From School Library Journal
Grade 10 Up—When four American teens become exchange students in Paris, they go wild, partying, drinking, and smoking. The host families have no qualms about any of the goings-on as their behavior is, in some cases, more erratic and disturbing than the students they are hosting. There's not a lot of focus on traditional character development in the book, which is the first in a planned trilogy, but things do wrap up for Olivia, the ballet dancer: she is determined to stay, even though her parents want her help at home. Her change isn't entirely believable, and her parents' blithe acceptance of her decision, after being so opposed to it, is even less so. The stories of Alex, the snarky seductress, and Zach, the handsome gay boy, will be resolved in the sequels, it is assumed, and that troubled PJ, who has run away, will be found. A shining example of tawdry melodrama, the story sometimes borders on farce. Readers looking for glamour, histrionics, and mad, groping sex—need look no further.—Catherine Ensley, Latah County Free Library District, Moscow, ID
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In this series debut, four American teens take part in a Parisian study program and attempt to reinvent themselves. Wealthy young socialite Alex is shopping for love and expensive labels abroad. Instead, she is heartbroken when her disgusted mom cuts off her AmEx card. Shy ballet dancer Olivia is offered a job with a prestigious French dance company, but can’t bear the thought of not returning home to her boyfriend and autistic brother. Closeted Zach from the Bible Belt is hoping to finally be himself in Paris, but he is disappointed when he can’t find a boy to return his affection. Most interesting is PJ, a blonde beauty whose hippie parents are arrested for drug possession in the States, leaving her at the mercy of her host parents, a calculating political couple. While the first-person voices are often indistinguishable, and the lovelorn, backstabbing plot is familiar, the exotic locale does add some panache. Recommended for larger libraries with insatiable chick-lit readerships. Grades 8-12. --Jennifer Hubert
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