Falling in Love with English Boys - Melissa Jensen This book was recommended by a friend of mine who is on a quest to broaden my reading horizons into YA fiction since she said I've been "stuck" in historicals for too long. So for the past four months, I've been reading mostly YA as well as some NA, and for the most part I've enjoyed all of them. This book falls in the middle for me for three reasons.

First Cat is in London with her mother for the summer, and instead of playing tourist she tends to sit inside the "flat", read fluffy magazines on fashion and celebrity gossip, and binge on chocolate. I read the "fluff" too, and chocolate can be a girl's best friend; however, this is freaking London! And there's Cat whining about not spending the summer with her friends in the States. I found this incredible. I'm a bit nerdy though when it comes to history so *shrugs* different strokes, I guess. But still! The Tower of London! The British Museum! Westminster Abbey! St. James Park! (as in A Ramble in ...) St. Paul's Cathedral! Shakespeare's London! Covent Garden! Trafalgar Square! Oh well, you get the picture.

Secondly, I didn't buy the whole "I've really been hot for you all along, but you play so cool" thing that William concocts toward the end as a reason for a v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y developing relationship between him and Cat. There was very little interaction between Cat and William and even less in the chemistry area. Little or no sparklies between these two. Likewise, I didn't buy Cat's insta-lurve for William and her very emotional reaction when she finds out about ... THE GIRLFRIEND. *cue dramatic music".

Third, I have seen in many YA books an "absent" parent syndrome that is just a little tired and overused. This is the parent who divorced mom, ignores the daughter/son after the divorce, and then remarries/plans to remarry much younger woman (can you say "stereotype"?) who monopolizes dad's time. Stepmoms and dads don't seem to be treated very well in these books (at least in the ones I've read). Cat's father doesn't even get her birthday present and he cancels their dinner because the soon-to-be stepmom needs his help. Otherwise he might have to live in the "boonies" and "boiled twigs" and "flaxseed cake" will be the menu at their reception. I know issues with the 'rents is de rigeur for these novels but I would like to see it handled differently once in a while.

What did work was the parallel story of Katherine from the 19th century told through diary entries that Cat reads. (I know, I know. But I love historicals.) That part of the book was good old Regency England, with Napoleon threatening again, routs, balls, rides in the park, visits to the modiste, and a wounded, taciturn war hero, and (oh, horrors!) lots of "historical" ambience. Katherine-of-the-diary was a lot more interesting character than Cat IMO. She progressed from a vapid, rather shallow young lady into someone was more mature by the end of the diary entries. At least Katherine stood up to her father about marrying that toady cousin (despite the implausibility of a young Regency miss being able to refuse a less than desirable suitor). I wish I could say the same for Cat. She just rolled over and cried when her father bailed on their dinner.

"Falling In Love With English Boys" is a very light, funny in parts book. I wish there had been more meat to it, however. Cat and Will never really jumped off the page at me the way Katherine and Nicholas did. Cat was still pretty much the same at the end as in the beginning. I guess "Falling" fulfilled its general purpose, however. Girl meets boy, girl loses boy, girl gets boy. And they lived happily ever after. Or at least happy right now. I can see the broad appeal of "Falling". It has a funny girl who meets a hot English guy that looks like Orlando Bloom with a glamorous background of London and they fall in love. I get that, but I wanted something more. You may now throw rotten vegetables at me for not loving the book. ;)