Things That Happened Before the Earthquake
Welcome to LA? Nineties' Hollywood gets an Italian makeover in this poignant and ruefully funny coming-of-age novel featuring a teenage girl who's on shaky ground in more ways than one.Mere weeks after the 1992 riots that laid waste to Los Angeles, Eugenia, a typical Italian teenager, is rudely yanked from her privileged Roman milieu by her hippieish filmmaker parents and transplanted to the strange suburban world of the San Fernando Valley. With only the Virgin Mary to call on for guidance as her parents struggle to make it big, Hollywood fashion, she must navigate her huge new public high school, complete with Crips and Bloods and Persian gang members, and a car-based environment of 99-cent stores and obscure fast-food franchises and all-night raves. She forges friendships with Henry, who runs his mother's movie memorabilia store, and the bewitching Deva, who introduces her to the alternate cultural universe that is Topanga Canyon. And then the 1994 earthquake rocks the foundations not only of Eugenia's home but of the future she'd been imagining for herself.

Things That Happened Before the Earthquake Details

TitleThings That Happened Before the Earthquake
Author
FormatHardcover
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseAug 15th, 2017
PublisherDoubleday Books
ISBN0385542275
ISBN-139780385542272
Number of pages320 pages
Rating
GenreFiction, Historical, Cultural, Italy, Young Adult

Things That Happened Before the Earthquake Review

  • Navidad Thelamour
    June 1, 2017
    Chiara Barzini’s Things That Happened Before the Earthquake was a novel built on a plausible premise, an exploration of assimilation into American culture through the eyes of an Italian teenager coming of age. I neither loved nor hated this novel, but I could see where the author was trying to go, and there did exist moments where I appreciated the bravery of her writing. Eugenia’s parents come to the U.S. with stars in their eyes, hoping to make it big as filmmakers in L.A. They’re free-spirite Chiara Barzini’s Things That Happened Before the Earthquake was a novel built on a plausible premise, an exploration of assimilation into American culture through the eyes of an Italian teenager coming of age. I neither loved nor hated this novel, but I could see where the author was trying to go, and there did exist moments where I appreciated the bravery of her writing. Eugenia’s parents come to the U.S. with stars in their eyes, hoping to make it big as filmmakers in L.A. They’re free-spirited in a truly European way, being shocked at the citations they receive for sunbathing topless on the beach and bewildered by things like private healthcare. They buy a Cadillac to fit in and change their wardrobe upon arrival, not wanting to be typecast as Italian gringos, wanting to fit in and instantly conform into their new surroundings.Eugenia, is a typical teenager in a lot of ways. Aside from the fact that she has to worry about whether or not she’ll be threatened with deportation in American customs at the airport—and the fact that L.A. natives keep confusing her Italian heritage with French, which acutely annoys her—she searches for her own identity in much the same way as many teenage girls raised in the dazzling lights of a big city. She’s needy, clingy to people who often have little interest in her, exploring her surroundings and individuality through her newfound sexuality, the occasional recreational drug and a pretty consistent series of adventures brought on by risky, naïve behavior. She’s hungry for positive attention, desperate to find herself and fit in, from the “pump up” sneakers she thought would be cool to wear her first day of school (the other girls, she finds, have already graduated to wearing heels) to the slew of sexual trysts and arguably degrading positions she finds herself in. There are times when I questioned whether Eugenia was fearless or stupid, brave or simply naïve—but that is what coming of age is, isn’t it? A combination of all these things in its own right. Several of the scenes came off as memories of my own high-school experiences, of the other students around me all struggling to fit in and claim our places in the hierarchy that exists in every American school. Still, there were times where some of the scenes came off as uncomfortable and strange to me—but those were the moments when Barzini’s own fearlessness as a writer was on full display. A key note to consider about this novel is that Things That Happened Before the Earthquake is exactly what this book felt like: things that happened. The plot was pretty loose, and, for the most part, simply read like a series of events—misadventures if you will—that happened to a teenage girl after moving from her native Rome to the scorching Los Angeles, California, just after the riots brought on by the beating of Rodney King in ’92. With that in mind, the setting was rich, the landscape described down to the detail so that you could feel the grit in the Valley air, smell the salt of the sea on the shores of Italy. This novel was punctuated by pop culture events, like milestones that moved the story along on a timeline. The earthquake of 94’, the election of Silvo Berlusconi, O.J. Simpson and the white Bronco, gun to his head. It’s all seen through the eyes of Eugenia, commented on by a voice still trying to find itself. And that did have its own appeal, for sure. Here you’ll find a slow read driven by finding oneself in the midst of chaos, rather than being heavily driven by plotting, irony, or plot twists. That will appeal to a lot of readers. It was a book that read at a lulling pace but that still had its share of shocking, difficult and awkward moments that pierced through the lull. The characters were flawed in a way that seemed real, authentic, unaffected and devoid of pretenses, and for that readers can be grateful, because that can be hard to find. Fiction is littered with unthought-out stereotypes masquerading as engaging characters, but you won’t find a graveyard of those typecast bones here. Things That Happened had a sort of hippie-ish soul to it, exploring the crevices of Italian culture and how they made assimilation into American society both difficult and noteworthy at the same time. Barzini was at times bold in her depictions of what unaffected thinking sounds like, what authentic living looks like, from “making out” with your grandmother, to rave parties in the middle of the desert to an inside glimpse of commune life. And, the cover art is phenomenal! (5 stars for that!) But, the slowness of the read couldn’t always hold my attention, and the loose plotting failed to grab me the way I wanted to be held by this story within these pages. For that, I award a solid 3 stars. **** I received an advance-read copy of this book from the publisher, Doubleday, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.**To see more reviews, go to The Navi Review at www.thenavireview.com, and follow the blog on Twitter @thenavireview
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  • Irena
    March 12, 2017
    It's too early for me to review and rate this book, since it's coming out in August.But I wouldn't be me if I wouldn't tell you just a few, brief things.First of all: although the main character of this novel is a teenager (16 to 17 through the period that the story covers) this is not a ya book.I would classify it as general fiction set in 90's.The earthquake the title is references is the one that happened in 1994 in L.A.This book has only 320 pages but it reads slowly. The reason - I blame th It's too early for me to review and rate this book, since it's coming out in August.But I wouldn't be me if I wouldn't tell you just a few, brief things.First of all: although the main character of this novel is a teenager (16 to 17 through the period that the story covers) this is not a ya book.I would classify it as general fiction set in 90's.The earthquake the title is references is the one that happened in 1994 in L.A.This book has only 320 pages but it reads slowly. The reason - I blame the writing style that is full of tells and has so little shows, and even less conversations.While reading I felt uncomfortable more then few times:1. The way the main character Eugenia lost her virginity made me feel nervous because, in my opinion, she was sexually assaulted, even though she didn't want to admit it to herself (WARNING: That scene can be triggering)2. Eugenia's prayers to Holy Mary where she talked about sex 3. Scenes with strong animal abuse were the worst to read about (but they had their meaning in this story).Overall, a good, solid coming of age story that talks about finding a safe place and ourselves along the way, set 1990s when human life (in my humble opinion) was at it's best.
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  • Lolly K Dandeneau
    April 4, 2017
    via my blog: https://bookstalkerblog.wordpress.com/This is a novel to add to your reading list- forthcoming“How could my father become rich and famous if he surrounded himself with cheapness?”The beauty of this novel is that Eugenia and her family are foreigners with stars in there eyes, ready to have success in America as filmmakers. The stars act as blinders to the reality of their situation and forges trust in people that aren’t quite who they say they are. That her parents are ‘sort of hippi via my blog: https://bookstalkerblog.wordpress.com/This is a novel to add to your reading list- forthcoming“How could my father become rich and famous if he surrounded himself with cheapness?”The beauty of this novel is that Eugenia and her family are foreigners with stars in there eyes, ready to have success in America as filmmakers. The stars act as blinders to the reality of their situation and forges trust in people that aren’t quite who they say they are. That her parents are ‘sort of hippies’ is evident in the openness of the household, not always exposing their kids to the best people in order to make their film. Eugenia is not your typical American kid, and being torn from her homeland Italy and plopped down in San Fernando Valley trying to fit in with dangerous kids in her public school isn’t the Hollywood life she imagined. Before she finds friendship with Henry, she has secret encounters with Arash, a Persian student who ‘sort of’ protects her. The fact she is warned against telling anyone about their time together exposes the hungry desperation Eugenia feels at school, she goes along with it welcoming the sexual trysts. But in a place where gangs face off, and boys prove themselves anytime someone ‘steps up’ something tragic is bound to happen. When tragedy strikes, she becomes enthralled with Deva- a young girl truly living a hippy existence with her father and brother. Deva is a child of communes and music, Eugenia falls in love with every cell of her being, thrown off by Deva’s strange bond with her controlling father. Forced to work on his music, the lines between love and abuse blur and Eugenia isn’t really sure what she knows or understands about Deva. While her own parents struggle to make a film, failing miserably, she is far more invested in becoming a part of Deva’s world.In part two, Eugenia and her brother return home to the most isolated island of the Aeolian archipelago for a visit, while their parents try to recover from the difficulties of their first year in California. This was my favorite part of the entire novel, though there is brutality, cruelty in the relationship between the island’s handyman Santino and his wife Rosalia. The carefree nudity, the ‘rough island living’ made me feel like I was there. The friendship Eugenia strikes up with Rosalia by bringing her newfound “Americanism” into their household is a catalyst for danger and violence. Too, there is charm about the island, the descriptions of the land and water, and the locals set a gorgeous mood. You could almost smell the salty air and feel the cool water. It’s a strange see saw effect, because the reader is lulled by the ocean and horrified with the simmering tensions. It feels like another novel, and it follows because going from Italy to California may as well be another life entirely. Part Two serves as a look at the changes taking place within Eugenia, you never return home the same as when you left. Her perception of her own culture changes after a short time in America.Every character has issues, whether of the physical or emotional sort. There are a lot of awkward moments of hungry, humiliating desperation to either fit in or be loved. Eugenia’s parent’s dream seems to be sinking the family, and Eugenia is lost on the chaos of the confusion, coming of age, trying to figure out who she is, how to love, what future she longs for without much guidance. Being that her family chooses to come to America and make their film after the violent riots in Los Angeles gives a strange effect to the story. There is a lot happening here, normally it would make for a messy novel but instead it contributes to the confusion Eugenia feels adjusting to her life in America. They are all on shaky ground before the big earthquake. When the quake finally occurs the question is, what can Eugenia take from the rubble of her life? This was really good, it’s more than just an Italian family taking on Hollywood. It’s a desperate coming of age with sexual complications. Add this to your reading list, it won’t be available until August.Publication Date: August 15, 2017Doubleday Books
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  • Heather Fineisen
    March 13, 2017
    This is really all about seeking a safe place and not finding it in Los Angeles or an Italian island. The main character makes some cringe inducing decisions while she searches for her safeplace in the wrong places. Yet the main character is likable in her vulnerability and you can't help but root for those in her mad cap family circle. Sad and scary, a good coming of age story while mirroring the history of LA from Rodney King to O.J. Simpson.Provided by Net Galley
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  • Francesca Marciano
    May 17, 2017
    Barzini writes a wonderful account of what is like to be a teenager in the Valley when her parents move the family from Italy to California . An unusual coming of age written from the point of you of an Italian girl who has landed in the heart of America too soon for her to decipher the rules and feel at home. Hilarious and heart wrenching, fearless in its honesty, this is a fictional memoir like no other.
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  • Kasa Cotugno
    June 26, 2017
    LA through the lens of an Italian teenager whose self-absorbed parents move from Rome, following the Hollywood dream. Given an extraordinary amount of freedom, Eugenia is free to explore the San Fernando Valley and beyond -- as she puts it, her father believed that putting his family in danger (throw the baby in the pool and he will survive) attitude will form protective armor. The opening passage is hysterical, sets the tone. The family, including Grandma, is nude bathing, illegally, at Malibu, LA through the lens of an Italian teenager whose self-absorbed parents move from Rome, following the Hollywood dream. Given an extraordinary amount of freedom, Eugenia is free to explore the San Fernando Valley and beyond -- as she puts it, her father believed that putting his family in danger (throw the baby in the pool and he will survive) attitude will form protective armor. The opening passage is hysterical, sets the tone. The family, including Grandma, is nude bathing, illegally, at Malibu, not understanding you just don't do this is America. For the most part, Eugenia forges her life alone, and the contacts she makes are hers alone. Wonderful depictions of Topanga Canyon, the grid of the Valley, desert raves, and various characters living out various tragedies and comedies. I can only hope for a sequel to cover the next 20 years in her life.
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  • Flavia
    June 19, 2017
    I found this novel (labelled ‘Fictional Memoir by Francesca Marciano) such a fun read, albeit uncomfortable and tragic in parts. It is a beautifully rendered coming-of-age novel whose main character resonated with me deeply. Eugenia’s vulnerability, isolation and empathic nature made her extremely likeable and I was rooting for her throughout. She is victim of the eccentricities and personal hells of the people around her and her struggle through this is admirable.The title provides the key to t I found this novel (labelled ‘Fictional Memoir by Francesca Marciano) such a fun read, albeit uncomfortable and tragic in parts. It is a beautifully rendered coming-of-age novel whose main character resonated with me deeply. Eugenia’s vulnerability, isolation and empathic nature made her extremely likeable and I was rooting for her throughout. She is victim of the eccentricities and personal hells of the people around her and her struggle through this is admirable.The title provides the key to the narrative structure; the earthquake pivots the novel around and projects Eugenia forward to her conclusion (freedom). The earthquake occurs just after the main climax of the novel (although there are many climaxes, some of them are truly devastating) ironically putting a stop to the chaos and confusion that was happening beforehand.Eugenia is a fifteen year old Italian who moves to Los Angeles with her parents and brother (and initially also a fabulous grandmother, who is brilliantly hilarious). This novel is embedded in 1990’s Los Angeles with references to historical/political events - both in America and Italy . (Eugenia’s only prior knowledge of America before the move was gleaned from ‘The Bold and the Beautiful’ – which portrayed a very different Los Angeles to that which Eugenia and her family experience.)The culture shock reverberates and hums and sends shock waves through her life which jump start her into action (as readers we ask ourselves if the move was not the actual earthquake referenced in the title), the novel follows Eugenia as she looks to carve her space and place in this new home. The difficulties of fitting in and identity, already part and parcel of adolescence, balloon out as she tries to understand and find her place within a school where gangs and identity politics are deeply embedded into the school social system (as an Italian she doesn’t fit in with any of the groups). She discovers her sexuality, and initially uses it to numb and shield herself but this then evaporates when she begins to open herself up to a newfound friend (with her own set of complications at home).The novel is divided up into three parts labelled: departure, return and arrival. Barzini adds an intriguing layer to the novel when she Eugenia and her brother return to Italy during the summer holidays; they stay with their uncle and his girlfriend on a small Aeolian Island of Sicily. I loved Barzini’s description of the island. The brutality and violence of nature and isolation is further emphasised. Eugenia realises that she no longer will fit in anywhere anymore, she is caged in no matter what her circumstances.Eugenia doesn’t ever try to understand or justify the people around her. She is submissive to life; from the man she loses her virginity to, to Santino’s judgement of her when his wife changes the way she sees herself (she looks on when her beloved donkey Angelina is brutally murdered in front of her eyes). She submits to her parent’s eccentric, egocentric and unrealistic dreams of America and the film they are shooting (she even puts her own dreams on hold and keeps them quiet while it bubbles softly under the surface; we don’t understand what Eugenia feels about her unconditional offer to enter a college based on her writing until Eugenia decides to accept it).Ultimately this is a novel about family; how families love and how dysfunction communicates chaos and pain, how we try to please one another in order not to feel alone or disappointing.I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel especially because of Barzini’s beautiful crisp descriptions of place and the contrasts she creates between; the vastness of the sea, the enclosure of school, the suffocation of an island, and the brutality of (human) nature.
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  • Mellanie Ann Duque
    July 30, 2017
    I have read bunch of books before and Things That Happened Before the Earthquake is one of those books I enjoyed reading; a very intriguing story of a young girl Eugenia. For me reading this book is such an extraordinary experience. It talks about different topics which I think really diverse; social differences, families, friends and self-finding. There is something with the first chapter that got me hooked with the whole story, I mean, Eugenia is such an interesting character! She was careless I have read bunch of books before and Things That Happened Before the Earthquake is one of those books I enjoyed reading; a very intriguing story of a young girl Eugenia. For me reading this book is such an extraordinary experience. It talks about different topics which I think really diverse; social differences, families, friends and self-finding. There is something with the first chapter that got me hooked with the whole story, I mean, Eugenia is such an interesting character! She was careless for the world was cruel for her. They moved to LA and everything in her life started to change. Her personality and her story is something that everyone should know. She is the BEST representation for those teens who lost their way in our society, those who tries to find themselves and wants to express who they really are. At the same time, she seeks attention and love from the people around her specially from her own family. What makes me cry is when the time she asked, why can’t her family be like the other families? It really hurts like hell for me at that point; I felt all the emotions of the character.There is some point in this book that you will feel down, happy, angry and so many other emotions. The author’s way of describing each scene is really vivid and the characters are really amazing. I love how the author makes everything in this book so natural in real life which you will find so relatable and will keep you reading it until the end. I have learned so much from this book about friendships, family values, happiness; self-finding which Eugenia often struggles about. I know she’s not that perfect character for everyone but her story is worth reading! There are lot of lessons in life here. I love how imperfect each character is and how they find happiness out of those flaws they have; this reminds us to love ourselves infinitely.One thing I slightly dislike about the book is that it took time before the earthquake happened. (lol) but anyway I love everything that happened after that EARTHQUAKE, it was so perfect. Those parts really mark on my mind and makes me realize many things like we take things for granted most of the time. We humans only see the value of a thing/ when it’s already gone; this book reminds us to be intact with our family. Their return to their home country signifies “THERE IS NO PLACE LIKE HOME” we may find ourselves happy in a strange place, there will always a time you’ll find yourself longing for HOME.All in all, I love this book. I highly recommend it to all
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  • Renee
    June 19, 2017
    3.5 Stars! I recently finished Things That Happened Before the Earthquake by Chiara Barzini and couldn't wait to share my review! Told in three sections, TTHBTE is a story about Eugenia who is an Italian teenage girl trying to find her place in either her home country (Italy) or nineties LA (where her parents move their family at the start of the book). So much of this story is relatable on the level of being a teenage girl who doesn't quite fit in. A girl trying to find a place as the "new girl 3.5 Stars! I recently finished Things That Happened Before the Earthquake by Chiara Barzini and couldn't wait to share my review! Told in three sections, TTHBTE is a story about Eugenia who is an Italian teenage girl trying to find her place in either her home country (Italy) or nineties LA (where her parents move their family at the start of the book). So much of this story is relatable on the level of being a teenage girl who doesn't quite fit in. A girl trying to find a place as the "new girl" among different ethnic groups and cliques at her high school, trying to reconcile her family and their annoying tendencies at they navigate America (without being too embarrassed and frustrated by them at the same time) annnnd figure out what it means to be with a boy, what she is "supposed" to do. The first section of the story begins with Eugenia in LA, 1992, starting school and finding some sort of place in this new American world. The second section takes place over a summer on an island in Italy where she and her brother are sent after their first year in LA. The third, culminating section introduces Deva, a girl Eugenia meets and falls for and finally the Earthquake of 1994 that settles the dust and her own view of herself, finally. There were quite a few moments/lines in this book that bothered me. Situations Eugenia was in, sentences that were written in such a way I can't seem to forget. Overall, I thought the story was unique and well written, that the time period was one of angst in general but more so if you were a teenage girl trying to fit in (I was in first grade in 1994, so a lot of the cultural references went a bit over me). And honestly, a time I hadn't read in a book before. That grungy, dirty LA of the nineties (a world Eugenia was probably all together too nice for).I rated this book 3.5 stars much for the reason I stated above but would highly recommend this story and author regardless of my personal reasons regarding a few scenes! I am still thinking of Eugenia and how her story ended, how strong she became through those two years in LA. I'm not sure I would have figured out half of what she did about herself when I was in high school, especially having so many negative experiences right off the bat (ones she decided were omens that they should never have left Italy).
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  • Molly
    July 3, 2017
    First things first: I won an ARC through a giveaway.*spoliers below!*This is a coming of age story about an Italian teenager who is struggling to assimilate into American culture. She is an outsider within her family as well as in school. Eugenia tries on multiple lifestyles in a mere 320 pages in an attempt to find her place in America.I was not a fan I f this book, but I can at least say I finished it. This book made me feel uncomfortable and anxious, but not in a quick page turner kind of way First things first: I won an ARC through a giveaway.*spoliers below!*This is a coming of age story about an Italian teenager who is struggling to assimilate into American culture. She is an outsider within her family as well as in school. Eugenia tries on multiple lifestyles in a mere 320 pages in an attempt to find her place in America.I was not a fan I f this book, but I can at least say I finished it. This book made me feel uncomfortable and anxious, but not in a quick page turner kind of way. Sexuality, self-exploration, drugs, gangs, animal abuse, and sexual abuse are several of the predominant themes. Quite a few themes to say the least. I wouldn't call this book a YA novel, but just a fiction novel. Some of the abuse is so brutal and written in such a slow pace that you can't get away from it fast enough. What bothered me most were some of the overtly sexual scenes. When she loses her virginity the reader is aware of a horrific experience that borders on rape, but frustratingly enough, Eugenia/the author decides to ignore the brutality of this sexual experience and just moves her along in a "rubber suit" that allows her to use her own sexuality with men as nothing more than an act. There is a very odd dynamic between Eugenia's primary live interest, Deva, and Deva's father. Why nods towards incest and abuse? This seemed so strange to me and unnecessary to the story as a whole. This echoes the strange kisses Eugenia's grandma made her do as a young girl at the beginning of the book. Unnecessary as well.I did appreciate the end of the book. You feel the family come together right before they break apart, but that is a beautiful image the correlates well with the earthquake that hits at the end. Utter upheaval to bring a disjointed Italian family back together.
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  • Leith Devine
    June 2, 2017
    Thanks to Doubleday Books and NetGalley for the ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.I really liked Things that Happened Before the Earthquake. It's set in Los Angeles, in the San Fernando Valley, during the '90s right after the LA riots and just before the Northridge earthquake.I'm very family familiar with this area and with this era, having lived in Los Angeles for many years, and I was here during the Northridge earthquake. When Eugenia talks about Topanga Canyon, and about the Thanks to Doubleday Books and NetGalley for the ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.I really liked Things that Happened Before the Earthquake. It's set in Los Angeles, in the San Fernando Valley, during the '90s right after the LA riots and just before the Northridge earthquake.I'm very family familiar with this area and with this era, having lived in Los Angeles for many years, and I was here during the Northridge earthquake. When Eugenia talks about Topanga Canyon, and about the indescribable quality of the light (that has inspired many a movie), I know exactly what she sees.This is a coming of age story of an Italian teenager, Eugenia, who comes to Los Angeles from Rome with her family. Her father is going to make movies but it turns out to be harder than he thinks. Eugenia has a hard time making friends, and she goes through some very difficult times at school. Her family doesn't fit in in LA, and she's at the age when that's all she wants to do. She falls into a life of experimentation in all the wrong ways, and her parents aren't paying attention to her at all.The book loses some of its steam when the family goes back to Italy for the summer. Life is much more rustic and close to nature, and there some are unpleasant scenes. When the family gets back, life has changed for them all and not for the best.In the end, I was pulling for Eugenia to break away and find her own path. This is a very interesting and compelling book.
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  • Steven
    June 23, 2017
    Thank you Goodreads for the free book, but this one was a bit too bizzare for my taste! Yes, interesting coming of age, but the completely dysfunctional and clueless family is crazy. The odd friends are even more far-fetched. Toward the end it got more enjoyable, but this just wasn't my type of book. I finished it only because I felt obliged to review it for Goodreads!
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  • Gloria Brooks
    June 5, 2017
    This is based on a Italian girl that comes to America from Italy.. she is lost trying to find how to fit in . A interesting book based on a girls reckless story that leads her to misadventures.. but I enjoyed reading it..
  • Elese
    July 21, 2017
    3.5
  • Dale Barlow
    May 30, 2017
    05.26.2017: NY Times "Escape into Books"; not at either Madison County Public Library, KY...
  • Kate Cao
    March 28, 2017
    When Eugenia moves to LA with her family from Italy, she is not ready for the transition. A teenage girl who misses everything familiar, she struggles to fit in with the culture and hangs with a myriad of misfits throughout the novel. About halfway through, Eugenia takes a summer vacation in Sicily, and new characters are introduced. This section of the novel makes the story feel disconnected. Eventually she begins to grow up back in LA and become a young woman not afraid to follow her dreams an When Eugenia moves to LA with her family from Italy, she is not ready for the transition. A teenage girl who misses everything familiar, she struggles to fit in with the culture and hangs with a myriad of misfits throughout the novel. About halfway through, Eugenia takes a summer vacation in Sicily, and new characters are introduced. This section of the novel makes the story feel disconnected. Eventually she begins to grow up back in LA and become a young woman not afraid to follow her dreams and interests in the US. Thank you, netgalley, for the chance to read the ARC.
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