Review of ‘Anna K’

When I saw the title Anna K I instantly knew this was a retelling of Anna Karenina. I have read Anna Karenina only once in my life, in college for my Russian Lit class. Why I took that class, I do not know. I think it was the only exciting literature class that sparked an interest in me. I also knew the teacher and knew if I had to, could skate by. He always graded on a curve. When I read Anna Karenina, I was not as in love with it as I would have liked. To be honest, I think it bored me. Then the film came out starring Keira Knightley and I saw what I was missing in the novel. However, I did not pick the novel back up to re-read it.

However, I can say, as far as retellings go, Anna K blew me away.

A Compelling Contemporary Retelling

Anna K

Anna K
by Jenny Lee
Flatiron Books

There were so many parts of this novel that reminded me of the Gossip Girl novels. This wave of nostalgia that hit me gave me goosebumps in a good way. Connecting me to those memories only made me love the novel even more.

However, what stands out about the novel is the characters. It is so easy to visualize these characters as they embark on their adolescent journey into love. That is probably the reason why I love this retelling more than the original because it is so easy to believe young kids are screwing up and figuring out their love lives rather than adults. There is such a preconception that lingers in our minds that makes us think that adults have it all figured out even when we know they do not. Even here, the adults do not have everything figured out, and that is the charm of the novel.

Anna thought she had everything figured out, her whole future laid out before her, a dotting boyfriend, the pride of Greenwich, but she forgot to live. That was brilliant, and part of the compelling nature of the novel.

By going back and forth between these characters, the novel intertwines their lives together, giving the novel a good pace and strong character dynamics. These may be high society kids, but the reader can connect to them because they are as lost as every other teenager out there. These kids are dealing with the hardships of school, the control of social media, and the addiction and longing that is love. Everyone, no matter the age, can connect with these characters because they are real, they come to life in such a brilliant way, developing and growing as they experience life.

Final Thoughts

Anna K was a brilliant contemporary retelling. It has such a range of characters but never loses the reader. It is cohesive in its fluidity, moving from one character to another is such a smooth motion. Jenny Lee did such a good job making sure the novel flowed, ensuring that the pacing of the novel remained steady so that she did not lose her point of view.

A true love story, Anna K lingers and connects to the reader long after they finish.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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Product Details:

Pub Date: Mar. 3, 2020Page Count: 400ppAge Range: 14 & Over
ISBN: 978-1-2502-3643-2Publisher: Flatiron BooksList Price: $18.99

Anna K


Writing Quality


Character Development


"Couldn't Put It Down"-ness


Intellectual Depth





  • Amazing pacing.
  • Great dynamics.
  • Flows effortlessly; brilliant pacing.
  • Moves between characters without confusion.
  • Amazing storytelling, characterization, and development.

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