Ana of California
by Andi Teran
Publisher: Penguin Books
Release Date: June 30th 2015
Genre: Adult, Young Adult crossover, Fiction, Retellings, Coming of Age, Contemporary
Appropriate for YA audiences.
A modern take on the classic coming-of-age novel, inspired by Anne of Green Gables
In the grand tradition of Anne of Green Gables, Bridget Jones’s Diary, and The Three Weissmanns of Westport, Andi Teran’s captivating debut novel offers a contemporary twist on a beloved classic. 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.
If you were a fan of Anne of Green Gables, then Ana of California is a book for you. It is a retelling of the story but brings it into the modern world. Andi Teran does an excellent job of bringing diversity to the world of Anne of Green Gables by introducing Ana, a Mexican girl who is shuffled through the foster care system, until there is no place left for her to go. I will be honest and say that I have never read Anne of Green Gables, but remember seeing at least one of the moves, so I was excited to read this re-telling.
The characters introduced in the story are a great mix of personalities. I was not sure what to expect with Ana, the main character, but I liked that she was feisty and outspoken. She stood up for what she believed was right. Her feistiness made her a likeable character.
The character of Abbie, made me think of a mother. She had that warm and inviting personality that mothers have. I felt like she was looking for someone to take care of, that she not only wanted to help Ana, but she was looking for someone that needed her as much as she needed them. On the flip side of that was her brother Emmett, he came across to me as the gruff man that wanted to be left alone to do his work on the farm, and did not want to form any attachment to the foster child, intern, that Abbie was bringing to the farm. I loved that he expected a boy and was surprised by Ana at the airport, and eve more importantly by the fact that she did the work on the farm. Maybe not always right, but she did it. The character of Rye, I felt was great at the start, she gave Ana friendship with someone her own age. But like all friendships, they have their ups and downs.
While I did enjoy this book, I felt like sometimes the transition from who was “speaking” was a little confusing, but it was nice to see multiple points of view, especially from the main characters. It gives a reader a chance to fully understand what is going on.
All in all a cute story, and a fun retelling of a coming of age story that many people grew up with.
Selena Gomez as Ana
Lilly Collins as Rye
Meg Ryan as Abbie
John Goodman as Emmett
Andi Teran is a writer and performer originally from the deserts of West Texas. She has written about fashion, film, and culture for Vanity Fair, MTV, New York, and Monocle, as well as written and performed for various New York stages. She lives in Los Angeles. Ana of California is her first novel.