Review: My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris

On the precipice of her sixteenth birthday, the last thing lone wolf Cat Crawford wants is an extravagant gala thrown by her bubbly stepmother and well-meaning father. So even though Cat knows the family’s trip to Florence, Italy, is a peace offering, she embraces the magical city and all it offers. But when her curiosity leads her to an unusual gypsy tent, she exits . . . right into Renaissance Firenze.

Thrust into the sixteenth century armed with only a backpack full of contraband future items, Cat joins up with her ancestors, the sweet Alessandra and protective Cipriano, and soon falls for the gorgeous aspiring artist Lorenzo. But when the much-older Niccolo starts sniffing around, Cat realizes that an unwanted birthday party is nothing compared to an unwanted suitor full of creeptastic amore. Can she find her way back to modern times before her Italian adventure turns into an Italian forever?

I love the title of this book! Who hasn’t seen at least one episode of My Super Sweet 16?

I don’t read many time travel books because it always seems like the couple is split up at the end, and who wants that? I think most of the ones I’ve read, the person left behind in the past ends up spending life alone and the person who returns to the present day meets someone who just happens to look exactly like the person (s)he fell in love with in the past. That doesn’t work for me; it’s not the same person! After I’ve spent an entire book falling in love with a couple, I want THEM to end up together. But it’s tricky when time travel is involved so I usually avoid the whole mess by not reading time travel books. Problem solved.

I received the second book in this series to review, so I wanted to read this one first. I’m glad I did. I really did like it, and with at least one more book in the series, it’s left open enough for things to resolve themselves. And, unfortunately (or maybe not, for me), I didn’t really fall in love with Cat/Lorenzo. I liked Cat just fine. Lorenzo, though, was kind of dull. This was a quick read and there was so much going on that we didn’t get to know him much, aside from one of my favorite parts of the book.

In this book, Cat’s ancestors believe that she’s their newly orphaned relative from London, Patience. This helps Cat explain away some of her unfamiliarity with Renaissance and Italian customs, although she’s still a little dense sometimes. It was obvious long before she caught on that Niccolo wanted her and meant to have her.

My favorite part of the book were the scenes when Cat, Alessandra, Cipriano, and Lorenzo leave the city to visit the countryside. They were all able to relax a bit and be themselves instead of having to conform to their parents’ and society’s ideas. I also loved any time Cat would delve into her backpack and share its contents with Alessandra: makeup and scented lotions, her iPod (music! movies!), gossip magazines. The scenes with Cat and Alessandra were some of the strongest of the book.

Oh, and she meets Michelangelo. SHE. MEETS. MICHELANGELO. I don’t even know or care much about art and I was starstruck.

I’m looking forward to reading the next book, and I hope Cipriano gets his own book. I’d love to read about him, whether he travels to the future or he meets (another!) girl traveling back in time. Hey, he has experience dealing with that now, even if he doesn’t know it.