Ana of California by Andi Teran
Pub. Date: June 30, 2015
Source: finished copy via publisher (Thank you, Penguin!!)
Summary: Fifteen-year-old orphan Ana Cortez has just blown her last chance with a foster family. It’s a group home next—unless she agrees to leave East Los Angeles for a farm trainee program in Northern California.
When she first arrives, Ana can’t tell a tomato plant from a blackberry bush, and Emmett Garber is skeptical that this slight city girl can be any help on his farm. His sister Abbie, however, thinks Ana might be just what they need. Ana comes to love Garber Farm, and even Emmett has to admit that her hard work is an asset. But when she inadvertently stirs up trouble in town, Ana is afraid she might have ruined her last chance at finding a place to belong.
Genre: Coming-of-Age, Retelling, YA (???)
Recommended for: Readers curious about a modern take of Anne of Green Gables, fans of the underdog
When I first heard about an Anne of Green Gables retelling, I was instantly sold. That book, that series was a defining part of my childhood, particularly in terms of cultivating a love of reading, so naturally I was interested in seeing how Andi Teran would take these beloved characters and reshape them, modernize them.
Ana Cortez is, unfortunately, no stranger to the foster system. For ten years she’s been in and out of homes, always managing to say or do something that ultimately sends her packing. On the verge of fifteen, she has one final shot at getting this right: there’s a farm looking for some summer help. She’ll be hired on as an intern and, if all goes well after that month, she’ll be on her way to emancipation.
Keeping the secrets of her past shut tight inside her, Ana knows she needs to get through this, she needs to make it through one month and then she’ll be free. Upon arrival at Garber Farm, however, she immediately realizes it’s not going to be easy. Siblings Abbie and Emmett couldn’t be more different – Abbie with her love of cooking and no-nonsense Emmett – but Ana soon discovers this brother and sister duo has their own secrets and memories they’d just as soon forget. With a new friend (her very first) in Rye, and a cute boy named Cole, Ana’s determined to see it through the next few weeks.
There’s a lot going on here – a lot. Everyone in town has deep-rooted grudges, long-harbored feuds, hurt feelings, and hidden pasts. At times it seems as though it’s impossible for anyone in this town to be happy, certainly not when affairs are ruining marriages, drugs and alcohol come into play, yet another mountain lion shows up (bewilderingly, this is my second book this month that featured a random mountain lion!) Honestly, the only happy person in town is Alder Kinman, preferring his secluded cabin with his beehives (and Eli the bear) to mingling with the townsfolk.
While I enjoyed Ana of California, I’m not sure I enjoyed it as a retelling and, truth to told, I don’t believe I would have read it had Anne not been attached. As a separate entity, it works just fine – though I’m not entirely sure how I would classify this. I instinctively want to label it Adult (and the fact that it doesn’t come from a Young Adult imprint and features a Readers Guide furthers that instinct) but it clearly has a YA feel that could make this one an excellent crossover hit. Fans of the original honestly could go either way – personally I liked this book a lot, but not as a retelling. It’s fully capable of standing on its own and readers unfamiliar with Anne will have no trouble diving in.
ONE lucky winner will receive a copy of Andi Teran’s Ana of California AS WELL AS this gorgeous version of Anne of Green Gables!!
All you need to do is fill out this form (US ONLY, PLEASE!) and I’ll announce the winner this Sunday, July 5.