Book Review: Anna K: Away by Jenny Lee

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Once the teen queen of the New York City, Anna K has all but disappeared from the social scene following the tragic death of her boyfriend, Alexia Vronsky. Her father, currently estranged from his own wife, has decided that time away will do the pair of them some good and so it’s off to Korea for them both. In their absence, Anna’s brother Steven is having troubles of his own. His girlfriend Lolly is preparing for a stint away at drama camp, putting strains on the trust that is still healing from Steven’s past infidelity. Steven’s best friend Dustin struggles to navigate his own burgeoning relationship with Kimmie, Lolly’s younger sister, while simultaneously trying to forge some sort of family unit with his late brother’s girlfriend, Natalia. On the other side of country, Beatrice (Vronksy’s cousin and BFF), is also reeling from the loss of her partner in crime. She despises Anna K for stealing Alexia from her and has vowed to spend the whole summer drinking and wallowing in misery. That is until a pretty girl working the hotel reception desk catches her eye…

“Haters are always gonna hate…but everyone loves a good comeback tour.”

– Steven K, Anna K: Away

💄💄💄(three stars as rated in The Mystery Girl’s signature red lipstick)

If while reading Anna K you thought to yourself, “what that book needs is some more K-pop,” then have I got the sequel of your DREAMS! This book is the chunky monkey ice cream of teen dramas. It is just so much stinking fun to DEVOUR in a single sitting. Which, is what I love to do anyway! Full disclosure, Anna K: Away reads a teeny bit slower than its predecessor and a lot of what goes on with some of the characters is clearly set up for book three. Because there is obviously going to be a book three. So. Many. Cliffhangers!

What I think I enjoyed most about this book is how it deals with the fallout of Anna K and Vronsky’s relationship as well as Alexia’s subsequent death. The whole situation is so horrible traumatizing to everyone and, unlike in Anna Karenina, the reader gets to witness how that all plays out. Even the characters that didn’t really know Anna and Alexia discuss how the situation affected them. Everyone carries a small piece of guilt which, is what I like to think would have happened in Anna Karenina had we gotten a bit more at the end there as well. I found this creative decision to be very special and was really pleased with Jenny Lee’s choice to use her continuation of the story to give some justice to the memory of Anna K’s infamous inspiration. Well done!

It’s like waiting for the big one – the big wave. You gotta just follow your gut to tell you when it’s the right wave to go for. As soon as you’re up on your board and riding it there’s no sense in worrying anymore. You just gotta relax into it and ride the wave.

-Tiare, Anna K: Away

Buy Anna K: Away:
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book at a glance

🏳️‍🌈 Queer MC
❤️‍🩹 Trauma and Healing
💞 Young Love
💥 Dramatic Ending

✨ Rep in this book: Korean-American MC, Black supporting character, Queer MC

✨ Content warnings for this book: death of a loved one, infidelity, revenge porn, gun violence, alcohol use, sexual content, drug abuse, vomit

Image Description: A flat lay featuring an audio book version of the book Anna K: Away by Jenny Lee as seen on the screen of an Android phone. The phone is lying next to a purse which is spilling it’s contents into the frame. There is a pearl necklace, some art deco earrings, a tube of red lipstick, two rings, a passport, pink heart-shaped glasses and another tube of lipstick.
about the author

Jenny Lee

Jenny Lee is a television writer and producer who has worked on BET’s Boomerang, IFC’s Brockmire, Freeform’s Young & Hungry, and the Disney Channel’s number-one-rated kids’ show, Shake It Up. Jenny is the author of four humor essay collections and two middle grade novels. Anna K: A Love Story is her debut YA novel. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and 135-pound Newfoundland, Gemma (and yes, it’s a toss-up on who’s walking who every day). (Copied from the author’s personal website).

about the narrator

Jenna Ushkowitz

Jenna Ushkowitz is a Korean-born American actress, singer, producer and podcast host. She is known for her performances in Broadway musicals such as The King and I and Waitress; and in the role of Tina Cohen-Chang on the Fox comedy-drama series Glee. She won a Tony Award as a producer the Broadway musical Once on This Island. (Copied from the narrator’s Wikipedia page.)

Other books narrated by Jenna Ushkowitz: Anna K: A Love Story

If while reading Anna K: A Love Story you thought, “what that book needs is more K-pop,” then have I got the sequel of your DREAMS! This is the chunky monkey ice cream of teen dramas; so get ready to devour it in a single sitting. @jennyleewrites



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Published by Sarah

My name is Sarah and I can't imagine my life without books. Actually, I can and it's terrible. I'm also into climbing, video games and bothering the nearest cat.

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