Thank you Jolly Fish Press for the ARC of PARIS ON REPEAT by Amy Bearce. The blog was offered a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Timid, self-conscious military kid Eve Hollis gets caught in a time loop during an eighth-grade class trip to Paris and must internalize some lessons about confidence, bravery, acceptance and love to break out of it and go home.
Back copy hails something to the effect of “Groundhog Day with a Parisian twist”. I haven’t seen that movie in about 30 years, so I can’t make any clever parallels or comparisons.
Bearce NAILS eighth-grade awkwardness/angst, and adorably intense friendships (not to mention the creepiness of male street vendors).
Let's talk about how Eve is fourteen. Granted, many of us were that age at some point; I’m not sure how it became literary No Man’s Land. But I’m here for (fictional) fourteen-year-olds (that I can close the cover on).
Bearce plays with the reader a lot, getting really close to tropes and then swerving away. I don’t do spoilers in reviews, but I can say: The twist on the “Friends before Guys” lesson is truly epic. Also, a compelling subplot features the Competing-Over-a-Best-Friend dynamic, a real-life trope we don’t see enough in kids’ books.
Eve is white and race plays no role in the story. However, it’s clear from the names and brief physical descriptions of her classmates that
Great backmatter discussing the author’s time in France as a military kid and how Paris has changed since the book was written (pre-1919).
This is kind of a double-edged sword: Eve’s fatal flaw is she needs to learn confidence and to accept herself and others (a skill we all should have)... but it’s iffy how a mysterious adult appears to be in control of holding her in the time loop “till she learns her lesson”.
Categorize that how you will. But this is an enjoyable read if nothing else.
Eve’s parents’ impending divorce is discussed (something Eve needs to forgive her parents for and accept);
Several scenes with the creepy/pushy street vendors and pickpockets were accurate but mildly upsetting. Another lesson Eve needs to learn is to stand up for herself.
Two of Eve's friends kiss (very PG-rated, but being a helicopter mom I had to mention it).
Eve’s first two days in the time loop are pretty repetitive and that part (about 10 pages in 214) of this otherwise entertaining book drags a bit.
Bearce’s chapters skew longer (10+ pages), so this book may not be the best choice for a reluctant or unconfident reader.
Fans of Natalie Lloyd and Sheila Turnage