I read both Anna K and Anna K Away by Jenny Lee what now feels like forever ago, when really it was in May and the start of June. These books have been everywhere but let me give you a quick synopsis of both (spoilers ahead) before a brief review.
Synopsis Via Goodreads
Synopsis Via Goodreads
have to admit that I’m not sure if I’d have picked these up if it weren’t for my favourite bookstagrammers talking and raving about them. I loved the covers but felt that I was maybe past the target audience for these given that they’re set in high school, however I am a fan of Crazy Rich Asians, and given that this was billed as a book for the fans of that series I thought I’d give it a go.
I really struggled to get in to the first book. It just did not capture me at all; I wasn’t fussed about the story line, didn’t really care about the characters one way or the other, my general feeling was ‘Meh’, so I wasn’t looking for every spare minute to grab a couple more pages. I don’t know if part of the issue is that this book is essentially a modern-day retelling of Anna Karenina (hence the name) and I have never been one for those overly dramatic 19th and 20th century pieces, so everything just felt a bit over the top for me. I fought my way through it and obviously had to read Anna K Away, because the cliff hanger from Anna K was just too much! Now this book I liked so much more! It dealt with issues around grief, addiction, mental health, relationships, finding your place in the world, love, sexuality, family and more. These were topics I could get behind; these were things that made me care about the characters! Needless to say, I read this one so much faster and wanted to find the time to read it. As I say, I’m not sure if the Tolstoy of it all, the high school setting or the hype were to blame but what I read didn’t live up to what I was expecting, which is not to say that these are bad books! I liked these two books, with the second being an improvement on the first in my opinion, but they aren’t my favourites, and they aren’t two books that I would be running out and recommending to everyone.
You can also listen to The Stacks episode where Jenny Lee talks about the books and here writing process here.