And the hits just keep on coming
If you haven't already read Simone Elkeles' first novel about Amy Nelson-Barak's crazy and hilarious adventures discovering her Israeli heritage, go read How to Ruin a Summer Vacation right away. If you have, then you're probably dying to see what scrapes straight-talking but lovable Amy gets into next. You won't be disappointed by How to Ruin My Teenage Life. Although the fish-out-of-water factor that made most of the first novel's humour doesn't really apply anymore, Amy's still the same old trouble magnet: her mom and stepdad are having a new baby, her overprotective father is still getting used to having a teenage daughter living in his house, her best friend Jessica is having serious boyfriend issues, and her strange new neighbour Nathan is playing mind games with her in front of the whole school. To top it all off, Avi, her hot Israeli non-boyfriend, is incommunicado halfway across the world. There are so many ways this could go wrong, and you'll love being along for the ride when it does. Fans of the snarky Israeli characters might be disappointed that they're not front and centre anymore, but the new American characters (and more-developed versions of Amy's parents), though not as comical, are interesting and genuine too. How to Ruin My Teenage Life isn't riotously laugh-out-loud like the first novel, but Amy's frank, amusing narration, the believable characters, and the non-stop predicaments they all get into make it an unmistakably entertaining read. The adventures just keep on coming for Amy; here's hoping that the novels will keep on coming for us!