Sep 30, 2014

First World Problems by Leigh Ann Kopans ~ Review

First World Problems
Sofia's had a really rough year - busted for cheating at prep school, dumped - dumped! - for the first time ever, and her new non-profit working stepmother is turning out to be an uppity bitch.

She deserves to treat herself. But when she throws herself a birthday party with 20 of her closest friends in Paris and (accidentally!) maxes out her dad's credit card in the process, he’s had enough of her attitude. As punishment, he switches her planned gap year touring Europe to one doing community service work with the evil stepmother’s relief organization in Guyana.

The rural village of Dabu needs help in every area from education to getting safe drinking water. But Sofia’s more concerned about her roommate Callum, the gardening expert, who calls Sofia "Princess" and scoffs at her distaste for sweaty, muddy, iguana-eating, outhouse-using life in Guyana.

Eventually, life on the equator, her work in the village, and especially Callum - with his brooding eyes and bewitching New Zealand accent - start to grow on Sofia. Life is rough in Guyana, but it’s roughest on the girls, whose families are too poor to send only the most promising boys in school. They’re trapped in a cycle that will keep them from ever making a better life for themselves, or for the village. Worse, Callum doesn’t seem to think any of the changes Sofia envisions are actually necessary.

Determined to change the girls’ futures, she comes up with a strategy to help them and, ultimately, the village. But what starts out as a plan to convince Callum and her father that she’s fallen in love with Guyana, turns into the realization that maybe she’s falling for Callum, too. And that by changing these girls’ lives, she might also be changing her own.

At First Sight
Even before seeing the cover of this book I knew I wanted to read it for several reasons.  First of all, It was Leigh Ann Kopans.  Her writing is always a treat and I have loved every one of her books.  Second, after reading the synopsis, I knew this was a book I would enjoy.  I love a book where a spoiled character is plucked out of their normal life and put into a hard situation.  Then, after seeing the cover, I fell head over heals for this book and I hadn't even cracked it open yet!  The cover is adorable and fits the book perfectly!

Characters and Relationships
I loved the characters in this book.  Sophia is your typical spoiled rich girl and she was written perfectly.  I loved watching her transformation through out the book and the hard situations she was put in, and how she endured them.  I know for myself, I would be freaked out by some of what Sophia had to go through and I don't come from nearly the same background she did.  Callum was entirely delightful and just the kind of guy you would want with you if you found yourself needing to be resourceful as they did in this book.  I really enjoyed watching the development of the relationship between Sophia and Callum and how they learned to work together to meet both of their individual goals as well as make things better for everyone and each other.  

Another relationship I loved watching develop was between Sophia and the people of Dabu.  She started to see what was lacking around her and through helping them with what they needed, she was able to help herself feel useful while helping them and as this happened, she fell in love with the people and made friends.  There was an ongoing theme that I kept feeling throughout reading and that was "we love those we serve" and I really feel like Sophia evolved in this way, learning to love the people because she was in service to them, not just because she had to, but eventually because she wanted to.  These are the kinds of friendships that, when I have found them in my life, are the ones that tend to last a lifetime.  

Is This A Kissing Book?
There is some kissing in this book!  I love books that have growing romantic relationships and this one was no exception.  While it wasn't the main focus of the book, it was an integral part of the story and I enjoyed it.  I would like to note here, that I would consider this book an upper YA and as it didn't make me as an adult feel uncomfortable in any way while reading, I wouldn't recommend to anyone under 16.

Don't Leave Me Hanging
First World Problems is a companion novel to Leigh Ann's book Solving For Ex (which I would also recommend) and works well as a stand alone.  There isn't a cliff hanger for the book although it would be okay with me if she would like to write more with these characters because they were so enjoyable.

The Best Gems
  • Poise and Control
  • Iguana
  • Bus Rides in the Amazon
  • Spider Wasp
  • Monkeys
  • Waterfall
  • Wiri Wiri
  • "Animal" Milk 

The Sum Up
First World Problems was my favorite book thus far from Leigh Ann Kopans.  Her writing is one that always seems to agree with me and I love how you can really feel like you are in her books.  It was very clear to me that there had been extensive research done on her part to make the book feel authentic and as a reader, I always feel appreciative of such things.  There are many things you could take away from this story but for me it can be summed up in this one quote from the book:

"Service isn't symbolic.  Service means work.  
Sometimes hard, always dedicated work."

Thank you Leigh Ann for writing another wonderful story filled with fun and meaning.  This is definitely one I will pick up and pass on in the years to come. 

I am giving away 2 ebook copies of First World Problems!  I will be selecting the winners from the comments on this post so please leave a comment and let me know why you would like to read First World Problems (please leave me an email address that you can be reached at if you are a winner).  This giveaway will run through Friday, October 3 at Midnight.

1 comment:

  1. That title matches so well! It's perfect.
    I want to read this because it sounds pretty darn good and I too love spoiled characters that learn that there is more to life.