June 29, 2015

Review: Ana of California

Ana of California by Andi Teran
Grade: C
Release date: June 30, 2015
This ARC was provided by Read Between the Lynes in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: A modern take on the classic coming-of-age novel, inspired byAnne of Green Gables

In the grand tradition of Anne of Green GablesBridget Jones’s Diary, andThe Three Weissmanns of Westport, Andi Teran’s captivating debut novel offers a contemporary twist on a beloved classic. Fifteen-year-old orphan Ana Cortez has just blown her last chance with a foster family. It’s a group home next—unless she agrees to leave East Los Angeles for a farm trainee program in Northern California.

When she first arrives, Ana can’t tell a tomato plant from a blackberry bush, and Emmett Garber is skeptical that this slight city girl can be any help on his farm. His sister Abbie, however, thinks Ana might be just what they need. Ana comes to love Garber Farm, and even Emmett has to admit that her hard work is an asset. But when she inadvertently stirs up trouble in town, Ana is afraid she might have ruined her last chance at finding a place to belong.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: I was a weird preteen. I didn't like Anne of Green Gables at all. I loved it as a kid (I read an abridged version of the book and watched the popular movie adaptation too many times to count), but by my preteens, Anne annoyed me and I wasn't feeling the story anymore. Fast forward about five-six years, and I fell in love with the web-series adaptation, "Green Gables Fables." And I've decided Gilbert Blythe is one of my top book boyfriends. Suffice to say, I was very eager to read a contemporary retelling of Anne of Green Gables.
I appreciated the diversity in this book. Ana was Mexican. Rye (the Diana character) was part Native American. Most (or I actually think all) of the farm workers were Latino. None of them take on a cultural stereotype. However, I found Rye to be stereotypical in other ways. She was kind of that best friend who's an outsider and thinks they're better than everyone else. She also was a bit of a hipster and just went against the flow so much that it grated on my nerves. I liked Abbie and Emmett, though. They were kind of the reverse of Matthew and Marilla, in my opinion. Abbie was warm and open and Emmett was gruffer and less welcoming of Ana at first. Ana was dramatic and poetic like Anne; she was more into art than wanting to be a writer, but I liked that she was still creative. She was a hard worker who screwed up occasionally, as teenagers are apt to do. Her relationship with Cole (the Gilbert of the book) was interesting. I don't think it quite lived up to Anne and Gilbert, though. Cole wasn't an outstanding love interest or anything. 
The writing style was interesting. It definitely seemed more for adults than teenagers. It seemed a bit distant, which made it hard to connect with the narrative and characters.
Mild foul language. Kissing and making out. Rye does drugs (that's the equivalent of the raspberry cordial incident). Cole and Ana steal sparkling wine to drink.

The Verdict: Overall, a good book, but I'm still looking for a really great Anne of Green Gables retelling.

Will I be adding this book to my library?: Probably not.

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