Saturday, May 22, 2021

Book Review: "Anna K Away" by Jenny Lee

Anna K Away is another emotionally layered romp with a group of wealthy teenagers, as they deal with love, grief, family, and relationships, and spend lots of money.

Have you read last year's Anna K, by Jenny Lee? That retelling of Anna Karenina set among the teenagers of NYC and Greenwich, CT, was an entertaining if melodramatic look at how the rich are as messed up as “regular people.”

The sequel takes place right where the first book left off, and I believe I enjoyed it more than the first book! (I found the original book a little annoying because the characters were so unlikable; while they've not changed that much, maybe it just didn't bother me as much here. Mostly.)

Anna is reeling from a tragedy and the appearance of a sex tape, so her father sends her to Korea for the summer. He hopes she'll be willing to start fresh and go to school in Korea come fall. As she deals with her grief, she realizes she has the opportunity to reinvent herself and be the person she wants to be.

Meanwhile, back in New York, her brother Steven and his girlfriend Lolly attend lavish parties and bicker, as Lolly prepares to attend theater camp for the summer. (Lolly's worries about Steven's previous infidelity take on extra weight as she's away for the summer.) Lolly's sister Kimmie and her boyfriend Dustin are both nervous about taking their relationship to the next level, each for different reasons. And Beatrice, dealing with her own grief and anger, finds real love for the first time and isn’t prepared for how much it changes her.

While you could read this as a stand-alone, I’d definitely recommend reading Anna K first. I’m fascinated by the extravagance of how the “other half” lives, but what I really enjoyed about this book was its emotional nuances. These characters are, in many cases, spoiled and/or shallow, but they’re also more complex than you think they are. This book was fun, too—there’s even a little K-pop!

BookSparks invited me to be part of their #SRC2021 campaign, and as such, they and Flatiron Books sent me a complimentary copy of Anna K Away in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making it available!!

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