Anna K Away is a testament to the idea that if a first book is just on the fence for you, giving the next one a try can be an amazing idea. While there were elements of Anna K I enjoyed, there were some elements that just didn’t work for me. But when I saw Anna K Away on Libro.fm I decided to give it a try. And wow am I glad I did. Keep reading this book review for the full review.
How the mighty have fallen. Anna K, once the golden girl of Greenwich, CT, and New York City, has been brought low by a scandalous sex tape and the tragic death of her first love, Alexia Vronsky. At the beginning of the summer, her father takes her to the other side of the world, to connect with his family in South Korea and hide her away. Is Anna in exile? Or could this be her chance to figure out who she really is?
Back in the U.S., Lolly has forgiven Steven for cheating on her, and their relationship feels stronger than ever. But when Lolly meets a boy at her beloved theater camp, she has to ask herself how well Steven will ever really know her. Meanwhile, in Manhattan, everything between Kimmie and her new boyfriend, Dustin, is easy—except when it comes to finally having sex. And Bea escapes to LA, running away from her grief at her beloved cousin’s death, until a beautiful stranger steals her heart. Is Bea ready to finally forgive Anna, and let herself truly fall in love for the very first time?
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the Libro.fm. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
TW: grief, anxiety
Reading Anna K Away makes me believe that either the Anna Karenina elements weren’t working for me in the first, or something else, because I thoroughly enjoyed Anna K Away. So many of the characters in Anna K I ended up enjoying immensely in this sequel. Getting to know Bea better allowed me to see all the cracks, the sarcasm, and the power of true love to hold up a mirror to ourselves. How it can land in our laps like an unseen surprise, but turn out to be a falling star.
While we saw a love like that in Anna K, I enjoyed Bea’s entire romance story line a bit more than Anna’s in the first. I’m not sure if it’s because I dig a good queer romance (Bea is pansexual), or if I’m also just a sucker for characters who don’t really believe in love being challenged, or what. At the same time, I adored the way Anna navigates her grief. The ways that it comes at you in waves. Her journey in the aftermath of the hurricane of that summer, the drama, and the heartbreak.
Listening to Anna K Away was a delightful experience. Especially as my favorite POV’s were Anna and Bea and so having someone bring life and emotion to the other POVs helped keep my interest. With larger casts of characters, and stories, it can be difficult to keep everyone’s attention equally on the stories. The narration pulled me through and I found myself waiting until the end of chapters to put it down. It’s a great example of how a stellar narrator can change how you see a book.
Considering the drama of Anna K, I was waiting for “the other shoe to drop” the entire time. But Anna K Away manages a sense of action which never threatened to overflow. Except the last twenty or so percent had my heart in my chest! Overall, even if you are a fan of the first, or even if not, I would recommend this one. Just look at me! Who woulda thunk?