Anna K: A Love Story

I desperately wish that I had loved this. However, I did not, and while I may not have liked this book, it is by no means a bad one. This just happens to be one of those it’s me, not you scenarios. 

Anna K is a modern retelling of Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. We follow a large cast of privileged rich teens living in New York (think Gossip Girl), and their world of drugs, sex, cheating, and scandal galore. The story’s core, however, revolves around the virtuous Anna K, who in this retelling is Asian-American, which I greatly appreciated. 

That being said, one of the main things that didn’t allow me to connect with this story was its structure. Like the original, Anna Kkeeps hold of several plot lines and character arcs. Unfortunately, this didn’t work for me in a modern YA book setting. The book has an incredibly small text, and combined with its juggle of plots, I felt myself pushing toward the end, under the weight of feeling like it never would. 

Don’t get me wrong, that’s not to say I was bored. In fact, there were moments in which I was fully captivated and wondered what would happen next. It has the feel of a juicy tabloid at times, but just like a magazine, it was all consuming one minute and completely forgotten the next. What I’ve been able to conclude is that this would’ve been wonderful as a t.v. show. It’s the perfect platform for a story of this nature, and would’ve certainly kept it from dragging for me. 

The next major issue I had with this novel was its insistence in being “hip with the kids.” There was so much dialogue and slang that felt cringy, because I either felt it was now outdated or simply awkwardly placed. Not to mention the plethora of pop references, especially the songs, that dated this novel and not in a good way. In fact, already in 2020 some of the references feel out of date, as in they have not stuck/aged well. 

Overall, I can see why so many people have been loving this book, and while I may not be one of them, I’m happy this book exists. If you’re unsure of picking this up, or if you’re finding it hard to push through, I would definitely recommend the audiobook! It’s narrated by Jenna Ushkowitz, Tina from Glee, and is one of the main attributes as to why the story engorged me at times.

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