Ana of California by Andi Teran
A modern take on the classic coming-of-age novel, inspired by Anne of Green Gables
In the grand tradition of Anne of Green Gables, Bridget Jones’s Diary, and The Three Weissmanns of Westport, Andi Teran’s captivating debut novel offers a contemporary twist on a beloved classic. Fifteen-year-old orphan Ana Cortez has just blown her last chance with a foster family. It’s a group home next—unless she agrees to leave East Los Angeles for a farm trainee program in Northern California.
When she first arrives, Ana can’t tell a tomato plant from a blackberry bush, and Emmett Garber is skeptical that this slight city girl can be any help on his farm. His sister Abbie, however, thinks Ana might be just what they need. Ana comes to love Garber Farm, and even Emmett has to admit that her hard work is an asset. But when she inadvertently stirs up trouble in town, Ana is afraid she might have ruined her last chance at finding a place to belong.
This book was enjoyable on two levels. First, it is a wonderful modernization of Anne of Green Gables. Teran very masterfully created a new story that lined up so well with many elements of the original plot, including Anne’s explosive conversation with Rachel, the dying of Anne’s hair, Diana’s getting drunk, etc. All of the important characters are there, although she flips some aspects of Marilla’s and Matthew’s personalities in the creation of Abbie and Emmett.
Second, Ana’s struggle to find a loving home after the horrors of her past and her 10-year stint in foster care was so touching. This book filled the void left by The Fosters now that I’ve caught up on the series. Her life on the farm with Abbie and Emmett reminded me of The Language of Flowers.
Ana is every bit as talkative, precocious, and feisty as the original Anne. Abbie is loving and kind, while Emmett is quiet and gruff but has a good heart. The relationship between Abbie and Emmett is very much the same as the original story. Rye is a very interesting replacement for Diana. I really enjoyed her character.
Cole is not at all like Gilbert, but I am guessing that is intentional. Gilbert is a hard character to replace. The love story is more pronounced than in the original (movie at least, I’ve never read the book – gasp!). But I enjoyed the development of this sweet romance. It was more forbidden than I expected, and the tangled web of small town affairs was an added element to the story.
I think Anne-lovers and other readers will enjoy this story about love of all kinds.
My Rating: 4 Stars
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