Review Detail

 
Young Adult Fiction
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0

Fish out of water

When 16-year old Amy Nelson's estranged father insists on dragging her to Israel for the summer to meet his side of the family, she knows it's not going to be like anything she's ever experienced before, but she doesn't expect it to be quite so life-changing as it turns out to be. Through three months of empowering ups and mortifying downs, this fish out of water finds her place just where you'd least expect it: in the middle of the Israeli desert.

Readers will absolutely fall in love with Simone Elkeles' delightful mix of uproarious comedy (I laughed so hard I cried more than once), gripping romance and touching journey of self-discovery. They'll be intrigued by the unfamiliar setting and seduced by the cast of straight-talking but very human characters. And any reader looking for Mr. Right will be totally entranced, as I was, by Amy's abrasive yet appealingly vulnerable love interest Avi, a man so impossibly hot they'll wonder if he could really exist. The author has said that she wanted to write "a funny, lighthearted book that teens can read just for entertainment and fun," and she has, but she didn't limit the book to a superficial account of a girl trying to survive summer vacation hell. Rather, she offers an understated and believable story that shows that even if you're generally happy with your life and not looking for anything, if you open up, something might find you.

How to Ruin a Summer Vacation is the best teen comedy/romance of the year and will leave readers breathlessly awaiting its sequel, How to Ruin my Teenage Life, due out in summer 2007. Look out, Edward Cullen! Avi's on his way!

*** Read an interview with the author here.

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