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  • Flirting in Italian
  • Written by Lauren Henderson
  • Format: Trade Paperback | ISBN: 9780385741361
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  • Flirting in Italian
  • Written by Lauren Henderson
  • Format: eBook | ISBN: 9780375984525
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Flirting in Italian

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Written by Lauren HendersonAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Lauren Henderson

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On Sale: June 12, 2012
Pages: 272 | ISBN: 978-0-375-98452-5
Published by : Delacorte Press RH Childrens Books
Flirting in Italian Cover

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Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

Four girls. One magical, and possibly dangerous Italian summer. Family mysteries, ancient castles, long hot nights of dancing under the stars . . . and, of course, plenty of gorgeous Italian boys!

Excerpt

My Daughter’s Leaving Me

“Signore e signori, please fasten your seat belts and return your seatbacks and tray tables to the upright position,” says the airline steward over the PA. “We will be landing in Pisa in fifteen minutes. Signore e signori, siete pregati di allacciare le cinture di sicurezza . . .”

I peer through the window beside me. Bright blue-green sea below, such a vivid aquamarine that unless you saw it with your own eyes you wouldn’t believe it could actually exist in nature. Little white flecks dance across the azure blue, waves tossed up by the wake of the occasional boat. And then the deep aquamarine fades to a lighter blue as the water becomes more shallow; the coast comes into view. It’s my first glimpse of Italy, and it takes my breath away. It’s the start of July, full summer, and the sea and land are bathed in dazzling golden sunshine. I can see a marina along the coastline, tiny dots that must be fishing boats and yachts moored in an inlet. The seashore is the color of pale terra-cotta, but beyond it, beyond the miniature red roofs of the buildings that cluster around it, there’s rich green marshland. I know (from the in-flight magazine, not a more impressive source) that the Leaning Tower of Pisa stands in the Field of Miracles, and I squint, trying as hard as I can to make out a white pillar on a bed of green grass, but no luck.

Italy! My anticipation is intensifying so powerfully that I’m breathless. My mum says that when I was a little girl, I would get so excited at the prospect of a treat that I would barely be able to breathe; I’d rock back and forth, hyperventilating, making little gasping noises, eyes like saucers, mouth open. I twist away from the window, focusing on the gray marled fabric of the seatback in front of me, trying to calm the frantic pounding of my heart.

Italy. It’s really happening. My adventure--maybe my real life--is about to begin.

And at that thought, my heart sinks. I’m feeling suddenly, horribly, guilty.

Because I left my mum behind. For two whole months. We’ve never been apart for that long, and I don’t know how she’s going to manage.

Even worse, I’m secretly, shamefully, glad. Glad to be leaving my mum, to be free for maybe the first time ever in my life. To be alone, without her always there, able to work out who I am in the space her absence will give me. Though I’m sitting in a cramped airline seat, arms tucked into my sides so I don’t accidentally whack my neighbor, I feel as if I have more space to breathe than ever before.

Maybe that’s how it always works; maybe you never realize how squashed in you’ve been until the restrictions vanish, and you can finally stretch out your arms. I feel as if I could whirl around again and again.

I should be in pieces about leaving Mum. I must be a really bad daughter.

I fumble for my phone, then remember I can’t turn it on midair. So I slip my laptop out of my bag for a brief moment and open it up; I’ve saved the photo of the portrait on it as well, just in case I lose my phone.

I click to open the picture, and get the same shock I always do as it comes up onscreen. I stare at myself, at hair decorated with pearls, at a green taffeta dress, my eyes looking back at me, and I know that I’ve done the right thing in leaving my mother behind to come on this quest to find out where I come from. And why on earth this girl from eighteenth-century Italy is my mirror image.

Because as I snap my laptop shut, I know that anyone who saw a resemblance like this would move heaven and earth to find out the reason behind it.



Ever since I saw the portrait in Sir John Soane’s Museum, I plotted and schemed and strategized so successfully that I surprised myself with the sheer extent of my capacity for covert action. The first thing I did was drop the name of the Castello di Vesperi into conversation with my mum.

Faux-casually, of course. I’ve just done my final A‑level exams--English, French, and art history--and the plan is for me to study art history at Cambridge University, if they let me in. In the autumn, I’ll sit the Cambridge entrance exam and go for interviews at the college I’ve applied for, which means my studying isn’t over, even though the A‑levels are. I’m still supposed to be reading art books, going to galleries and exhibitions, building up my knowledge as much as possible. So it’s very easy to tell my mother, over dinner, that I’m going to an exhibition at the Wallace Collection tomorrow with my friend Lily-Rose--paintings from the Castello di Vesperi in Chianti. Her eyes don’t even flicker; she forks up another piece of grilled chicken, smiles at me, and says that sounds lovely. No recognition of the name at all.

I test it out again, at the end of dinner, as I’m stacking the dishwasher; I mention the name of the fictitious exhibition again, and how much I’m looking forward to it.

“Goodness, you are keen!” Mum says. “You’ve been out at museums all this week!” She yawns. “Time to collapse on the sofa, don’t you think? What film shall we watch tonight?”

So that’s totally conclusive. No recognition of the name di Vesperi at all. Mum is the worst liar in the world, which is probably why her brief attempt at an acting career failed completely: she’s incapable of pretending to feel anything she doesn’t. It’s probably why she was such a good model, though. She’s as transparent as a pool of water; every new emotion is instantly registered on her face. We have some of her most famous photos hung in the flat, and I love them all, because they capture Mum’s expressions so perfectly--wistful, happy, thoughtful, loving. She told me once that photographers she worked with learned how to trigger her emotions: they’d yell “Think of cute puppies, Daisy!” if they wanted her to smile, or “Your boyfriend said he needs to take a break!” if they were after romantic melancholy.

And the most famous photo of all, the Vogue cover where she’s holding an orchid in her hand, staring at it with a misty, tender gaze in her big blue eyes, her blond hair falling down her back: in that one, she said, the photographer told her to look at the flower and think of what she loved most in the world.




From the Hardcover edition.
Lauren Henderson

About Lauren Henderson

Lauren Henderson - Flirting in Italian

Photo © Mike McGregor

Lauren Henderson was born in London and went to North London Collegiate School (the model for Wakefield Hall in the Scarlett Wakefield series) and then to St. Paul’s Girls School (the model for St. Tabby’s). She went on to study English Literature at Cambridge University. Lauren worked as a journalist for newspapers and music magazines before moving to Tuscany to write books, work as a waitress, learn Italian, and party through the rest of her twenties. Finally, she dragged herself away from Italy, and, lured by Sex and the City, moved to Manhattan. After eight extremely action-packed years in New York, she is now settled in London with an American husband and two suitably neurotic New York cats. Lauren’s interests include trapeze classes, watching America’s Next Top Model, and eating complex carbohydrates.
 
Lauren has written seven novels in her Sam Jones mystery series, which has been optioned for an American TV series. She is also the author of many short stories and three romantic comedies—My Lurid Past, Don’t Even Think About It and Exes Anonymous, which has been optioned for a U.S. feature film.
 
Her weird and wonderful experiences of the very strange world of Manhattan dating led her to write a nonfiction book, Jane Austen’s Guide to Dating, which has been optioned as a feature film by Kiwi Smith, who wrote Ten Things I Hate About You and Legally Blonde. It takes the very sensible principles that the divine Jane Austen laid down in her six perfect novels, and interprets them for the modern girl, or woman, looking to find true love and a compatible life partner. Once she had worked them out, Lauren applied the “Jane Austen Rules” to her own dating life and promptly found her lovely, chivalrous husband, Greg, so she is living proof that they actually work!
 
Lauren is currently writing the Scarlett Wakefield YA mystery series for Delacorte in the United States. The first one, Kiss Me Kill Me, was nominated for an Anthony Award for Best YA Novel. The other books in the series so far are Kisses and Lies and Kiss in the Dark. The fourth and final book in the series will be out in February 2011, and Lauren then intends to start another YA mystery series.
 
Together with Stella Duffy, Lauren has edited an anthology of women-behaving-badly crime stories, Tart Noir. Lauren’s books have been translated into over twenty languages. Her MySpace address is myspace/mslaurenhenderson and her Web site is www.laurenhenderson.net. She loves to hear from her fans and promises to write back to everyone who contacts her on MySpace or her Web site!
 
Lauren has been described in the press as both the Dorothy Parker and the Betty Boop of the British crime novel. She also writes for many U.K.-based publications, including Grazia and Cosmopolitan, and several national newspapers.
Praise

Praise

"Violet morphs into a funny, caustic observer, comparing and contrasting teen cultures and mores--American, British, Italian."—Kirkus Reviews
 
"Cute Italian boys, jealous Italian girls . . . and plenty of tantalizing romance."—Publishers Weekly
 
"Flirting stays true to its title: Henderson delivers lots of crushing and a bit of mystery with a dash of Italian 101."—School Library Journal
 
"If you're lucky enough to study abroad this summer . . . enjoy! But if you're like us, you'll have to live vicariously through hilarious and loveable Brit Violet."—Justine Magazine

  • Flirting in Italian by Lauren Henderson
  • June 11, 2013
  • Juvenile Fiction
  • Ember
  • $8.99
  • 9780385741361

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