The Tower Pulse

The Tower Pulse

The Tower Pulse

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What's your favorite winter activity

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When in Rome is sweet as sugar

When+in+Rome+is+sweet+as+sugar
Julia Kado ’24

Readers,
There’s a timing to reading. I’m a firm believer that when you pick up a book can completely transform your opinions on it, as well as your general experience reading the story. The other four“w” questions matter, too. The reason you’re reading a book has immense influence on your enjoyment of it. Even the setting can sway satisfaction. If you’re reading a light beach read by the pool deck, chances are you’ll like it more.
I picked up Sarah Adams’ When in Rome much later than I had anticipated. After winning a signed and advance copy from an Instagram giveaway of hers, I expected to pick it up and devour it immediately. In reality, it took over a year to read this book.

When in Rome is a layered romance that explores fame, identity, and expectations. It follows Rae Rose, America’s sweetheart. She’s a glamorous singer, but she doesn’t feel the part, which spurs her spontaneous decision to travel without regard for the consequences. As an avid Audrey Hepburn fan, she decides to travel to Rome, enheartened by Hepburn’s Roman Holiday
Performance. Except, the only Rome within reasonable driving distance is Rome…Kentucky. It’s a tiny town, off the map, secluded. Perhaps it’s the perfect option for a celebrity seeking refuge.

Fate doesn’t seem to be in her favor, however, considering her car breaks down on the outskirts of Rome, and she’s forced into meeting Noah Walker, a grumpy hermit who seems to share her lack of enthusiasm at her car’s misfortune. Polite against his own will, Noah allows her to sleep in his guest room for the minimum amount of time: until her car is up and running again. This forced proximity reveals new sides of the opposite characters. It all starts with Rae revealing her real, preferred name to be Amelia. From there, what used to be angry tension dissipated into romantic tension.

This story was so immersive. Sarah Adams somehow managed to use some very common tropes of romance novels and reinvent them. One I was particularly impressed with was the “rockstar” trope. Usually, this involves a famous, powerful man meeting a homely, shy girl who is a fan of his. In this novel, Adams completely twists this somewhat sexist and definitely overdone story. The woman is the rockstar in this version, and she never uses her power to any advantage. Also, the man is well-developed despite not being famous, and barely knows of her fame. This gives the story a complexity that many classic romance novels lack.
A final advantage to this book is that it isn’t alone. Though not part of a series, Sarah Adams is currently expanding on this book’s universe, making love stories for side characters in When in Rome, even featuring Noah and Amelia in these companion stories.
Content Warnings: Alzheimer’s disease (in a relative), mental health discussions, cheating (mentioned), loss of parents (mentioned),

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About the Contributor
Julia Kado ’24, Staff Writer
After spending the summer reading and blasting music, Julia Kado ’24 is back and ready for her last year on staff. Often found in Mr. Campion’s room, Kado enjoys diving into lectures, poems and thriller books. Kado is a third-year staffer who has grown into her own role on Tower over the past three years. Always up for a conversation, she is a self-proclaimed chatterbox. Kado has also created her own segment in the Tower, the Kado Chronicles. This book review column provides her a space to share her love for reading.“Books have been integral to me since before I could read,” Kado said. “Once I began to actually enjoy what I was reading, it gave me a million perspectives at once.”Through her segment, Kado said she wants to engage readers in new ideas and books, always looking for her next read.“I want to provide people with recommendations that will entice them and give them food for thought,” Kado said.

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