"When Vix's classmates find out that their visiting French exchange students will include boys, everyone is very excited. Everyone, that is, except Vix, who has a sick mother to cope with, and no time for boys. But her student does turn out to be a boy, and, what's more, he's both gorgeous and charming. All her friends and schoolmates are jealous, especially when he appears to have eyes for no-one but Vix. But is he for real? How long can it last? And will Vix's secrets and lies destroy the relationship?"
Oh, how I love the Camden Town Tales. It's a brilliant series for younger teens, taking a good look at all types of teen-girl relationships - with parents, with friends, with schoolmates and less-than-mates, with boys... and with themselves. The girls work through many problems, with London's Camden Town itself always providing a colourful, entertaining backdrop to the action.
Vix is quite a private person, so it was wonderful to see her take the spotlight in this third book (which, by the way, works well as a standalone - you quickly get to know the other characters and parts of their stories). I really enjoyed finding out more about Vix's life. She possibly has the toughest time of it, out of the three friends. She's a carer for her mother - a task she takes on without complaint, however much it might interfere with any potential fun in her life. It's easy to understand why she glosses over a few truths when she meets the gorgeous, intriguing Xavier, and yet it's also clear from the start that she might live to regret this approach...
I adored the character of Xavier and the way he brought Vix out of her shell. I think this is possibly the most romantic of the Camden Town Tales books, and yet it's still as grounded as the others. Hilary Freeman has a knack of telling a satisfying wish-fulfilment story which is also down-to-earth and always believable. I especially love the way the three main girls stick together despite some testing times, and the way the ultimate importance of their friendship is shown.
Realistic teen romance with a brilliant setting and characters you want to meet.
Review by Luisa.
The Boy From France by Hilary Freeman
Piccadilly Press Ltd