Review: Ana of California by Andi Teran

Book Reviews

Ana of California by Andi Teran

Thank you to Penguin Books and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this title.

Confession: I’ve never read Anne of Green Gables although my mom tried to get me to watch Avonlea as a child. But I always meant to and I like to read retellings and modern twists on stories. I was drawn to Ana of California by the premise, as well as the lush summer feel of the cover. Unfortunately, this book wasn’t for me and I wasn’t able to finish, but I can definitely see it working for the right reader!

The writing was lovely; I really loved the descriptions of Garber Farm and Hadley. Living in Northern California, I’ve seen similar small communities and can picture the quaintness of the town. And the delightful description of Abbie’s kitchen reminded me of a rustic Pinterest wedding or an HGTV kitchen! Well-built, farm chic, and cozy. Abbie was my favorite character; she had an interesting backstory and lots of warmth, while I didn’t feel like we got to know Emmett as well.

I had mixed feelings about Ana. I appreciated her story and learning about her difficult life and her attempt to make Garber Farms a good situation. But the way she talked confused me; she sounded naive and too adult all at once. It was the way she spoke and her choice of words, but maybe that came from all her time spent in the library. And the extreme politeness seems like a product of her experience in the foster home system. But something about her speech didn’t ring true to me, sounding weirdly poetic. I liked her as a character though! And I liked her willingness to work hard and open up to new people.

This is a slower-paced, read-it-on-the-beach-or-back-porch kind of novel, which is perfect for summer. I had some trouble connecting emotionally with the characters but I think readers looking for diversity mixed with nostalgia for an old favorite wrapped in picturesque writing will enjoy Ana of California. I hope the book will work for you if you decide to give it a try!

Book Info

Ana of California by Andi Teran
Published by Penguin Books
Pub Date: June 30th 2015
Pages: 368
Format: eARC | Source: NetGalley
Genres: Adult Fiction
Buy the book! | Goodreads

In the grand tradition of Anne of Green GablesBridget 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.

Morgan @ Gone with the Words

8 Responses to “Review: Ana of California by Andi Teran”

  1. Avatar


    I used to watch the Anne of Greengables TV series when I was a child. But, I never quite got into the books. I think this is an interesting concept…but, I’m just too fond of blood and gore and don’t think I could stomach such a sweet book. I am sure that others will like it though. Great review Morgan! :)

  2. Avatar

    Alexa S.

    My reading experience was slightly different, because I’d read and loved Anne of Green Gables before. I appreciated the way elements and themes were incorporated into this one, but my expectations might have been a touch too high! It has some great characters, and I definitely loved the setting, but I do feel like it needed to be fleshed out just the teensiest bit more.

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    Lyn Kaye

    I want to read this on the fact that it has foster homes/fostering alone. We need SO MUCH MORE fiction about orphans in contemporary, ones that do not have family taking care of them. I know parentless is a big trope in YA, but I like to see it in contemp fiction, because I feel that this is a group is overlooked.

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      Morgan @ Gone with the Words

      I agree! It was really interesting to read and learn about Ana’s experiences, it definitely taps into an area of contemporary society I don’t see talked about much in YA. So if you’re interested in reading about the foster system, I’d recommend it for sure :)

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    I think I could potentially get more out of this one than you, if only because Anne of Green Gables holds a very special place in my heart. That said, I’m a bit less sure about Ana’s character because Anne Shirley is an all-time fave for me, a true kindred spirit, and I can’t help but think that Ana wouldn’t compare :p Ah, well I will have to give this one a read first before making such judgements I guess. And for your part, I highly recommend reading Anne of Green Gables, either the physical version or on audio, or even watching the brilliant movie adaptation! Anne’s shenanigans bring me such JOY and I hope the same could be said in your case :D

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      Morgan @ Gone with the Words

      I think you could too! It’s possible it affected my enjoyment of the novel; yeah I don’t see Ana becoming as iconic or classic as Anne. But you should try it if you love the original that much! I own the first book and have been meaning to read it. It’s one of those books that I somehow missed as a kid! I’m sure I’ll love it, will report back when I read it :)

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