Aix Marks the Spot, by S.E. Anderson

unapolojaytic's review

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I received an ARC of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5
When I was looking through NetGalley’s Read Now selection, I was immediately intrigued by the title of this book. You see, I’m French, so when I see people talking about France without it being centred on Paris, I’m pleased. Not that I don’t like Paris, but the country has some much more to offer than the Eiffel Tower. And this is one of the strongest messages I got from this book.

Jamie’s dad is French and he and her mom met in Aix en Provence while going to university. But neither of them has been back since before Jamie was born and they moved to Philadelphia. Her dad hasn’t even spoken to his mother in seventeen years. But when Jamie’s mother gets in an accident and needs space to go through Physical therapy, Jamie is sent to spend her summer with her French grandmother, whom she has never met and can’t even communicate properly with. As she readies herself for the worst summer of her life, Jamie meets Valentin, a local French boy who agrees to help her retrace the steps of her parents falling in love.

If you’re looking for a book that will make you leave reality to go traipsing around the south of France, this is it. In it, you’ll find family drama, language confusion, south of France scenery, falling in love, a treasure hunt, and most of all, a lesson on the importance of communication.

All in all, this was a pretty good book. I loved getting to see a bit of my own country through the eyes of a newcomer, it made me want to plan a trip with friends to see all the place mentioned in the story (maybe that’ll happen once this whole covid thing is over, who’s with me?). Anderson’s writing sucks you in and makes every landscape extremely vivid, I could hear the cicadas chirping in my head and smell the lavender all around me.

This might be the perfect book if you’re longing for summer adventures and a lovely love story spanning two generations.

bookswithmichellee's review

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Thank you to the author for providing me with a free digital copy of this book for exchange for an honest review.

Jamie was sent away to spend the summer with her grandmother, Mamie, in Provence, France after her mother is recovering from an accident. Stuck inside with her grandmother who doesn't talk to her and no Wi-Fi finds a letter in one of her father's old books. The letter, which is older than Jamie, details a treasure hunt for his and her mother's 6-month anniversary. The problem? Jamie doesn't know where the clue is telling her to go and wouldn't be able to ask anyone with her lack of French knowledge. In comes, Valentin, a cute French boy she meets in the market that knows English. The two decide to take on the hunt for the treasure but run into problems along the way.

This was such a great summer read! Anderson's writing was great. She did a great job of describing the scenery and setting so well, I wish I was in Provence. I really enjoyed learning about France through the adventures Jamie and Valentin went on while trying to find the clues. I enjoyed the intermingling of French throughout the novel but wish that there was a bit more of a translation, at least for first time it was said. I do know some French but at times I was a little confused, but it helped me find the translation feature on Kindle LOL. I really liked how this used second-person POV style at points, it's unique and hard to do right but it was done right here.

The storyline was really cute. It was great to see the struggle between Jamie and Mamie and Jamie's parents. Family conflict can make an interesting plot. I really loved to see the friendship bud between Jamie and Valentin. He was there for Jamie when she needed him but was also not afraid to tell her when she's wrong or something she needs to hear. The ending was a perfect wrap to the story.

literaryprincess's review

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ARC provided by Netgalley for review.

Aix Marks The Spot is a semi-road trip scavenger hunt romance following Jaime, an American teen who spends an adventurous, romantic summer in her grandmother’s hometown in France.

The travel story is the highlight of this book. Following Jaime along on her journey as she discovers the culture and landscape of France is such a fun adventure. The lush descriptions of landmarks, food, and experiences that Jaime and her new friend and love interest Valentin go through make this book a fun summer read for people wanting a mental vacation to a fun destination.

Unfortunately, the rest of the story falls flat for me.

Our protagonist’s main conflict is that she doesn’t speak French, much to the chagrin of her grandmother. About half of this book’s conversations are in French and only some are given translation or context, so I’m just as lost and confused as our protagonist; it really takes away from a reader’s comprehension of the story as a whole. There are so many conversations happening in (gratuitous, at times) untranslated French where we gain nothing but confusion and a lack of comprehension.

Jamie herself is a very self-loathing protagonist, and because she perceives the whole world as being against her and lets that control most of her actions throughout the story, it’s hard to root for her.

I had hope for Valentin to give her a sense of belonging and trust in this foreign landscape, and though we do get hints of their chemistry at times, for a majority of the story he seems almost lifeless.

I can’t connect with our main characters at all at all; their emotions change at the flip of a switch (or a flip of a page, more appropriately) and their motivation and feelings are all over the place. One moment they have mutual romantic feelings, the next, one of them wants to bail on their scavenger hunt adventure, the next, they never want to speak to each other again, and in the next paragraph they’re back to bated breaths and blushing.

I can say, however, that if you are looking for a quick-paced, easy YA romance, Aix Marks the Spot is a decent read for someone exploring the genre.

reese_haleth's review

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I really enjoyed this book! I flew through it and it kept my attention the entire time. Having visited France myself last year, I related a lot to Jamie, the main character, and her struggles with jetlag, culture shock, not being able to understand the language, and being embarrassed by other Americans! (Sometimes we are seriously the worst). The descriptions of France are so beautifully detailed you can almost feel the breeze, hear the cicadas, and smell the fresh bread from the boulangerie. You can definitely tell that the author grew up there. While the main plot of a treasure hunt was fun and engaging, I also enjoyed the exploration of damaged relationships and how to heal from them. I have to admit, I was a little annoyed at Jamie for some of the book, but she learned from her mistakes and apologized, and by the end of the book I was a fan of both her and Valentin, the cute french boy Jamie falls for. Valentin is the absolute sweetest, and I enjoyed watching Jamie and Valentin's relationship grow. (Actual rating 4.5)

readwithethel's review

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A real postcard of Provence with lots of humour and love

Key words: Romance, Provence, French, treasure hunt, love, family, contemporary, travel

This book, written by [a:S.E. Anderson|16568264|S.E. Anderson|], is like walking into a postcard of Provence. It has so many great descriptions (not too long, don’t worry) of the landscape that the main character, Jamie, saw. I really enjoyed it. The best thing was being able to visualise most of the places as I have already visited them before. Moreover, I was really enjoying the fact that I speak French and could understand the French sentences that sometimes appeared in the text. I was trying to imagine what someone not speaking French would think about it. I liked the characters a lot, especially Jamie and Valentin (my new love) but sometimes Jamie, as she grows during the book, was annoying me, like I couldn’t wait for her to understand her mistakes and the situation. I also liked the writing a lot, it was really easy to read and I often laughed. A friend already asked to borrow it so I’m happy. Finally, I have to say that this edition was really nice; the first page of each chapter is really cute and I liked the feeling of the book.
I absolutely recommend it.


booktiamo's review

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I really loved this book. It's so easy to read, I loved the treasure hunt aspect and how it helped Jamie, find out what she wanted and who she was.
A great summer read!

cathy_acasefullofbooks's review

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As this was an advanced copy, I'm going to review based on the plot alone. I will say, I hope this went through another round (or two or three) of edits. There were so many typos and phrasing problems and just plain missing words in sentences that it was a bit frustrating to read. None of the other ARCs I've received have ever had this many issues.

That being said, for the story itself, the book was a solid 3.5 stars. It reminded me a lot of 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson, which I adored. Jamie was relatable, her adventures were fun, and her relationship with all of the different people in her life - Valentin, Jazz, Mamie, and her parents - were each given the spotlight at one point or another. I do wish we'd seen more of Jazz. I feel like she could have been one of my favorite characters. But the growth of every relationship was very satisfying.

I also really enjoyed the setting. You bet Provence is now on my list of places to visit someday! It sounds absolutely dreamy.

*I received a digital ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

jgarnier's review

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I like the story line but I couldn't get connected to the characters.
I cant read or speak french so I found it difficult at times and found myself skipping over the conversations and translations.
The writing was sometimes difficult to interpret and found myself rereading lines as the story was sometimes told as If Jamie was speaking to her mother as if she had been deceased (which she had not).
I absolutely adore the cover and the maps within each chapters, added a nice touch.

itsallnovel's review

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Thank you so much to net galley for sending me a copy of this book. I did enjoy this book book in some ways but not on others. I felt like the MC didn’t care about almost anything and that really rubbed me the wrong way. Almost brat like

thekaleidoscopebookshelf's review

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Aix Marks The Spot By Sarah Anderson

Rating 3.5 / 5 Stars

Publication Date - 6/16/2020

** Thank you to Netgalley, Seabreeze Books, and of course, Sarah Anderson, for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I absolutely adored this book. Every time I consider myself “aged out” of YA Romance, It shocks me and pulls me right back in. The premise was the reason i requested this book as I am someone who loves to travel and experience new places and experiences.

Aix details Jamie’s life as she dreams of summers with her best friend meeting cute boys, expressing herself in art, and feeling free as she coasts down the road feeling the freedom brush through her hair. What wasn’t on that list of dreams? Getting into a car accident.

After her mother is injured, Jamie is sent to France, Provance to be exact and forced into living with her French grandmother who is virtually a stranger to her. As someone who has been France, I was so impressed with the way Anderson depicted the beautiful country. Someone who had not been would be able to feel like they could smell the lavender fields of Provance through the pages.

Enter Valentin, who begins to help Jamie learn and translate French while she searches for the treasure she believes might help her family. After willing to accompany her, The relationship of Valentin and Jamie shows cultural differences, love, heartbreak, and the quest to find one’s self while also trying to help those around you.

In my mind, the ending was a bit rushed, and that is the only reason I am giving this book a 3.5 instead of 4. The setting, characters, and storyline all provide a well-rounded novel, one which makes me want to book a flight to France ASAP!