Book Review | Anna K by Jenny Lee

I think that this book is a must read for everyone. Especially anyone who enjoys Gossip Girl or Crazy Rich Asians – this book is a perfect amalgamation of both and will leave your head spinning and heart aching.

Book Review: Anna K: A Love Story by Jenny Lee – ReadingMaria

The plot of the novel revolves around Anna K, a daughter belonging to a tremendously rich family living in New York. As the novel begins, readers observe how perfect her life is – she’s been dating the straight A student and Harvard freshman Alexander for three years, plays the violin brilliantly, is known for her politeness, has two amazing Newfoundlands, and almost every girl in New York is jealous of how effortlessly gorgeous she looks. However, as the plot progresses, Anna finds herself falling for the bad boy she never thought she would and witnesses her entire world come crumbling down around her feet. She makes new friends along the way and discovers the ones that actually stand behind and support her. She loses a lot by the end of the novel, but finds herself and who she is as an individual as a girl in the 21st century.

Though this book wasn’t a heavy read, it wasn’t exactly a light one either. I often found myself, while laughing throughout, actually sit back and reflect upon my own experiences and even upon some of the prejudices I harbored but didn’t even know about. This book addressed issues like sexism, sexuality, death, and substance-abuse. Though Lee introduced many characters and often switched from one perspective to another, it never seemed confusing to me as a reader. The transition from one character’s mind in one particular situation to another’s in a completely different one was quite seamless and kept me engaged throughout the novel.

There were many twists that I simply did not see coming and I liked the book more because of them. Never once did I think that I could predict what was going to happen or that the story was becoming boring – there was never a dull moment. I actually liked all the female characters in the novel and appreciated how all of them were so unique, representing all kinds of women. I was glad to witness each one of their transformations as they grew from uncertain and meek girls to strong, independent and opinionated young women.

Another feature that I enjoyed enormously was how everything seemed to be connected to one another – each event as well as each character. I don’t know exactly to explain this, but I felt like there was a complete circle. Though a few of the characters do not know of the other’s existence, they eventually ended up majorly influencing each others’ life – usually for the better (I wish I could give examples here to explain this better, but then I would be giving out gigantic spoilers and you would then want to kill me, so just bare with me and take my word for it).

I know Anna K by Jenny Lee takes elements from the classic Anna Karenina written by Leo Tolstoy and that is something that quite fascinated me. I was awestruck by how incredibly Lee was able to transform a 19th century Russian classic to a modern day 21st century Young Adult novel. Lee mentions in her Acknowledgments at the end of her novel, however, that she drastically changed the ending of her novel and did not want her novel to end the way Tolstoy’s had. I’m quite glad she made this decision because I saw Anna’s character transform and become the best version possible, making it the best ending possible. I am now pretty intrigued by the original version of Anna Karenina written by Leo Tolstoy and might end up picking his book as well. Let’s see…

Have you read this novel yet? If not, then what are you waiting for!? And if you have, then what are your thoughts? Did you like it as much as I did? Was there something that you loved or didn’t like that much about this novel? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

– Just Another Magical Soul


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