Anna K: A Love Story
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Jenny Lee's Anna K: A Love Story is an updated take on the Leo Tolstoy classic, Anna Karenina. Russia has been swapped for New York City and Greenwich, Connecticut, and this Anna is a wealthy 17-year-old Korean American socialite in the making. She has a boyfriend who's away at college and pretty much manages to avoid the excesses in the lives of her brother and their friends -- privileged, indulged lives that revolve around drinking, drugs, sex, and shopping. When Anna meets 16-year-old Alexia Vronsky (known both for his good looks and for having sex with countless teen girls), it's love at first sight, no matter the consequences.The teen characters are all sexually active or want to be. Girls talk about how boyfriends can expect "extra-special blow jobs on major holidays." There's a sex tape (taken without consent), and naked selfies and an up-the-skirt video are shared. Casual drug taking is more the norm than the exception, and characters regularly use strong language ("f--k," "s--t," "pissed," "bitch," "goddamn"). As in Tolstoy's novel, there's tragedy.
Explicit Content - Gossip Girl-esque
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What's the Story?
ANNA K: A LOVE STORY interweaves the lives of a group of teens who attend posh prep schools in New York City and Greenwich, Connecticut. The beautiful and effortlessly stylish 17-year-old Anna Kim lives at her family's country home in Greenwich so she can be near her show horses and beloved Newfoundland dogs. She's been dating Alexander, a somewhat prudish (according to her friends) Ivy League freshman, since she was 14. Her older brother, Steven, lives in New York and spends his time partying, chasing girls, and having the occasional cocaine bender. His girlfriend, Lolly, has just discovered he's been cheating on her with a girl from the Bronx. Lolly's 15-year-old sister, Kimmie, whose dreams of becoming an Olympic ice dancer were tragically dashed, has been somewhat comforted by winning the No. 3 spot on an underground list of the hottest girls in New York private schools. The bookish Dustin, who's Black and was adopted into a White Jewish family, has been newly and reluctantly hired as Steven's tutor (at $2,000 a week). A childhood friend, he's into coffee shops, study groups, and smart girls. Then there's Alexia Vronsky, as charming, good-looking, and sophisticated as a 16-year-old could possibly be, with a well-founded reputation for having sex with numerous high school girls. No surprise that when Anna meets Alexia, it's love at first sight. Alexia pledges to change his playboy ways, and Anna gives Alexander the boot. But the path of true love for the pair will not be easy, particularly when Dustin falls in love with Kimmie, who's desperately in love with Alexia.
Is It Any Good?
There's betrayal, heartbreak, family drama, lots of partying and drinking, a sex tape, and a major tragedy in this uneven teen remake of the Tolstoy classic. Readers who loved Gossip Girl and never miss Keeping Up with the Kardashians are likely to be big fans of Anna K.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the teens' hard partying in Anna K. Do you think the novel glamorizes their lives, or does the storyline show the consequences of casual sex and drug use?
Why do you think TV shows about the rich and famous are so popular?
Has anyone ever filmed you or your friends without your consent and then posted the video on social media? Are there steps you can take to stop this from happening, or is this just the world we live in now?
- Author: Jenny Lee
- Genre: Coming of Age
- Topics: High School
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Flatiron Books
- Publication date: March 3, 2020
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 14 - 18
- Number of pages: 377
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: April 1, 2020
Our Editors Recommend
Fun coming-of-age drama that's great for teens.
Odd One Out
Honest, engaging tale of teen sexuality and friendship.
Superb, socially conscious drama deals with tough issues.
For kids who love romance
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate