For a followup to the first one, for an easier read than the first one, for a short story following each character
How the mighty have fallen. Anna K, once the golden girl of Greenwich, CT, and New York City, has been brought low by a scandalous sex tape and the tragic death of her first love, Alexia Vronsky. At the beginning of the summer, her father takes her to the other side of the world, to connect with his family in South Korea and hide her away. Is Anna in exile? Or could this be her chance to figure out who she really is?
Back in the U.S., Lolly has forgiven Steven for cheating on her, and their relationship feels stronger than ever. But when Lolly meets a boy at her beloved theater camp, she has to ask herself how well Steven will ever really know her. Meanwhile, in Manhattan, everything between Kimmie and her new boyfriend, Dustin, is easy–except when it comes to finally having sex. And Bea escapes to LA, running away from her grief at her beloved cousin’s death, until a beautiful stranger steals her heart. Is Bea ready to finally forgive Anna, and let herself truly fall in love for the very first time?
I was excited to see the characters again, and particularly interested in seeing what Jenny Lee invented as a followup story since this one is not based on other material, as the first one was. The plot moves much more steadily in this than the first book, and generally each character we follow is interesting. I think people who were a bit bored in the first book but liked the characters may enjoy this one more.
If you read each character’s story straight through, it would be a series of short vignettes. We get a pretty even spread on all of them, though Anna does get a few more than the others. The plots are pretty simple and progress steadily. I kind of fell in love with Anna in this book, and I just completely enjoyed her character. Similar to the first book, there are definitely times where her mature thinking makes it hard to believe she’s meant to be in her late teens. I don’t hate this, but it is something to take with a grain of salt when reading.
The substance of this is primarily plot-based, and each character progresses onward. It’s not always very exciting though, particularly for Bea as her story is very self-reflective. If you adored her as a give-no-f*cks party girl in the first book, be prepared for an absolute 180 in her character. Between her and Lolly’s stories there is a spot of romance in here, but it all felt very surface level to me.
If you’re coming to this book for the delight of Anna going to Korea, a fair notice that that makes up an arguably very small portion of the book. She’s there for a few months, but in the span of the book, that’s probably half of her chapters. She spends a good amount of time in Italy and in the States, so don’t bank too much on that as a draw.
Overall, this was an easier, quicker read than the first. For some that will be a benefit, and others might be turned off by it. But still, the characters continue on their paths, so if you’re invested in them, give this one a go. 🙂