Book Review

Book Review | Anna K: A Love Story by Jenny Lee

Title: Anna K: A Love Story (Anna K, #1)
Author: Jenny Lee
Genre: Young Adult
Published On: March 3, 2020
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Source: physical
Pages: 400

Synopsis: Meet Anna K. At seventeen, she is at the top of Manhattan and Greenwich society (even if she prefers the company of her horses and Newfoundland 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 a 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 Storyis 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.

My thoughts

(Spoiler free)

When I realized Anna K was a modern-day retelling of Anna Karenina, I knew I wanted to read it. Then when a signed copy arrived in my subscription box from The Strand, I promptly added it to my TBR pile. I’m so happy I finally picked this one up. 

“Every happy teenage girl is the same, while every unhappy teenage girl is miserable in her own special way.”

Jenny Lee, Anna K: A Love Story

It’s been two years since I read Anna Karenina for the first time, so while it’s not fresh on my mind, it’s been recent enough that I can remember the general plot structure. Reading this book made me quickly realize what a fan of Anna Karenina Jenny Lee must be, and her note at the back of the book confirmed it. I’m so impressed with how skillfully she has brought these 19th century Russian characters into the present-day Manhattan society. 

BUT, I can see how this book might be a polarizing one. Most of the characters are wealthy, privileged teens. Their words and actions can be shocking, but I read it more as satire, smiling and laughing out loud as I read. It’s being compared to Gossip Girl and Crazy Rich Asians, but I’ve never seen or read either of those. By the end of the book, I was surprised by how much I loved these spoiled rich kids.

While most of the book follows along with the structure of the original material, the last quarter held some surprises. (Although, I had already been spoiled by reading the comments on a fellow blogger’s review. Oops.) And I was super excited to hear this one is being adapted into a TV series. It will be perfect for television!

My only complaint: The ending seemed a little too sappy for me, but it is young adult, so I can look past it. If I had loads of time, I wish I could have reread Anna Karenina while reading Anna K. I know there are so many comparisons I must have missed. I will most assuredly be watching for more from Jenny Lee!

Rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)

About the Author

Jenny Lee
Jenny Lee

Jenny Lee’s first young adult novel, a modern reinvention of Anna Karenina titled Anna K., will be published by Flatiron Books in March 2020.

Jenny previously served as Co-Executive Producer for the BET television adaptation of Boomerang. She was a writer and producer on the ABC Family sitcom Young & Hungry, as well as the Disney Channel’s number-one-rated kids’ show Shake It Up.

The author of four humor essay books, Jenny is also the author of Elvis and the Underdogs.

A Song For A Book

On Bookstagram I created a hashtag for when I include a song that reminds me of the book I’m sharing, #ASongForABook, I thought I’d make it a regular feature on my reviews, too.

Anna K has a built in fun soundtrack, AND I located a Spotify playlist I believe was created by the author, so choosing a song was so easy! Lorde’s “Love Club” is perfect.

Be a part of the love club
Everything will glow for you
You’ll get punched for the love club
For the love club

Have you read Anna K? Did you add it to your tbr? Let me know in the comments!

Happy Wandering!

3 thoughts on “Book Review | Anna K: A Love Story by Jenny Lee”

  1. Great review!! I read Anna Karenina along with my besties either last year or the year before. We’re wanting to read this one soon. Glad you enjoyed it! I’m curious about how she decided to end things.

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