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Anna K by Jenny Lee
Young adult

Anna K

Early Release

This is an early release that's only available to our members—the rest of the world has to wait to read it.

by Jenny Lee

Excellent choice

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Quick take

A darker, dirtier version of Gossip Girl, where filthy-rich Manhattan kids are up to more than you would think.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_400

    400+ pages

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_ForbiddenLove

    Forbidden love

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Teen

    Teens

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_BasedOnAClassic

    Based on a classic

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_SexualContent

    Sexual Content

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Drug&AlcoholUse

    Drug & alcohol use

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 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.

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Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of Anna K.
Anna K

Part One

I

The whole thing was a fucking disaster. Lolly found out her boyfriend Steven was cheating on her while she was getting his Apple Watch outfitted with a new wristband at the Hermès store on Madison Avenue. Steven didn’t even know she had his Apple Watch. Twenty minutes ago, he decided to do back-to-back SoulCycle classes, while Lolly begged off staying for the second class with him. (Her new gluten-free diet lacked the necessary carbs for her to handle doing a double sesh without passing out.)

She was telling him the truth while also needing the time and access to his Apple Watch to take it to the store for a new wristband, his present for their eighteen-month “screw-a-versary,” which happened to be the very next day. (Lolly didn’t love commemorating their first official date with this crude moniker, but Steven called it that. Lolly went along because she loved him.) So while Steven was climbing an imaginary hill to the steady beat of Dua Lipa’s “IDGAF” at the East 83rd Street studio, Lolly was fifteen blocks south standing at the counter of Hermès.

She was deciding between the traditional double-wrap band in iconic orange leather and the more hetero choice in matte black. She was admiring the orange band on her own delicate wrist, when Steven’s Apple Watch vibrated and a tiny tit pic flashed on the screen, followed by the gray text bubble containing the letters: DTF? *eggplant emoji*

Lolly tapped the touch-screen to see the photo again. Confirming the worst, she froze until her fight-or-flight impulse kicked in. Lolly chose flight, forgetting to take off the new band as she ran out, and was stopped by the burly security guard who blocked the door. Lolly, never good at holding back tears, started to sob pitifully, staring down at her beloved Gucci sneakers (the ones with the glittering snakes) that Steven had bought for her this past Christmas. Unsure of what to do, the security guard placed his arms around the crying girl. She pressed her face into his poly-blend jacket and whispered, “It’s a mistake. It must be a mistake. Please let it be a goddamn mistake.”

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Why I love it

Blur the line between the supposed “high” culture of the elite and the “low” culture of the masses and I’m yours. So, when I learned that Anna K tackled the question, "what would Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina look like as a contemporary young adult novel?" I knew I had to find out. The result is a modern, refreshingly diverse story that’s as heartfelt and thought-provoking as it is high-drama fun. Think Tolstoy meets Gossip Girl with a half-Korean lead.

Seventeen-year-old Anna is from a wealthy Manhattan family. Her idyllic relationship is threatened when she meets handsome lothario Alexia “Count” Vronsky. This thread connects an abundant cast of characters, all struggling with their own matters of love, class, mental health, addiction—not to mention racism and sexism.

Just a fair warning—this book has a few graphic scenes containing drugs, sex, and a lot of swearing (this spoof of the lives of obscenely wealthy teenagers is over-the-top, to say the least!). If that’s not for you, pick a different book. That said, thanks to Lee’s cinematic writing style I was wholly invested in the fates of these misguided teenagers, each with their own unique voice and fully realized arc. Love, heartbreak, shame, guilt, regret—these are the great subjects of humanity. In this way, Anna K manages to be an indulgent joyride that’s also, well, downright Tolstoyesque.

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Member ratings (7,027)

  • Alexis M.

    Flemington, WV

    This book was very entertaining to read. I loved the constant drama that surrounded these teens. It didn’t have the ending I was hoping for, but I loved it anyways. I definitely recommend. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Brady P.

    Saratoga Springs, UT

    This book is very mich “as advertised”. It’s fun. It’s over-the-top. It is pretty close to Anna Karenina (which it is based on). It isn’t the most beautifully written book and is a bit much in parts.

  • Kristina M.

    New York, NY

    This was one of the best romance novels I’ve read, hands down. It’s set in my favorite city, has really complex characters and the ending is super unexpected. Definitely a modern Romeo and Juliet ❤️

  • Haley B.

    Saint Croix Falls, WI

    I love to tell myself I’m past reading high school love stories, but over and over again I have to remind mgself that just because the characters are young doesn’t mean the love isn’t real. Great read

  • Kendyl B.

    South Lyon, MI

    This book was so good! There were times where I was like ‘Okay, this is too much,’ but I’m so glad I stuck it out. I could not put this book down. So much packed into 374 pages! Definitely recommend!

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