Paris Syndrome by Lisa Walker
HarperCollins, 2018. ISBN 9781460755242
(Age: Adolescent) This seemingly light-hearted story, as adolescent fiction, touches on important aspects of the decisions of young people who are becoming aware of themselves and their role in the world. Covering fantasy, dreams, sexual awakening and love, Walker takes us into the lives of a young woman, Happy (Happiness) Glass, who is obsessed with all things French. The "Paris Syndrome" dominates her life, and when all things French are part of her city's celebrations, she finds herself caught up in more than she had expected.
Lisa Walker captures the angst of adolescence in a well-constructed and believable narrative, with adults in that world offering gentle support and wise guidance for the young woman. Happy faces more than just the light-hearted world of adolescence as she seeks to enjoy life at the same time as she is faced with the risks of letting down her guard, revealing who she really is to someone who may or may not like her for this. Wisdom is there in plenty, from wonderfully crafted interactions with older family and friends, particularly Professor Tanaka, whose wisdom and kindness enable Happy to come to terms with herself. This is a good text both for adolescent reading, and for those who work with adolescents.