Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Review: VALERIA'S PASSPORT by Jennifer Russon

In this coming of age love story, Valeria Ortiz has grown up without a father. She lives in a happy world all her own, cherishing old movies and reading too much. Her job as a maid, plus a little boozy help from her grandma, have gotten the Ortiz Family only so far. When her mom begins dating a college professor, Dr. Damon Mills, it’s a rude awakening when he falls for the wrong girl, and the wrong girl falls for a bullfighter. Wanderlust ensues!

It is 2002, and for Valeria, the perfect year to travel to the most beautiful and mysterious parts of Spain, tracing her father’s roots. Throughout her adventures that span both Europe and the U.S., Valeria lives in what is best described as a soap opera, punished by some of her decisions and gratified by others. When she gets her first taste of independence in a Victorian themed boarding house, it heaps a new layer of responsibility on the quirky teen than perhaps she is ready for. 

But her luck starts to change when her boss takes her to his Spanish estate. It is the journey Valeria must make to feel safe, understand her birthright, and find true love – not just for her, but for everyone she meets in this lighthearted and funny romance. If you like your chick lit with a little flamenco dancing, this book is for you. 

My thoughts: Valeria was a struggling high school student growing up with an absentee father, a promiscuous mother, and a boozy grandmother. She has a culinary gift and her work as a maid has contributed to the family. Soon envy and desire take place―she becomes envious of a friend's opportunity to study abroad and infatuated with one of her mom's gentleman callers. The theme behind Valeria's Passport is wanderlust, which I totally understand having been under the influence, prompting excursions to Italy and London.

Valeria is a sensitive character that feels lost most of the time. It is only when she journeys through Spain that she truly discovers what life has to offer. Her best line was: "I plan on finding myself." She has bold tenacity and a quiet strength that would endear readers. Her story was illustrated in soft and lyrical tones that felt almost poetic; however, certain narratives were lagging and seemed superfluous. Although commendable, this whole adventure felt scattered to me. I felt just as lost as the main character, which might be a good thing to feel just "lost" along with her in this little adventure, but it's not exactly conducive to a clean plot structure.

I think this was a good story to tell, but I just wished it would've been quicker and clearer.

My rating: 3 stars

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