Cover Image: My Not-So-Great French Escape

My Not-So-Great French Escape

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Member Reviews

Rylan and Wilder have been friends and are now starting to go through some growing pains.  Wilder will be spending the summer at a camp in the north side of France.  Wilder and Rylan have had some differences starting with the financial background.  Wilder’s mom has developed an app to start tracking your water and reminding you to continue drinking.  This has helped his family to become very wealthy.
Rylan’s parents are divorced and his father left when he was a small baby.  Rylan finds out that his dad is in Paris very close to where Rylan will be staying for the summer.  Rylan discovers that his dad will be leaving the area on Bastille Day.  
The owner of the farm, Pierre de Beaulieu, has offered a competition that will win a trip to Paris to celebrate Bastille Day.  There are two teams who are trying to compete to be the best team.  Rylan is the head of his team and they will raise money by picking cherries, milking goats, making ice cream, possibly cheese and trying to sell more than Wilder’s group.  There is an intense competition between the teams.  Will Wilder and Rylan be able to make peace with each other?  Will Rylan have a chance to meet his father?  Will life become easier?

I cannot wait until the finalized official audiobook is released.  The kids' voices and the French words will be fun to hear, not digitized.  *I received a digital copy from Netgalley in return for an honest review. All opinions are strictly my own.*
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Thank you, NetGalley, for giving me an eARC of this audiobook. I will be holding my review for this title until HarperCollins Union has a fair contract. #HarperCollinsUnion
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Rylan goes to France for a summer camp to see the sites and become immersed in the culture while helping out on a farm. He must live with a group of other kids who are not always the nicest and he learns who his true friends are. He also needs to decide if he wants to try to meet up with his dad who abandoned him when he was 3. A good story about finding out who you really are and standing up for what you believe in.
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This is a feel-good hopeful book about navigating friendships and relationships. Rylan goes to France to hopefully bond with his friend Wilder but soon learns Wilder may not be the true friend he thinks he is. This is a story of how to form authentic friendships with people who will accept you for who you are. Ryan also wants to meet his estranged father and his growing anxiety about this is felt throughout the book. I enjoyed learning about farm life in France but the relationship with the father felt unresolved. I get it that not everything can be tied up nice and neat, but for a middle grade book, I think there needs to be a bit more closure in regards to that storyline.
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My Not-So-Great French Escape 
3.5 Stars 

Rylan has high hopes of rekindling his friendship with his once BFF on a trip to France. His mother has other ideas entirely (plot twist). While these two friends were once close, they have a frenemy-type relationship now. I didn't find this book a fun, light read. The shit gets real, really fast. I'll say this book puts you through your emotional paces. But you can't stop cheering for the underdog. 

This heartbreaking book addresses the difficult topic of when to set boundaries, toxic/abusive people, and the difficulties of breaking up. It's difficult to cut someone out of your life. This book follows that grieving process. There's definitely teachable scenes that could be used by educators & councilors. 

Rylan makes new friends by the end of the book, and it warms my heart. All of us "weird" people have to find our tribe of like-minded people. 

I can see this book as useful for those ever hopeful and caring young individuals out there that are always looking for the best in people and sometimes get hurt. Friendship/relationships should be a two-way street. If you're putting in all the work into a friendship, it might be time to reevaluate the relationship and take a big step back. 

Overall, My Not-So-Great French Escape is a good book. I found this book a little too sad for my liking and that's why I ranked it slightly lower. Everyone's reading mileage may very. 



Thank you, NetGalley and, for an advance review copy for free and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
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This book was about a boy that wanted to become closer with one of his friends, but also meet up with his father who he hasn’t seen in many years.  He ends up learning that people you think may be friends or family, really aren’t what you believe them to be.
Along the way he also learned gardening skills, entrepreneurial skills and that you have have a friendship with someone even if they are on the other side of the world.
I think this would be a great book for a guidance counselor. I did enjoy the book, just not for my job.
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Rylan has been slowly losing his best friend over the past year or two, but when they both get a chance to participate in a summer program on an organic farm in France, Rylan hopes that they'll finally have the chance to spend time together again. Unfortunately, they're split into different groups, and Rylan is immediately labeled one of the "weird kids," which isn't doing great things for his social life or for his self esteem. Meanwhile, he's finally gotten contact information for the man who walked out of his life when he was three, and Rylan has to make the decision of whether or not he wants to try to meet up with his dad while they're in the same country. He's getting kind of used to being rejected, but even if his former best friend doesn't want to spend time with him, his dad should want to, right?

This brief yet poignant tale has a lot of insight on when it's appropriate to cut someone out of your life. A relationship doesn't have to be toxic to be unhealthy. If you're the only one putting in work, know that you deserve better. I loved the little tidbits about organic farming that are sprinkled throughout this story, and watching Rylan develop friendships with the other "weird kids" made my heart happy. A thoroughly enjoyable read for a Sunday afternoon. I can't wait until the official audiobook comes out, as I'd love to hear the French pronounced correctly and the other kids' accents articulated better than a synthesized voice is capable of. 

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this audio ARC. All opinions are my own.
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This book would engage some lower middle grade and upper elementary readers. It told the story of Rylan whose father left when he was very young, has bullied by someone who use to be a good friend and ended up having an opportunity to spend a summer in France gardening and making new friends. There were moments and elements of the book that were really good, like his connection to his new friends and realization what it means to be a real friend. However, the author left the situation with his dad unresolved and didn't firm up how he would handle his past friendship. It seemed so much was left unresolved and it needed more.
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Ryland is invited to go to a summer camp working on a French Farm by his friend Wilder.  Him and Wilder used to be best friends but have drifted apart so Ryland thinks this will help restore their relationship.  When they get to France, Ryland discovers that his estranged father actually lives there and reaches out to him.  Also, once on the farm, Wilder shows his true colors but Ryland ends up making better friends on the farm.  Loved it.  Very endearing.  #MyNotSoGreatFrenchEscape #NetGalley
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Thank you to #NetGalley, Cliff Burke, and the publisher for the eARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Rylan and his best friend Wilder have been drifting apart for awhile, so when Wilder invites him to come work on a farm with him in France, Rylan is eager to enjoy. What is Rylan not eager about? The bombshell that his mom dropped on him about his long lost father.
Between the craziness of the farm and the anticipation of maybe meeting his father, Rylan isn't having the French adventure he thought he would. Can Rylan learn find his way and learn to enjoy new adventures.

This was a random find on NetGalley and it did not disappoint! This was a fun middle grade read aloud that I think will be a pick of many readers. I liked Rylan because he's a character that I think many kids will be able to relate to. I look forward to buying this book for my classroom!
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