Finding Anna by Katie Cross
A Health and Happiness Society spinoff
Published by THHS Publishing on 28 February 2019.
Scroll down for the review and giveaway!
Note: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Anna Buchanan is a freshman college student with one plan: travel abroad.
Except . . . college life isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. Her new roommate definitely has a quirky side. All those romantic comedies she watched growing up? Not happening. Money is harder to come by than she thought, and her first kiss is less-than-foot-popping.
Not to mention the fact that there aren’t enough hours in her day to sell blood plasma, work at the deli, and volunteer at her dream internship.
All of Anna’s hard-thought dreams tumble around her ankles when she buries herself too deep in dreams. Then the most terrifying news hits her like a slap in the face.
Can Anna salvage the time and money needed to fulfill her dreams? Or will she have to face the truth: that sometimes our greatest adventures never take us very far away.
Join Anna Buchanan in Finding Anna, a heartwarming novel about odd roommates, unattainable college boys, and the epic quest to find yourself.
I hated Anna Buchanan.
From the beginning, I already knew I wasn’t going to be her biggest fan. Why did I hate Anna? That’s because I used to be Anna, and I bet a lot of other readers would agree that they see part of themselves in her. She is a teenager, a very idealistic one at that, despite her parents calling her Sensible Anna, and she brings the metaphorical ‘the world is your oyster‘ phrase too true and dear to her heart. Once in my life, I was unapologetic of how I planned to do the things I want, I was brave crossing the thin line to stupidity, and I was very particular with how I want my life to pan out. Likewise, Anna, to the point of obsession, is so focused on earning the money for her travel plans, that she unintentionally disregards her age and inexperience, her family’s financial state, and the overall higher rate of impossibility of the things she wants to happen to her.
“Anna, you’ve never really been a reality person, you know? That’s why your father and I have planned things out for you. You’re too much of a dreamer. You need someone to keep you grounded. “
Now, I’m unsure if this is the message that the author wanted to put out, but to me, what was said was this: You are young, you don’t know everything, and that’s okay. Anna is introduced to us by way of her dreams and travel plans and it’s only when everything starts really falling apart that she finally admits there are things she can’t plan and that there are dreams she can’t schedule.
“Dreams don’t pay the bills. In the end, dreams are just that: dreams.”
Melanie and Anna’s friendship is interesting, because it seemed Melanie’s known so much of Anna’s, but Anna knows very little of Melanie. In fact, at first I even though T, the guy Melanie was with at the beginning, was a brother, a cousin, or a friend, following the First Girl Wins trope. Melanie’s mystery is implied across all throughout the book. One character talked about her as such: “She seems a little out of place in a small town like this, doesn’t she?” which is why I wondered if Melanie’s also a recurring character in one of the other books in The Health & Happiness Society (I planned to review the other books too, but unfortunately my exams got rescheduled).
A college-aged character’s life will not be complete without a little romance, and I liked Anna’s awkward behavior through it all. She isn’t portrayed as a ditz, or as someone completely blind to another’s affections towards her. This poor girl panics over how unrealistic movies and books show first kisses and flirting. To top it off, her dreamy perceptions and antics make an appearance, a little like Mia in The Princess Diaries, as she wonders about butterflies in her stomach, wind in her hair, and music during a kiss.
It’s never just a kiss, I want to say, but I blow out a quick breath instead. It’s story. It’s romance. It’s passion. It’s supposed to be perfect. [But] it’s not. Like having a roommate. Like college in general. Like life and finances and parents and romance. I’m beginning to suspect nothing ever is. “Yeah, okay,” I say. “Just a kiss.”
A little further into the book is when, romantic-wise, things look up for Anna, before it’s snatched from her again. I like how the author paralleled one girl’s hopeful beginning of a relationship and the other’s nervousness of ending one, by putting both scenes next to each other.
Comparison of the character and myself aside, though, Anna really is not my favorite character. She feels very two-dimensional to me, and although I keep reading “I want this, I want that” throughout, I also didn’t quite get her desperation to pursue her dream to travel the world. At one point, Anna even agrees to be an unpaid intern to a company that promised the perks of travelling as part of the job, and because she wants to see the world outside of her small town, she even ends up volunteering for a managerial position that she, frankly, is not even ready to do. However, even that wasn’t enough to convince me. The book is written from her perspective but I still needed more of Anna. In my notes, I wrote this about her from the first few chapters: poor unlucky girl is surrounded by nice rich people. Unfortunately, somewhat to the end this is a little true. While I have no doubt about people’s graciousness and willingness to help, I’m not really a fan of how these are portrayed in books and movies because it’s like things just fall into place for the main character largely because of the helpful people around her. Kind of defeats the purpose of the journey for me.
Overall, I like how this is very YA and innocent. It captures the idealism of a teen well; the inconsistency, the indecisiveness, the occasional thick-skinned personality. Now that I’m older, I’ve come to realize that these are things that annoyed me about teenagers, truth be told, but that’s the thing. When you’re young, a part of you really has that belief that you can do and achieve absolutely anything you put your mind to. But the thing is, life works in different ways for different people, and that’s what one’s journey from teenagehood to adulthood will teach you.
Thank you, Silver Dagger Tours for letting me be part of Katie Cross’ The Health & Happiness Society series tour and giveaway. This lasts from 29 October to 29 November. You can check out the tour participants’ posts here.
My world revolves around my husband (who is a major hottie), my precious kids, my Vizsla’s who act like children, and the mountains.
I wear hiking boots instead of heels when I need to feel powerful, and on a bad day, I love a weightlifting workout. Actually, I love it on a good day.
I don’t eat bread because my thyroid doesn’t like it, although there are days I miss it. Especially ciabatta. Sweet potatoes are kind of my thing. Cookies too.
I write because I never stopped.
Author of The Network Series, The Dragonmaster Trilogy, and The Health and Happiness Society.
Follow the tour HERE for special content and giveaway of 25$ Amazon gift card.