommendation: 16 years and up. (I'd say 13 years and up if it weren't for those kidnapping paragraphs)

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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