Review - Dante's Girl - Courtney Cole

Dante's Girl (The Paradise Diaries, #1)Title: Dante's Girl
Series: The Paradise Diaries #1
Author: Courtney Cole
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publication: June 22nd 2012 Lakehouse Press
Pages: 356 Pages
Source: Thank you to Netgalley for sending me this book to review in exchange for an honest review!
Rating: 4/5 Cupcakes!
I have spent every summer since I was ten years old with my father in London. Every summer, since I was ten years old, has been uneventful and boring. Until this year. 
And this year, after a freak volcanic eruption strands me far from home, I have learned these things:
1. I can make do with one outfit for three days before I buy new clothes. 2. If I hear the phrase, “You’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto,” even one more time, I might become a homicidal maniac.3. I am horribly and embarrassingly allergic to jellyfish.4. I am in love with Dante Giliberti, who just happens to be the beautiful, sophisticated son of the Prime Minister of a Mediterranean paradise. 5. See number four above. Because it brings with it a whole slew of problems and I’ve learned something from every one of them.
Let’s start with the fact that Dante’s world is five light-years away from mine. He goes to black-tie functions and knows the Prime Minister of England on a first name basis. I was born and raised on a farm in Kansas and wear cut-off jeans paired with cowboy boots. See the difference? 
But hearts don’t care about differences. Hearts want what they want. And mine just wants to be Dante’s girl. 
My heart just might be crazy.
I received Dante's Girl to review quite a while back and it was a book that I was extremely excited about. I didn't read it as soon as I received it to review (one of my bad habits) but the other day I was looking through my e-galleys and saw it sitting there and I read the first page...and I couldn't stop reading. Dante's Girl certainly didn't disappoint, in fact, it didn't just meet my expectations, but it exceeded them. It's definitely a read that I would recommend! This is a definite must-read contemporary!

Dante's Girl is about seventeen year old Reece who is in the Amsterdam airport waiting to catch her flight to visit her father in England. When she runs - literally - into a godly looking boy named Dante and he keeps her company while they board, a freak accident happens while they're on the plane's runway about to take off and it shuts all the airports down. Reece is in a frenzy, as she has a fear of flying. She won't be able to go back home or to her dad as all airports are shut down due to volcanic ash. When the beautiful boy, Dante, tells her he can come with him on his helicopter, Reece immediately jumps at the chance.

On their way to Dante's home in Caberra, she learns that he is the son of a Prime Minister and his dad runs the Gilberti Olive farm, making him a billionaire and a prince to the people in Caberra. Reece then stays in Dante's family mansion for the summer, while the volcanic ash clears. She can't believe her luck! As she starts falling for sweet, kind Dante...and he seems to like her back she knows that they can't be together. Their worlds are too different. She's a rough and tumble girl from Kansas and he's basically a prince. She doesn't expect this summer holiday to be so magical, filled with first love, summer kisses, heart-break, rivalries and self-discovery, but that's exactly what it turns out to be.

This book was really adorable! It's the perfect summer read. Today was stifling hot and definitely had a summer vibe, so this book was perfect to read! I absolutely loved the setting. I love books which are set in Europe, even though Caberra is a fictional place, it has that perfect European feel. I would've liked slightly more description of the place, though, as sometimes I feel like the book was centred too much on the relationship and didn't really give the story room for lots of description of the setting.

I really enjoyed the writing in this book and I could really connect with it. I really appreciate that the author didn't use hectic swear words in Dante's Girl nor did she use God's name in vain a lot. I hate it when books over-use swearing/blasphemy so it was a nice surprise that this book didn't contain that. There were a few typos in this book and the tenses changed around a bit, but otherwise it was fine. I would've also liked slightly more description but it was fine without it!

I absolutely ADORED the characters in this novel. I would love to be best friends with Reece! I absolutely love her as a narrator, she has such a unique voice. She's your typical teenage girl. She gets awkward, she gawks at hot guys and sometimes gets freaked out. She is also extremely headstrong and likes doing her own things, but she also has a vulnerable side when she is with Dante. I also like that Reece wears her heart on her sleeve and will say exactly what she's thinking, which can be quite entertaining at times. Reece is a phenomenal character and I can guarantee you that you will connect with her straight away! She's absolutely hilarious and sweet and by the end of the novel she will definitely feel like your best friend.

Dante *swoons*. He is utterly amazing! So eloquent, polite, caring, thoughtful, kind, sweet and witty. Sometimes he did seem slightly too perfect, though. I loved all the things he did for Reece and he always thought of her before he thought of himself. I also felt extremely sorry for him as he had lost his mother as baby and never really met her and you could see how sad he was about that in the book. Dante is definitely one of my new favourite book-boyfriends. He is truly wonderful and he is just so amazing to Reece. You will definitely fall head over heels in love with him.

I also liked the secondary characters, such as Mia, Gavin and Becca. I adored Mia. She's so bubbly and sweet and a genuinely nice person and I adore how she took Reece under her wing. She's so rebellious and full of spark but I think she also has an air of vulnerability. I didn't see much of Gavin but I loved his mischievous character that I got glimpses of occasionally. I liked Becca towards the end, I think that she completely over-exaggerated about the thing (won't mention what) that she found in Reece's diary. She shouldn't have even been in her diary and it wasn't even a big deal. She completely over-reacted. She seemed nice towards the end though, and I would have liked to see more of an interaction between her and Reece, as they are supposed to be best friends but it didn't really seem like that when I read the book. I would've liked it if the author focused on developing friendships, as the book was focused a lot on the romance between Reece and Dante, and I would've liked to see Reece's growing relationships with other people.

The romance in this book was extremely sweet. I did think that the beginning was quite unlikely though, as they barely even spoke to each other before the accident on the runway and I doubt he would just whisk a complete stranger off. I would've liked it if the author showed them having a conversation before they boarded etc so it felt like that there was a reason for Dante to take Reece with him to Caberra. I am glad that he did though as it showed he cared and he didn't want her in danger. Like I said, I loved their relationship and you can see that they had a connection. They didn't immediately rush into a relationship and they took time to get to know each other first. Their romance was definitely swoon-worthy and Dante is such a sweetheart! I also love how they can joke around with each other and are constantly exchanging witty remarks. They're best friends in love and I love that.

The plot was good! This book moves at a fast-pace and the action begins straight away. There were quite a few unexpected things that happened that had me seriously concerned for the characters. There were some parts though that I felt that nothing much happened and sometimes the story dragged out, but I still loved it!

Dante's Girl is an absolutely delicious summer read! Full of summer love, first kisses, sunshine, European boys and gelato, Dante's Girl will have you swooning! This was such a fun read and I completely devoured this book. You will fall in love with the characters, adore the writing and be completely immersed in the fantastic story! I can't not wait to begin reading Mia's Heart and learn more of one of my favourite characters! I highly recommend this book, you will definitely fall in love with it.

*Does contain minor swear words and a sexual scene*

I give it: 4/5 CUPCAKES!