Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Review: Polly by Freya North

Fun and frothy come to mind when describing British author Freya North's novels and this one fits that bill nicely. I have had this one on my stacks for literally years so when I saw the Chick Lit Challenge, I took the opportunity to pull it off the stack, blow the dust from the cover, and finally crack the spine (okay, I didn't crack the spine--I never crack spines, that just gives me the willies), hoping for a cute, lolloping read. And I got exactly what I was looking for, plus a bit more.

Polly Fenton is a British English teacher who has agreed to a year's exchange with an American counterpart. She is both excited and reluctant. As she leaves for the US and on the spur of the moment, her longtime boyfriend, Max, proposes to her. She doesn't give him an answer and in the excitement of settling in at her new school, meeting wonderful new people, and guiltily flirting with the attactive trainer, she doesn't stop to ponder why she hasn't given him an answer. Meanwhile, back in England, her American counterpart has met Polly's best friend, boyfriend, and boyfriend's brother. This is all a recipe for disaster adn things play out much as you might expect.

Not as light and predictable as many other chick lit type books can be, this one examines love, fidelity, physical and emotional connections, honesty, and contrition. There is also an extreme amount of sex in this (both imagined and actual so readers who shy away from explicitness will want to be forewarned). During the course of the exchange year, both Polly and Max learn a lot about themselves and about the things in life they've taken for granted. The question reamins whether they can and should be together. The ending to this book is heavier than the usual happily ever after but it is very much in keeping with the rest of the book and its theme of self-discovery. Despite the heavy moments, this is still a fun and catchy novel.

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