Aix Marks the Spot

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Pub Date Jun 16 2020 | Archive Date May 31 2020

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Jamie has been dreaming of this summer forever: of road trips and intensive art camps, of meeting cute boys with her best friend Jazz. What she didn’t count on was the car accident.

Exiled away from her family as her mother slowly learns to walk again, Jamie is sent to Provence and trapped in an isolated home with the French grandmother she has never met, the guilt of having almost killed her parents, and no Wi-Fi. Enough to drive a girl mad. That is, until, she finds an old letter from her father, the starting point in a treasure hunt that spans across cities and time itself. Somehow, she knows that the treasure is the key to putting her shattered family back together and that whatever lies at the end has the power to fix everything.

Armed only with a high-school-level of French and a map of local train lines, she must enlist the aid of Valentin, a handsome neighbor who’s willing to translate. To save her family, she has castle ruins to find and sea cliffs to climb; falling for her translator wasn’t part of her plan…

Jamie has been dreaming of this summer forever: of road trips and intensive art camps, of meeting cute boys with her best friend Jazz. What she didn’t count on was the car accident.

Exiled away from...

Advance Praise

“I couldn’t read this book fast enough! AIX MARKS THE SPOT has got everything you could possibly want in a YA contemporary: a complex exploration of family and redemption, powerful characters who demand you keep reading, and an examination of how tragedy can lead to love, all wrapped up in a fun, treasure-hunt-style game.”

- Madeline Dyer, author of the Untamed series

Aix Marks the Spot is at once an insightful exploration of a family splintered by long-buried secrets and a paean to the enduring power of love. By turns hopeful and uncertain, timid and audacious, Jamie is a heroine you will cheer for every step of the way.

- Emily Colin, NYT bestselling author of The Memory Thief

“I couldn’t read this book fast enough! AIX MARKS THE SPOT has got everything you could possibly want in a YA contemporary: a complex exploration of family and redemption, powerful characters who...

Available Editions

ISBN 9781734449501
PRICE $12.99 (USD)

Average rating from 133 members

Featured Reviews

I just loved this book so much. It is so cute. Such a great summer YA contemporary story. The author does a great job describing everything, from the food to the scenery, you will feel transported and never want to leave.

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This book hooked me from the very 1st page to the last. I recommend you save a few bucks so you get this book . It's ridiculously good and a page turner. It's set in Providence and with every page it seems like you are in France. The author is a genius who clearly induces our imagination with the descriptive details in the text. Did I mention Jamie is so lovable (and she can also make you crazy) and Valentin (the handsome neighbor ) is the neighbor I need.

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Actual rating: 4.5 stars.

Aix Marks the Spot is a sweet story about love and family. In this novel, Sarah Anderson tells a story about a girl named Jamie who was sent to a small town in Provence to live with her grandmother while her mother healed from an injury that left her unable to walk. Told in first person perspective, Jamie is in a dark place after this accident. Though her father is French and her mother is a French lit professor, she struggles with the language barrier, which makes her relationship with her grandmother even more contentious (the first reason being that her grandmother and her father have not spoken since he moved to America).

Then Jamie meets Valentin, a boy her age who offers to help translate for her. When Jamie discovers a treasure hunt that her father left for her mother before Jamie was even born, she believes that this hunt is the key to healing her mother. Valentin is roped into her chasse au trésor, which takes them to the places where here parents fell in love.

This book is about both romantic and familial love, in addition to friendship. Anderson makes the characters realistically flawed and demonstrates the importance of communication--language barrier or no. The setting is so well described that it made me feel like I truly was in the south of France.

If you want a fun summer book in a beautiful setting, with realistic relationships and a perfect ending, I highly recommend Aix Marks the Spot.

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Okay, so quite simply I couldn’t read this book fast enough! It was just so good. You know those books that keep you up until the early hours because you just have to know what happens? Well, AIX MARKS THE SPOT is definitely one of them.

It is a YA contemporary that tells the story of Jamie as she’s exiled away to France to live with the grandmother she’s never met. Oh and she doesn’t speak French, and the grandmother doesn’t speak English. Immediate conflict—plus the lingering question over why Jamie’s parents are estranged from the grandmother to start with.

And the backstory of Jamie’s mother’s injury is so well developed and incorporated smoothly into the narrative. Plus, how Jamie thinks she can heal her mother by her own actions in France bring in an element of magical thinking and false belief that isn’t often explored in YA fiction—or at least I’ve not come across it before.

Anderson is a master at characterisation. I immediately loved Jamie and Valentin, and loved the grandmother (in the kind of way you love complex characters who seem dark).

And the love story! Or should I say stories. This book has one love story wrapped up in another—it’s so good!

But there’s some really powerful and poignant stuff in here too. Many sentences made me pause and think deeply—you know the kind of writing I mean? The ones that just make you think how delicious this book is?

Oh and there’s humour too! A certain video scene had me laughing out loud.

This book has got everything you could possibly want in a YA contemporary: a complex exploration of family and redemption, powerful characters, and a look at how tragedy can lead to love, all wrapped up in a fun, treasure-hunt-style game.

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This is honestly a really tough book to review because lots of this hits really close to home and I don't really know how to feel about it sometimes. My situation is a lot farther from Jamie's, as I grew up knowing my parent's home country and their families, but yet sometimes I feel as isolated and pushed out by it, even sometimes my own home country too (like Jamie struggles with but through different motivations). So a lot of the questioning where one belongs/what culture one belongs to hit hard. The letters in the novel themselves also clicked with a lot of my own experiences as I'm also someone who came to a different country to study, and I felt a lot of the same things that Jamie's mother did (like being seen as an American, or even a tourist, is something that makes me cringe a lot sometimes. And it's hard to explain how that impacted my reading experience, or my enjoyment of the book. It just made me feel raw or vulnerable at times, which honestly isn't a bad thing.

Honestly though, Anderson's representation of feeling between cultures, between families, between homes resonated deeply, which must mean that it was well done to a large extent. She captured a lot of what I've felt at times, being 'between' a lot of things myself. The way she portrayed European culture through American eyes was extremely well done as well, even done to the sometimes insanely small showers. Jamie had so many thoughts that I've had myself before, when comparing the two, or what I've heard Europeans say to me about America/ns. It just felt really authentic to reality, and I loved that.

Anderson also did a really great job of building up Provence, of bringing you along on Jamie's journey on her scavenger hunt. You feel her struggles when ordering, with tourists, and her enjoyment in all the new foods. You feel her awe when she comes across castles and beautiful, ancient cities, and I loved that so much. If this doesn't make people want to visit, I don't know what will.

The only reason this is 4 stars is because I found Jamie a little too frustrating at times, especially during her fights with Valentin. People lash out in anger but sometimes those fights, and the current conflict, felt a little forced, or worse, exaggerated. But honestly, this only detracted my enjoyment from very few scenes, as it honestly didn't happen that often.

Overall, I really enjoyed this and honestly didn't expect how real it would feel. I've always kind of avoided the books about Americans traveling to Europe (subconsciously, but still), but this might have convinced me to try and look for more.

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Have you ever read “Anna and the French Kiss?” Think of how adorable that book was, multiply the swoon factor by 1000% for Valentin, throw in family drama and a treasure hunt, and you’ve found yourself in Provence with Jamie. As a French teacher, I love the detailed description of French villages, commentary on tourist etiquette, and the language used throughout. Even teaching into verlan melted my heart. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a great YA read.

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This book was adorable, cute and a real comfort in the current state the world is in. It made me travel without leaving my couch. I adored it. I really hope the author comes out with more fun cosy contemporary stories like this one!

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I loved this book, it was the best I have read for a while. I loved the Provence setting, fell in love with Valentin and really felt for this poor girl who felt that everything was conspiring against her.
The book was heartwarming, charming and I could almost taste the rose and smell the pastries.

This arc copy was provided by netgalley for free in exchange for an honest review.

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