Wickedly Indulgent and Dramatic | Review: Anna K by Jenny Lee

9:24 PM

Anna K is exactly what I wanted it to be: a delightful and indulging spin on Anna Karenina, with just the right sprinkle of Gossip Girl vibes. Yum. One of my favourite classics just got a dazzling makeover.

by Jenny Lee 

Every happy teenage girl is the same, while every unhappy teenage girl is miserable in her own special way.

Meet Anna K. At seventeen, she is at the top of Manhattan and Greenwich society (even if she prefers the company of her horses and Newfoundland dogs); she has the perfect (if perfectly boring) boyfriend, Alexander W.; and she has always made her Korean-American father proud (even if he can be a little controlling). Meanwhile, Anna's brother, Steven, and his girlfriend, Lolly, are trying to weather a sexting scandal; Lolly’s little sister, Kimmie, is struggling to recalibrate to normal life after an injury derails her ice dancing career; and Steven’s best friend, Dustin, is madly (and one-sidedly) in love with Kimmie.

As her friends struggle with the pitfalls of ordinary teenage life, Anna always seems to be able to sail gracefully above it all. That is…until the night she meets Alexia “Count” Vronsky at Grand Central. A notorious playboy who has bounced around boarding schools and who lives for his own pleasure, Alexia is everything Anna is not. But he has never been in love until he meets Anna, and maybe she hasn’t, either. As Alexia and Anna are pulled irresistibly together, she has to decide how much of her life she is willing to let go for the chance to be with him. And when a shocking revelation threatens to shatter their relationship, she is forced to question if she has ever known herself at all.

Dazzlingly opulent and emotionally riveting, Anna K.: A Love Story is a brilliant reimagining of Leo Tolstoy's timeless love story, Anna Karenina―but above all, it is a novel about the dizzying, glorious, heart-stopping experience of first love and first heartbreak.

Anna K by Jenny Lee 
Rating: ★★★★
   
As always, a copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for my participation in the blog tour/my honest review. This does not effect my opinion in any way. 

It's no secret that I'm trash for novels that are reminiscent of my early reading years. Namely? Cecily von Ziegesar's Gossip Girl. It's no secret, too, that one of my favourite pieces of classic literature is Anna Karenina. This novel felt as though it were written with me in mind. From the moment I saw it pitched as an Anna Karenina retelling with 'a little bit of Crazy Rich Asians, a little bit of Gossip Girl' I was like, oh, yep, time to pre-order.   

I was smitten with Anna K before even having the chance to read it. I was even more smitten with it after reading. All the glitzy glamour, betrayal, rich-kids-behaving-badly, dishy drama I was promised was there and boy did it deliver. Anna K shines bright and entertains you from start to finish. This is very much so a read-in-one-sitting novel.

Anna K is one of those stories that feels electrically familiar, intriguing and new. You don't have to love Anna Karenina to love this spin, but you must come into it expecting the very same dramatics with a twist.

You see the elements of the original story peeking through and there's almost a sort of nostalgic quality to it. Like, if I closed my eyes, I could easily have seen myself devouring this book in high school and discussing it with my friends at lunch. Its author painstakingly embraces the highly indulgent and glamorous quality of both its source material and Gossip Girl

In truth, Jenny Lee twists this work of classic literature into something new and lively. Added to the mix are sex, drugs, angst and a whole lot of morally gray characters. 

While I had expected to, of course, adore Anna K, I didn't think I'd love it quite as much as I do. Lee balances the overall luxury and decadence of the story, but keeps it emotionally charged and buries complexities into the plotline in a way that is refreshing and smart. 

Anna K is stylish, intense, fun and beautifully written. It is perfect for fans of Cecily von Ziegesar and Katharine McGee. Get ready for some dishy fun! Oh, yes, I'm more than excited to see where Jenny Lee takes the story next--and just how much it will differ and grow into its own.


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