cover image Anna K (Anna K #1)

Anna K (Anna K #1)

Jenny Lee. Flatiron, $18.99 (400p) ISBN 978-1-250-23643-2

TV writer Lee modernizes Anna Karenina with a heavy serving of Gossip Girl in her ambitious YA debut. Seventeen-year-old Anna K, who is half-Korean and half-white, sits at the center of her elite Connecticut private high school social scene. Though she loves her Harvard boyfriend, an encounter with the handsome Count Alexia Vronsky in Manhattan’s Grand Central Terminal leads to a flirtation that becomes something more. Dutiful Anna struggles with who she wants to be amid social expectations, and Vronsky offers her a chance to act impulsively. Filled with a compelling supporting cast—including Anna’s clueless but charming older brother—this retelling focuses on a New York City filled with teen socialites who have unlimited access to money, designer goods, and drugs. The superficial narrative leans heavily on slang and designer name-dropping, failing to conjure the original’s heft, occasionally exoticizing Anna’s beauty, and at times losing sight of its own deeper themes, including class issues. Details about the wealthy behaving badly abound, however, offering plenty for readers looking to enjoy the Gossip Girl side of the story. Ages 14–up. [em]Agent: Sally Wofford-Girand, Union Literary. (Mar.) [/em]