Chasing Athens

Fiction - Chick Lit
274 Pages
Reviewed on 12/06/2014
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Native New Yorker Marissa Tejada is an author, travel writer and journalist based in Athens, Greece. Living the expat life in Europe inspired her to write Chasing Athens which is her debut novel.

Since it was released in April 2014, Chasing Athens has reached the top 10 Amazon Best Sellers rank in several categories.

She’s also the co-writer for Fodor’s Greek Islands and Fodor’s Greece. As an award-winning journalist she contributes to numerous publications specializing in food and wine, technology and travel writing. Marissa also blogs for my Greece, my travels, her travel photography blog.

Marissa loves traveling, learning languages, sipping mochachinos and devouring dark chocolate.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Cheryl E. Rodriguez for Readers' Favorite

Chasing Athens is a spirited work of fiction written by Marissa Tejada. Ava Martin is a “small American college-town girl” from Ithaca, NY. She gives up her career and life to live in Greece for her husband’s job. Unfortunately, once there, she finds herself alone most of the time. With the help of two amazing friends, Ava does her best to fit in. Before long, she finds herself falling in love with the Athenian lifestyle. Then suddenly her life bottoms out. After being married less than a year, her husband wants a divorce. Ava is torn - should she stay in Greece or move back to Ithaca? Evading thoughts of self pity, she has “coffee by day” and “cocktails by night.” Ava decides to stay in Greece through the summer. She finds herself temporary employment, and begins to soak up Greece: the scenery, the nightlife and even the riotous Athenian environment. Just as she is beginning to enjoy her independence, an emergency causes her to return home! Alone, in her favorite childhood thinking spot, Ava realizes she has spent her whole life pleasing others. Now for the first time, she will do what pleases her. This will not be the end, but the beginning of her life.

Writing from her heart about a place she loves, Marissa Tejada reveals her passion for Greece in Chasing Athens. From the opening scene, the culture and language of Greece lure the reader into the story. Humor, fun and “real life crisis” are woven into the fabric of the plot. The characters are well defined, displaying a vast array of personalities, blending the many cultural differences. The protagonist’s character is portrayed with heart-felt emotion; she is daring, yet afraid, as she strives to find herself. The imagery of the setting is lavishly graphic, from the blend of ancient and modern architecture, crystal blue waters, and breath-taking island views to the tumultuous streets due to economic distress. The characters face many conflicts, personally (man vs. man) and culturally (man vs. society). The over-riding theme of overcoming in the midst of chaos is depicted in the loss of relationships and protesting against the government. These two distinct elements keep the action fluid and promote character development. Chasing Athens is more than a romance novel; it is a story of self discovery.

Ioana Marza

When newlywed Ava Martin followed her husband Greg to Greece, she dreamt of a happy life together, future children and the feeling of a never-ending Mediterranean holiday. But when Greg turns out to be a cheating “malaka” (a Greek word the reader will definitely get to learn), Ava’s first thought is to go back to her home in Upstate New York. Instead she chooses to find her feet on her own in Athens, supported by her Greek friends, going through her own odyssey of dating and learning what she really wants. Chasing Athens is set in beautiful Greece and the fact that Marissa Tejada is actually living in Athens is evident through the description of the city, the food, the local customs, and the numerous Greek words used which give a note of authenticity to the story.

Chasing Athens is the epitome of the ‘chick lit’ genre. It includes lots of flirting, drinking, partying, detailed descriptions of clothes and drinks. The ideal girlfriend, the occasional nightmare boyfriend, the spiteful arrogant woman and the personification of a Greek George Clooney, all make an appearance and have a role in Ava’s journey. Also, Ava is never short of suitors and some events are exceedingly fairy-tale-like. What distinguishes Chasing Athens from the other women's fiction is its Greek setting - that part I really enjoyed. And if you dream of being swept out of the sea in the arms of a handsome, intelligent multimillionaire, you will enjoy reading this from start to end.

Natasha Jackson

Chasing Athens is the story of a heartbroken American ditched by her new husband shortly after their marriage. As a recent transplant to Greece, Ava may have a broken heart but she lacks the one thing she truly needs: a job. So she has to make a choice to take a risk and stay in Athens or she can go back to the small town where her life is familiar and simple. Marissa Tejada has written a story of true transformation. Ava forms new friendships and bonds, learns the language and figures out who Ava Martin really is. She has such a rich life in Greece that she is able to forget her heartbreak and embrace the independence she has never really known. It is heartwarming and exhilarating watching Ava come into her own skin in the middle of modern day Athens.

What was truly incredible about Chasing Athens was Marissa Tejada’s ability to give the reader more than pristine white buildings and water so blue your eyes mist over. Nope, she gives us the real Athens that Ava had to contend with including protests, riots and general political unrest. This adds more than a hint of authenticity and it makes Ava’s new life more admirable than the simple vacation glimpse into Greece. I loved watching Ava become a new woman, making her own decisions and learning from her mistakes. With her overprotective mother a world away and her scheming soon to be ex a distant memory, she is able to look for love and learn to love herself as the Ava she is instead of the Ava everyone tells her she is. Tejada made the streets of Athens come alive on the page, which allowed me to discover Greece right alongside Ava.

Heather Osborne

Chasing Athens by Marissa Tejada is a contemporary novel with a bit of romance thrown in. Ava Martin believed her marriage to Greg would last forever. She follows him from small town New York to bustling Athens. It’s there that Greg admits he does not want to be married. Ava’s life as she knew it spirals downward. If not for her two loving friends, Eleni and Niko, she would be completely lost. Deciding to stay in the city she loves, Ava embarks on a journey of self-discovery and a few catastrophic attempts at finding romance, including an actor and a muscular surfer. It’s not until she is rewarded with a surprise spa weekend, thanks to a mishap on a beach, that Ava finds someone who could share her life. Is this the one she has been waiting for or just another lost cause?

Miss Tejada paints a vivid picture of life in Athens. I was drawn in by her descriptions and likeable characters. The novel makes me want to go visit Greece and see the places described by Ava. I loved that she was unwilling to settle for second best and decided to fight for her own happiness. I have to say that Eleni was my favorite character overall. Her mannerisms were so funny and I adored her from the very first pages of the novel. I felt I could relate to Ava though, and her struggle to make the right decision. Chasing Athens is sure to keep readers captivated and yearning to travel to the warm Greek Islands.

Jack Magnus

Chasing Athens is a women's fiction novel written by Marissa Tejada. Ava left her home in Ithaca, New York to live in Athens, Greece with her new husband, Greg. It was a huge change for the relatively sheltered 30-year-old who had never lived anywhere else but with her mom in the small college town in upstate New York. Athens was a grand and glowing adventure for Ava; however, she loved the culture and the lifestyle, even if her marriage did not seem to be all she expected. She knew Greg was a free spirit who needed to keep traveling, but the time he's been spending in their flat in Athens has become little more than a break between business trips. Fortunately for Ava, she's made a number of good friends since she moved there, especially her spiritual sister, Eleni, and pal, Nikos. Ava's been trying to contact Greg without much luck and is pleased to hear that he'll be back the following day, but Greg arrives a day early with shocking news. He wants a divorce and expects her to move out of their Athens flat within the next few weeks. Then he walks out the door.

Marissa Tejada's chick lit novel, Chasing Athens, had me daydreaming about a move to Athens. I found myself falling in love with the city along with Ava, especially the nearby islands, the ocean, the coffee and the nightlife. Ava is a great character; one you can't help but cheer for as she learns to make her own decisions and plot her own life. Tejada's love of Athens is quite evident in the way she portrays it, even its flaws and problems are presented with a proprietary fondness. Her writing style is easily accessible and pleasant, and I found myself learning a little bit of Greek along the way. While Chasing Athens is classified within the chick lit genre, it felt a lot to me like a coming of age story, and what a grand one it is! Ava's coming of age, even if it is at the ripe old age of 30, is a pleasure to witness, and Chasing Athens is likewise a pleasure to read. It's most highly recommended.