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English as a Second Language    by Megan Crane order for
English as a Second Language
by Megan Crane
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2004 (2004)

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* *   Reviewed by Melissa Parcel

Five years after graduating from college, Alexandra Brennan works as a paralegal in New York City, but is less than thrilled with her job. She still doesn't know what she wants to be when she grows up. When an ex-boyfriend snidely tells Alex that she could never get into graduate school in England, that's exactly what she sets out to do. Much to her surprise she's accepted (she didn't do all that well as an undergraduate) and heads off to get a Master's degree in English.

Alex meets other grad students from around the world - from Great Britain, Spain, Germany, and even a few Americans. Before long she fits in with the natives - drinking, smoking, and listening to pop music. Alex gets a crush on one of her teachers, is involved in some major drama, then begins to realize that she's got a better head on her shoulders than she initially gave herself credit for. Can Alex figure out what she wants and where her life is heading?

The novel takes a light-hearted look at growing up and finding your place in the world. In spite of Alex's bad habits, she is an endearing character and readers will pull for her to reach her dreams and goals. The hilarious secondary characters - especially stalker-like Suzanne and odd George - add to the interest of the plot. An unusual aspect of the novel is that it puts an American in a British setting. Megan Crane went to grad school in England exactly as Alex does, which makes me wonder how much in the book is autobiographical.

Those who enjoy chick lit novels, especially Anglophiles, will want to pick up English as a Second Language. Hoist up a pint and kick back with an enjoyable summer read.

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