Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 1851
Athen-tic Greek Adventure
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Zona loves living in New York with her journalist father, and she has good friends at her school, where she is the features editor of the school paper. When her father informs her that he is going to Athens for six months to do research, she is crushed. How can she leave the paper and her friends? Her father has an ulterior motive-- Zona's mother was from Greece, but her family disowned her when she married, didn't answer her letters, and are unaware that she passed away due to complications with Zona's birth. Living in Greece will give Zona a way to reconnect with her mother's family as well as a change to experience a new culture.

Zona's strong relationship with her father, and their shared interest in newspaper reporting, is evidenced in the headline notes they leave for each other. As much as they get along, the trip to Greece separates them; the father is busy with his research, and Zona is caught up in the freedom that Greek teenagers are allowed. It was interesting to see the relationship explored as it pertained to Zona's growing independence. I wish more books would explore this topic! Also interesting was Zona's experience in a new school, although it was odd to me that she was able to keep in touch so easily with her friends in the US. When I lived in Greece in the 1980s, there were letters, and to call the states, we had to go across town to the phone company because our apartment didn't have a phone! There was a light romance, and some serious issues with classmates that added to the well-rounded international school experience.

Once Zona traveled to Crete to meet her extended family, the book picked up and became very interesting. Details of life in a small Greek village, as well as details of the Easter celebrations and the politics of an extended Greek family are intriguing and amusing. Readers of Jennifer E. Smith, Sarah Dessen, and Maureen Johnson's 13 Little Blue Envelopes will enjoy this terrific tale of discovering one's roots.
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