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What Scotland Taught Me

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Fresh out of high school, Eva Sonneborn is headed to Scotland with her best friends: scholarly, sarcastic Laurence; gorgeous, ghost-seeing Amber; and responsible, sweet Shannon. They plan to spend the next six months in Edinburgh, enjoying an adventure-filled work-abroad journey before parting ways for college. But when Eva meets Gil, a local bartender, she figures a little Fresh out of high school, Eva Sonneborn is headed to Scotland with her best friends: scholarly, sarcastic Laurence; gorgeous, ghost-seeing Amber; and responsible, sweet Shannon. They plan to spend the next six months in Edinburgh, enjoying an adventure-filled work-abroad journey before parting ways for college. But when Eva meets Gil, a local bartender, she figures a little innocent flirting won't hurt her relationship with Tony, her ever-faithful boyfriend back home. But just when things turn less innocent with Gil, the trip starts throwing curveballs at not only her but her friends too. By the end of the trip, they've all fallen in love, sometimes with the wrong people - and with consequences that may tear their friendship apart forever... Download a free reading group guide with discussion questions and author interview: http://www.mollyringle.com/ReadingGui...


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Fresh out of high school, Eva Sonneborn is headed to Scotland with her best friends: scholarly, sarcastic Laurence; gorgeous, ghost-seeing Amber; and responsible, sweet Shannon. They plan to spend the next six months in Edinburgh, enjoying an adventure-filled work-abroad journey before parting ways for college. But when Eva meets Gil, a local bartender, she figures a little Fresh out of high school, Eva Sonneborn is headed to Scotland with her best friends: scholarly, sarcastic Laurence; gorgeous, ghost-seeing Amber; and responsible, sweet Shannon. They plan to spend the next six months in Edinburgh, enjoying an adventure-filled work-abroad journey before parting ways for college. But when Eva meets Gil, a local bartender, she figures a little innocent flirting won't hurt her relationship with Tony, her ever-faithful boyfriend back home. But just when things turn less innocent with Gil, the trip starts throwing curveballs at not only her but her friends too. By the end of the trip, they've all fallen in love, sometimes with the wrong people - and with consequences that may tear their friendship apart forever... Download a free reading group guide with discussion questions and author interview: http://www.mollyringle.com/ReadingGui...

30 review for What Scotland Taught Me

  1. 5 out of 5

    Racquel

    What a terrific story<3

  2. 5 out of 5

    Autumn Review

    Well I have to say that I was very pleasantly surprised. I mean, I did accept it for review, but I really got into the story. I don't think I put it down once I started. It had a great flow and the characters, while sometimes frustrating, were likable. What an experience to have. I would have loved to have gone away to explore a foreign country with a group of friends. I loved that they all wrote down goals/expectations for their time in Scotland. That's totally something I would have done at th Well I have to say that I was very pleasantly surprised. I mean, I did accept it for review, but I really got into the story. I don't think I put it down once I started. It had a great flow and the characters, while sometimes frustrating, were likable. What an experience to have. I would have loved to have gone away to explore a foreign country with a group of friends. I loved that they all wrote down goals/expectations for their time in Scotland. That's totally something I would have done at that age. I'll say that I like Eva and Laurence the most. Yes, Eva made some questionable choices, but they were all very realistic. I felt like she cared for her boyfriend, but there was something missing in their relationship. So, while I don't like cheating, I felt like it was important for Eva to meet new people and have different experience while in Scotland. The relationship that she and Laurence have was funny, snarky, and really genuine. I love that they'd been friends since they were little. It made their connection seem deeper to me. The story basically takes you through this group, focusing on Eva, and their experiences in Scotland. They all get jobs, meet new people, get romantic relationships, and have their hearts broken at some point. All very typical situations for people that age. What made it fun to me was that I really would've loved having that choice to go somewhere before college. Seriously...I would have loved that. Heck, I'd still love to live in a foreign country for a time. And, some of you know that Scotland has a special place in my heart, so that also made this story special. Overall, I'd say it was a really good read. As I said, it had a nice steady flow and I was able to identify with the characters. This was my first read by author Molly Ringle and I'd definitely try another.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Cyndi Tefft

    Since I happen to be a Scot freak, dipping into this book was like walking through Edinburgh again. I was instantly back in Scotland, surrounded by the castle, the tourist shops on High Street, the retail of Princes Street, all of it. I loved how the author brought those memories to life in me. Strangely enough, I was getting homesick for America by the end of the book, just like the main character. I didn't anticipate that happening, but it did. I went through the emotional rollercoaster along w Since I happen to be a Scot freak, dipping into this book was like walking through Edinburgh again. I was instantly back in Scotland, surrounded by the castle, the tourist shops on High Street, the retail of Princes Street, all of it. I loved how the author brought those memories to life in me. Strangely enough, I was getting homesick for America by the end of the book, just like the main character. I didn't anticipate that happening, but it did. I went through the emotional rollercoaster along with Eva, one chaotic love life catastrophe after another. I liked how Eve grew up over the course of the book and learned what it meant to be committed to someone else. What Scotland Taught Me is a great title for the book, since it's really an intense period of growing up, of making mistakes, of learning that what you thought you wanted isn't what you wanted at all. The author also has a great sense of language, of timing, and turn of phrase. She never used cliches, but found effective ways to paint the picture with vivid similes. The only thing I would have changed is that I'd have liked to see Eva have more of an outside interest apart from whichever guy she was with. She did have an interest in horticulture and I think she would have been a more well-rounded and interesting character if she'd been able to explore that a bit more during the course of the book. Her world consisted mainly of the emotions tied to one guy or another, with very little left over for herself. If you have been to Scotland and want to reminisce, then delve in and enjoy!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    What Scotland Taught Me was a fast and fun read. I thoroughly enjoyed the imagery of Scotlland and Ringle brought life to their trip. Between the pubs, the hostel and the church scenes I felt like I was there walking the streets with them. She's a very talented writer and I loved her writing style. The quick chapters leading to the next scene helped keep a quick pace and the story never lagged. WSTM had a few life lessons snuck in but they never took away from the fun of it. I thought it was an What Scotland Taught Me was a fast and fun read. I thoroughly enjoyed the imagery of Scotlland and Ringle brought life to their trip. Between the pubs, the hostel and the church scenes I felt like I was there walking the streets with them. She's a very talented writer and I loved her writing style. The quick chapters leading to the next scene helped keep a quick pace and the story never lagged. WSTM had a few life lessons snuck in but they never took away from the fun of it. I thought it was an honest look at growing up and growing out of friends you've held onto since childhood. Though there was some cheating involved I didn't feel it was malicious on Eva's part.... More like experiencing life and all its possibilities and following your heart (which at her age she should do). The problem I had was with the characters. I just never became invested in them. Eva was an interesting MC for me because just when I'd start to relate to her, she would say or do something and I'd lose it. I also wasn't drawn to any of the 3 love interests. Laurence started to thaw towards the end and there were some hot scenes written between them that were worthy of a few toe curls, but I wasn't 100% won over by him. (And don't get me started on Gil and Tony) Overall a good first read by this author and I'm looking forward to checking out more by her!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Darlene Foster

    This was a fun read. I love how the author included the location as an important part of the story. Now I want to go to Edinburgh. The characters are depicted as very real North American teenagers. The story has everything; humour, travel, history, romance, friendship, family relations, scenery and even ghosts. It is written in an easy to read, carefree style that depicts the emotions, feelings and confusion of most modern day youth. This will make a great gift for the teenagers on your list. Yo This was a fun read. I love how the author included the location as an important part of the story. Now I want to go to Edinburgh. The characters are depicted as very real North American teenagers. The story has everything; humour, travel, history, romance, friendship, family relations, scenery and even ghosts. It is written in an easy to read, carefree style that depicts the emotions, feelings and confusion of most modern day youth. This will make a great gift for the teenagers on your list. You have to love it, even if it has been a long time since you were a teenager!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Alix

    A fun frolick that was especially enjoyable as a recent tourist in Edinburgh. Four recent high school graduates embark on a six month adventure in Edinburgh, encountering twists in their friendships, romantic intrigue, and a few lessons learned the hard way. A good escape on a rainy day.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn Haley

    My "Dark Divas Review" of this title: Although aimed at teens, this coming-of-age story resonated with this reader who’s old enough to have teenage children. In fact, it brought me back to the same age, when I was fluttering and flailing to find my wings after launching from the familial nest. At the same time, it gave me insight in what it’s like to be young today -- something I’m lacking, as I don’t have children. Eva’s voice, expressed in first-person, is engaging from the first paragraph -- b My "Dark Divas Review" of this title: Although aimed at teens, this coming-of-age story resonated with this reader who’s old enough to have teenage children. In fact, it brought me back to the same age, when I was fluttering and flailing to find my wings after launching from the familial nest. At the same time, it gave me insight in what it’s like to be young today -- something I’m lacking, as I don’t have children. Eva’s voice, expressed in first-person, is engaging from the first paragraph -- both in her head, as narrator, and in dialogue with her peers. She’s smart and sassy without being disrespectful, and her quirky observations about self, friends, and the alien world of Scotland keep the story fresh and realistic. Most engrossing are her efforts to reconcile life’s paradoxes and conflicts. During her six months in alien territory, she must learn the difference between love and lust and infatuation; test the boundaries of friendship as her pals veer off in unexpected directions (as she does, herself); come to understand the value of honesty, and discover that it’s not always the best policy. Before the book ends, her lifelong relationships with two gals and a guy are forever altered, mainly for better but in some ways for worse. The only thing that gave me the slightest pause was how easily everybody gained employment in a foreign country. So perhaps more information about the work program they were involved in would have helped. Other than that, I found this book an entertaining, and thoughtful read. The author’s prose was clean and competent, and her publisher produced it with a professionalism infrequently found in e-books. I recommend it to adults and teens alike. Rated 5 Delightful Divas by Aurora! http://www.darkdivasreviews.com/?p=3451

  8. 4 out of 5

    Pam

    This was a book that I looked forward to reading at the end of each day. I found myself reading "just a little longer" past my bedtime, as the story was engaging and fun. The teenage drama is realistic, and the key characters are vividly drawn. I wished for a little more imagery of Scotland, but that's my own bias toward travel! The twists and turns of the tale intrigued, and the thoughts on cheating and relationships gave me something to chew on. Is history destined to repeat itself, or is ther This was a book that I looked forward to reading at the end of each day. I found myself reading "just a little longer" past my bedtime, as the story was engaging and fun. The teenage drama is realistic, and the key characters are vividly drawn. I wished for a little more imagery of Scotland, but that's my own bias toward travel! The twists and turns of the tale intrigued, and the thoughts on cheating and relationships gave me something to chew on. Is history destined to repeat itself, or is there hope for those of us who make mistakes? For the sake of the main character in the book (whom I felt I came to know well), I hope there's hope. Forgiveness and compassion are at the heart of this story that explores the idea that all relationships - whether romantic or friendships - go through challenges, ebbing and flowing over time. The story rang true to lessons learned at that age, just out of high school, when suddenly young adults face the realization that actions have consequences, and they are fully responsible for their own lives.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Marian

    This was a really powerful story. It really had me thinking about the lines of loyalty and trust within a group of friends. Laurence, Amber, and Shannon really had me interested from the beginning. As I read about their backstories I immediately connected with them because they were all looking for something different through their journey in the U.K. Even though I adored this story, I have to give this book 4 stars because of Eva. I really enjoyed reading about her adventures and blunders (boy, This was a really powerful story. It really had me thinking about the lines of loyalty and trust within a group of friends. Laurence, Amber, and Shannon really had me interested from the beginning. As I read about their backstories I immediately connected with them because they were all looking for something different through their journey in the U.K. Even though I adored this story, I have to give this book 4 stars because of Eva. I really enjoyed reading about her adventures and blunders (boy, does she have a lot of them!) But I did not see any change in her and I feel like that's a pretty important part of any protagonist. Otherwise, this is a very enjoyable read.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Fred

    Four friends head to Edinburgh for a "gap" year after graduating high school. When the familiar is left behind, do you find out who you really are? Or does the new setting and the freedom of an unfamiliar territory lead you to impulsive behavior that leaves you wondering all the more? And can old relationships stand the push and pull of new feelings, new experiences and maybe most of all, new friends? I really enjoyed this warm and deeply immersive story from start to finish (oops, sorry didn't Four friends head to Edinburgh for a "gap" year after graduating high school. When the familiar is left behind, do you find out who you really are? Or does the new setting and the freedom of an unfamiliar territory lead you to impulsive behavior that leaves you wondering all the more? And can old relationships stand the push and pull of new feelings, new experiences and maybe most of all, new friends? I really enjoyed this warm and deeply immersive story from start to finish (oops, sorry didn't mean to make it sound like a bath, there, but it is worthy of a good long soak!). I found the main character, Eva, irresistably winsome and appealing. She's a real feeling girl, with issues of impulse control, sometimes not the greatest judgment, and too much desire to please others (my opinion only, there), and that sometimes leads to mildly regrettable behavior. Her friends don't cut her any slack about any of it all, and I felt bad for her about that. The notion that she's a "cheater," is a major theme, and it made me feel really bad for her and angry on her behalf. See, that's what kind of book this is, you get so into the characters that you get all riled up on their behalf. So let me speak to that more directly, and if you're senstive to SPOILERS you might want to skip over the next para. The high school boyfriend? Sheesh, I totally thought he was a mope. If you're an eighteen yo guy and overwhelming physical attraction to a girl isn't part of the equation, there's either something wrong with you, or the relationship. Major red flag alert, girls! In Tony's case, I thought it was both, and it was silly of Eva to put up with it, and only reflective of her crappy previous boyfriend. The notion that she'd go off for six months to a foreign spot and limit her love life to exchanging emails with a guy whose notion of sweet talk is crappy "funny" pet names like "haggis face," (made that one up, sorry Molly, yours are infinitely funnier!) is just ridic. Gil? A fun fling, but girl, why all the angst about it? Live a little, this is your time, you're eighteen on your own in Edinburgh, third base isn't the end of the world! This is where her friends irritated me, too, getting all preachy, judgmental and superior - after encouraging her in the first place! Laurence? Don't get me started. I've known guys like this, and the whole "I know you're a cheater cause you cheated with me, so how do I know you won't do it to me next" thing is the lowest possible blow after someone's passion for you has eclipsed their common sense to take a chance on you. For such a smarty pants he could use a seminar on unconditional love. He does redeem himself, ultimately, but Eva, girl, you could do better! Ok, END SPOILER, relationship rant over, if you read that, you can see how easy it is to get sucked into Eva's story (to me that's what this was, basically). This book isn't just about the characters, though, rich as they are. The city of Edinburgh is brought to life, not it a travelogue-y way, but with a vivid, rich and sustained poetic evocation of the city's essence, its fragance, its personality and its people. Molly also really captures the way it feels to be on your own in a strange new place, especially when things are unsettling, you're sick and feeling down, or when you're feeling elated. One thing I think the author does really well, in this book and in Summer Term, the other book of hers I've read, is create that dizzy, physically overwhelming feeling of new infatuation. Let's hope Eva's lasts this time, or that if it doesn't she's not afraid to try and try again. She's worthy of someone who can light that fire, and who won't mistrust her for feeling its warmth. Hope this review has actually been more about the book and less about my own psycho-drama, but that's the beauty of it, it def calls up real and intense emotions. Well done Molly Ringle, looking forward to more!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Andrea at Reading Lark

    Review Posted on Reading Lark 5/29/11: http://readinglark.blogspot.com/2011/... This book has consumed my every waking moment all weekend long. I could not manage to get these characters and their stories out of my mind. As a result, I spent every moment of free time curled up somewhere with my Kindle voraciously reading. What Scotland Taught Me is a coming of age tale in which Eva must learn who she is and how to manage her heart. In spite of Eva's flaws, I still find her to be an incredibly lov Review Posted on Reading Lark 5/29/11: http://readinglark.blogspot.com/2011/... This book has consumed my every waking moment all weekend long. I could not manage to get these characters and their stories out of my mind. As a result, I spent every moment of free time curled up somewhere with my Kindle voraciously reading. What Scotland Taught Me is a coming of age tale in which Eva must learn who she is and how to manage her heart. In spite of Eva's flaws, I still find her to be an incredibly lovable character. I loved watching her evolve throughout the story. The romance in the book also kept me captivated. Molly Ringle has a gift for creating relationships of both the endearing and steamy variety. What Scotland Taught Me follows four childhood best friends from Oregon who have decided to spend six months in Scotland before heading off to college. Eva, the main character, is a likable, fickle girl who wants to experience everything Edinburgh and love have to offer. However, there is a slight problem with her plan, since she has a boyfriend back home. Shannon, Eva's cousin, is along for the trip in spite of the guilt she feels for leaving her family. Shannon has always been the dutiful daughter and this trip will be the first time she has done something completely for herself. Amber is running away from her life of poverty in hopes of finding her father and adventure. While, Laurence is along for the ride to serve as the protector and to experience European life before buckling down to his Science studies. Along the way, each character learns things from their time in Scotland - some of the knowledge will come with a heavy price. Also, because these are college age students some of their experiences are a bit more explicit in nature. I saw a little bit of myself in each of these characters which made me love them more. Every time Eva fell in love, I fell right with her. I struggled with how much to say on that topic because I really don't want to give anything away. I think experiencing things along with Eva is the best way to read this novel. I related to Shannon because I am currently living 2700 miles away from my family. I understand the guilt she feels, but like her, in the end I had to choose based on what was best for me. Amber and I have the least in common, but I liked her spunk and tenacity; I hope that I have some of those elements from time to time. Finally, Laurence and I have the same sense of humor. I love that all of these characters meant something to me by the time I was done reading. I didn't want to let them go - their stories don't seem to be finished. The setting was also something that kept me totally enamored. I have always wanted to visit Scotland and fully intend to get there one day, but until then I loved seeing the locale through these characters' eyes. It made me wish that I had done something similar before heading off to college, but I didn't have a chance like this one. I can't even imagine how much fun it would have been, however, the hostel didn't sound like much fun at all. I would have needed my own room and reliable heat. Molly Ringle is a wonderful writer who breathed life into her characters and kept me transfixed on her every word. I loved the banter between Eva and Laurence. I actually laughed out loud several times - gaining myself a few eye rolls from my husband. I am excited to get my hands on more books written by Molly. What Scotland Taught Me is going to be a treasured, well loved favorite of mine for sure. This is a book that I would reread just to spend some more time with the characters. One Last Gripe: I want to know what happens next for these characters. Is there a sequel???? My Favorite Thing About This Book: The characters & setting First Sentence: Amber slid a note onto my knee, jarring me out of my obsessive thoughts. Favorite Character: Laurence Least Favorite Character: Amber's Dad

  12. 5 out of 5

    Vanessa

    This is the kind of book I would to read again and again without ever getting bored. It is truly a fun read with a dollop of subtle romance, yet without being too cheesy and eye-rolling. I laughed every now and then at the humors, still I found myself sniffling with tears especially when I got to the sensitive part. The story is themed with issues every young adult like me has to deal with - work, school, personal relationship, family and friends. Eva, the main character, is probably the kind of This is the kind of book I would to read again and again without ever getting bored. It is truly a fun read with a dollop of subtle romance, yet without being too cheesy and eye-rolling. I laughed every now and then at the humors, still I found myself sniffling with tears especially when I got to the sensitive part. The story is themed with issues every young adult like me has to deal with - work, school, personal relationship, family and friends. Eva, the main character, is probably the kind of female character we all love to hate throughout the novel. She did nearly everything a bad girl does. Ironically, I like Eva, even more than I like the sensible Shannon. She reminded me of one of my best friends, ok, maybe two. As bitchy as she might have been, she never loses her sensitivity towards her friends whenever they need her in bad times. I know there are some young women out there could relate to her. The first person narration worked really well in bringing her out to life in every reader’s mind. Other side characters are well-developed too. As a matter of fact, I literally found nobody to loathe, not even the flamboyant Shelly. If there's one more thing that I love about What Scotland Taught Me, it would definitely be the rich setting. The backdrop was varied and outstanding, from urban nightlife to countryside. Readers would not be confined to typical young adults' hang-outs as the author had included some other famous Scottish and British landmarks in her novel. Every image of Scotland and England was penned perfectly, with minimal flaws. As Britain had some of the most haunted places on Earth, it would be rather foolish not to mention its ghost-tour. However, the author had done a remarkable job to present those haunts in her writing. Expect less goose bumps and hair-raising moments, brace for some tickles - that's all I want to say. On the less than impressive side of the novel, I found some unnecessary bracketed lines in some chapters which I thought was a bit distracting, whereas some parts in the chapters were penned in dialogues. I had hope for more narrations to better enhance the parts. Other than that, everything was perfect. After reading the novel, Molly Ringle had made me want to head over to Europe and experience my own foreign enlightening moment. After all, it is one of my dreams to go backpacking and travel around Europe. I would definitely recommend the novel to everyone, even to male readers, because, trust me…this is unlike any other paperback chick-lit.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Olivia

    So. I just finished this book. I wish I could say that I loved it, that it is one of the best books that I read this year... but it wasn't. I love Ringle's writing style, she comes up with some of the funniest lines. But there was something distinctly missing in "What Scotland Taught Me". I never felt that immediately connection with any of the characters, though Shannon was my favorite... but she was minor. I honestly disliked Eva from the beginning until the end. She seemed so selfish and well So. I just finished this book. I wish I could say that I loved it, that it is one of the best books that I read this year... but it wasn't. I love Ringle's writing style, she comes up with some of the funniest lines. But there was something distinctly missing in "What Scotland Taught Me". I never felt that immediately connection with any of the characters, though Shannon was my favorite... but she was minor. I honestly disliked Eva from the beginning until the end. She seemed so selfish and well... bitchy. Though she learned a lesson while in Scotland I didn't feel like she truly changed. I will still look forward to reading more of Ringle's works in the future.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Forever Young Adult

    Graded By: Alix Cover Story: Lonely Planet BFF Charm: Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Swoonworthy Scale: 9 Talky Talk: Straight Up Bonus Factors: Scotland, Ghosts, Gap Year Relationship Status: On Again, Off Again Romance Read the full book report here. Graded By: Alix Cover Story: Lonely Planet BFF Charm: Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Swoonworthy Scale: 9 Talky Talk: Straight Up Bonus Factors: Scotland, Ghosts, Gap Year Relationship Status: On Again, Off Again Romance Read the full book report here.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Alix West

    It's not that the book was bad, it's just that I hate the main character. Read my full review at Forever Young Adult. It's not that the book was bad, it's just that I hate the main character. Read my full review at Forever Young Adult.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Katie

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jess Chambers

  18. 4 out of 5

    Molly

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  20. 4 out of 5

    Steven

  21. 4 out of 5

    Karen

  22. 5 out of 5

    Marian

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kit Michael

  24. 4 out of 5

    Patricia

  25. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

  26. 4 out of 5

    Daljeet Singh

  27. 5 out of 5

    Paul Landes

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kitzie

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lira

  30. 4 out of 5

    Heidi

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