REVIEW: The Girl's Guide To Summer - Sarah Mlynowski

The Girl's Guide To Summer - Sarah Mlynowski
Published by Orchard Books on 15th June 2017.
My rating: 5/5
Book depository purchase link.

The Girl's Guide To Summer is the perfect companion to the summer. If you're not going anywhere, this is your holiday. With vivid descriptions of everywhere from Paris to Corfu, it's so beautifully written. I loved Sydney's quirky observations and her travel tips. They might actually come in useful. If you are going away, this is the way to get excited. Live vicariously and soak up the anticipation. I am.

When Sydney is invited to go travelling with her best friend Leela, she isn't sure. Her mum's agoraphobia is demanding and Sydney's never strayed far from home before. She's never even left America. When she takes the leap, she finds herself meeting all sorts of people, from a cute Canadian to some hilarious Aussies and Leela's not-so-nice ex-boyfriend. They haven't even touched down in London when Sydney spots Matt (that's the BF's ex) and things get awkward. 

Until she sees Jackson.

The official cover

I had a feeling about him from the start. He was so cute and adorable. The way he opened up to Sydney - and you could just tell he doesn't normally open up to anyone - was crazy levels of sweet. Almost as sweet as the gelato, which yes, I could practically taste. 

The Kat-Leela relationship was also so good! I could completely understand both sides of the conflict. For Kat, she just wanted to fit in with Sydney's life and she was trying her best. For Leela, she didn't want to share her best friend, especially not with someone she didn't know. Their conversations and just how they progressed was one of the most addictive parts of the story.

Of course, I couldn't write a review without mentioning the kissing. By that I mean the best descriptions of kissing I've come across. For a YA novel, there were more sexual references than I expected and I LIKED THAT. Finally, a girl can go and have fun without feeling anything other than enjoyment. All of the spontaneous romantic moments worked and they didn't detract for a second from the main romance plotlines. In fact, I think the end broke my heart.

I'm heading off on my own European adventures from 24th June so Sydney's story made me ten times more excited to see some of the places she described (although I don't think I'll be going to see a sex show in Amsterdam). 

To celebrate the publication of #GirlsGuide I've been tweeting my top travel tips! If you missed any of them, here's the full list below:

1. Write a list of everything you want to pack a few days before you go to give yourself a chance to remember everything you forgot.
2. Make sure you have the address of your nearest British Embassy and the phone number just in case something happens.
3. Always, always, ALWAYS get travel insurance.
4. If you're travelling in Europe, take your EU health card in case you have an accident or become unwell. It happens!
5. If you have any dietary requirements, know how to explain them in the right languages. As a veggie, I find this so important as some cultures assume I eat fish.
6. See if you can get a phone deal for using texts, calls or data approve. Chances are it might be expensive, but sometimes companies have deals on. 
7. Look up and print out any important directions, bus or metro timetables in advance because trying to understand them on the spot can be scary!
8. Only ever use taxis you trust and make sure they set the meter to zero when you get in so you aren't charged a hefty fee.
9. Know your local laws to avoid fines for crimes like jaywalking, eating near churches and other things you might not be used to.
10. If you're travelling with someone get everything double printed so you each have a copy. If one copy is stolen along with your bag, you'll have a spare.
11. Breathe and relax. Travelling can be scary and stressful sometimes. Remember that you aren't in a rush and find a person of authority if you think they can help.
12. Do a walking tour as soon as you can after arriving in a new place. It will not only give you some knowledge of the history and culture but help you to get your bearings too.
13. Talk to people! It sounds simple but talking to people who have visited the places you're going to can help you find the best places to visit, eat and explore. Alternatively, talk to locals and other travellers when you arrive.
14. Use your apps. There are loads for food (like HappyCow) and activity ideas (like TripAdvisor). 
15. Europeans take long lunch breaks so some places might be shut until 2pm. Plan well!

What are your top travel tips? Let me know!

Love, Jess 

Thank you to Orchard Books for my ARC and fun travel accessories. 

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