Anna K: A Love Story (Hardcover)
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"Every happy teenage girl is the same, while every unhappy teenage girl is miserable in her own special way."
ANNA K is the book I didn't know I needed until I heard it was happening. ANNA KARENINA is one of my favorite books, and all the things I loved about it in high school can be found in this updated retelling without the treatise on landowning. Essentially this is the most intellectual season of Gossip Girl you can imagine. I knew from hearing her speak that Lee had captured the heart of the story but I did not expect the ways in which she subverted the narrative. Giving the main characters a Korean heritage kept the pressure of tradition and family that Anna is pushing against while still making the story feel fresh and new. I thought I knew how things would end up, but I was still surprised at the choices made. If you like the feel of classic literature but want something a bit more current, read this. Tolstoy wrote for the every man and Lee is writing for every teenage girl. Also, there are dogs.— Faith
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Meet Anna K! Every happy teenage girl is the same, while every unhappy teenage girl is miserable in her own special way...
At seventeen, Anna K is at the top of Manhattan and Greenwich society (even if she prefers the company of her horses and dogs); she has the perfect (if perfectly boring) boyfriend, Alexander W.; and she has always made her Korean-American father proud (even if he can be a little controlling). Meanwhile, Anna's brother, Steven, and his girlfriend, Lolly, are trying to weather an sexting scandal; Lolly’s little sister, Kimmie, is struggling to recalibrate to normal life after an injury derails her ice dancing career; and Steven’s best friend, Dustin, is madly (and one-sidedly) in love with Kimmie.
As her friends struggle with the pitfalls of ordinary teenage life, Anna always seems to be able to sail gracefully above it all. That is…until the night she meets Alexia “Count” Vronsky at Grand Central. A notorious playboy who has bounced around boarding schools and who lives for his own pleasure, Alexia is everything Anna is not. But he has never been in love until he meets Anna, and maybe she hasn’t, either. As Alexia and Anna are pulled irresistibly together, she has to decide how much of her life she is willing to let go for the chance to be with him. And when a shocking revelation threatens to shatter their relationship, she is forced to question if she has ever known herself at all.
Dazzlingly opulent and emotionally riveting, Anna K: A Love Story is a brilliant reimagining of Leo Tolstoy's timeless love story, Anna Karenina—but above all, it is a novel about the dizzying, glorious, heart-stopping experience of first love and first heartbreak.
About the Author
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 has previously published humor essay collections and middle-grade novels, and Anna K. 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).
Named a must-read book of 2020 by Entertainment Weekly, Glamour, Bustle, BookPage, PopSugar, The Nerd Daily, and more!
“A fresh and wickedly smart take on a classic story. Anna is even more scandalously fun now, in the age of stilettos and social media, than she was in 19th century Russia. I couldn’t put this one down.” —Katharine McGee, New York Times bestselling author of American Royals
“Lee skillfully weaves beats of the classic Russian novel into the contemporary plot, but readers will need no previous knowledge of Tolstoy to appreciate the social stakes, heartbreak, humor and moral complexity of Anna K...makes for addictive reading.” —BookPage, starred review
“A slow-burn epic tale of love in modern-day Manhattan high society...a gripping story with sympathetic characters struggling through the mire of modern relationships.” —Kirkus Reviews
“A little bit Crazy Rich Asians and a little bit Gossip Girl, Anna K is a smart, crafty, and utterly engrossing story about love, addiction, mental health, and what it truly means to be a teenager.” —Isabella Ogbolumani, Page 1 Books, Evanston, IL
“Tolstoy meets Gossip Girl? Xoxo to that! A clever romp that is both delicious, scandalous, prep school drama and sly commentary on wealth, relationships, upper crust society and more, Anna K is loads of fun as Jenny Lee spins Anna Karenina (and that infamous train scene) into a contemporary drama that had me madly and delightedly turning pages. You’re going to love the ending, I promise! Would Tolstoy approve? Honestly, who cares?” —Joy Preble, Brazos Bookstore, Houston, TX
“Imagine Gossip Girl and Anna Karenina collided and in that split second, their collision formed a high-drama, superbly compelling story—that’s what Anna K. is. Anna and company are mesmerizing and will keep your eyes glued to the pages until the very end. Fans of the CW and Freeform shows are sure to devour this one.” —Rachel Strolle, Glenside Public Library District, Glenside Heights, IL
“Anna K reminded me of Gossip Girl (I was obsessed) mixed with a sharp undercurrent that makes for a smart, fresh retelling of an old classic. Anna K stays true to the melodrama and social commentary for sure, but I also love the change in the ending and what it means for Anna’s character. I love too how every character seems to operate in shades of gray. They all have their pros and cons, their ups and downs. It makes them more real as opposed to caricatures when they very easily could have become the latter. I could gab for ages, but in short: I loved it.” —Kalie Barnes-Young, Barnes & Noble at the Grove, Los Angeles, CA
“It’s difficult to imagine a lofty tome like Anna Karenina turned into a teen drama extravaganza, but Lee manages it with aplomb, giving heart and heat to Anna K. Don't be fooled by the dizzying array of high fashion, text drama, and drug use—the commentary on race, gender, social constructs, and privilege is there, it’s just buried under a layer of cotton candy vape pens and designer handbags. I can definitely see this appealing to fans of the CW and PBS alike.” —Sami Thomason, Square Books, Oxford, MS