Veronica (Happy) Glass is a 17 year old who has just moved from Sydney to Brisbane after her parents separated. Happy misses her BFF back home and is adjusting to life in a new city. As a serious Francophile, she enters a French Essay competition, and wins. She meets the first Alex, (Alex One) and Professor Tanaka. The professor advises Happy that she’s won the competition because she clearly suffers from Paris Syndrome, an affliction mainly affecting Japanese tourists. It happened to the Professor and she doesn’t want anyone else to suffer like she did. So Happy and Alex One conduct a study of all things French to determine if they can combat this syndrome and avoid their own suffering given their love for France. Along the way Happy meets Alex Two, a French boy whom she likes.
This is a coming of age story of an adolescent during a Brisbane summer, meeting new friends, coming to terms with past losses and trying to navigate her way into adulthood. It’s marketed as a young adult novel but would suit all ages. It’s an absolute treat for lovers of all things French with references to food, movies, books and more. And yes, Paris Syndrome is a real thing! Who knew!