Tuesday, 17 April 2012

How to Ruin a Summer Vacation by Simone Elkeles

How to Ruin a Summer Vacation
Simone Elkeles
Llewellyn Publications
[October 1, 2006]


Moshav? What’s a moshav? Is it “shopping mall” in Hebrew? I mean, from what Jessica was telling me, Israeli stores have the latest fashions from Europe. That black dress Jessica has is really awesome. I know I’d be selling out if I go with the Sperm Donor to a mall, but I keep thinking about all the great stuff I could bring back home. 

Unfortunately for 16-year-old Amy Nelson, “moshav” is not Hebrew for “shopping mall.” Not even close. Think goats, not Gucci.

Going to Israel with her estranged Israeli father is the last thing Amy wants to do this summer. She’s got a serious grudge against her dad, a.k.a. “Sperm Donor,” for showing up so rarely in her life. Now he’s dragging her to a war zone to meet a family she’s never known, where she’ll probably be drafted into the army. At the very least, she’ll be stuck in a house with no AC and only one bathroom for seven people all summer—no best friend, no boyfriend, no shopping, no cell phone…

Goodbye pride—hello Israel.

Part of me worried that this would be ridiculously shallow and silly and I'd hate it, but not even close. Not. Even. Close. Instead I found myself craving the next books but unable to order them and now that I can, I worry I'll drop everything to read them.

Amy isn't quite as shallow as she seems, but she's pretty close. The growth she experiences in How to Ruin a Summer Vacation is incredible and she still has so much more potential. I grew to love Amy and I want to adopt her as my honorary best friend because if she was my actual best friend, my real best friends would probably hurt me.

It took a while for me to come to love Amy's new friends and her love interest, but it was meant to be that way. I learned a lot about the cultural differences and how that effects the way we view each other. It was this huge source of tension between Amy and those her age in Israel and it was a hurdle they all had to go over together. By the end, I loved all of them, though.

But this story? 

<3<3<3<3<3

I loved the setting, so different from most YA, and the fact it wasn't all sunshine and rainbows and happiness and there were a lot of dark spots to what seems so shallow. It was real and honest and well researched and just lskfgnhshngjwngsa And the romance? Oy. To. The. Vey. So much adorable.

But really, what else would you expect from Simone Elkeles? She tells stories so, so well. I wasn't crazy in love with her Perfect Chemistry series (I have no intention of picking up book 3 since book 2 was a let down for me), but she knows how to write a damn good story.

Basically, I think this is Simone's under appreciated series and it deserves SO MUCH MORE ATTENTION. All three books are out, you might even be able to score the bind up, and if not they're all in paperback and pretty easy to find on the internet. GO NOW AND BUYZ. These are the perfect reads to go with the warm weather! Or...any weather really! JUST BUY AND READ PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE.

--Julie

1 comment:

  1. I started with the Fuentes brothers and moved back to this series. I have to say, although I gave the other books a higher rating I probably enjoyed this trilogy more. There was just something about these books that was so precious to me. I don;t think I could highly recommend a series more than this one. I absolutely loved every character... all of them played such an important role! I just wish I could find out more about Amy and Avi. I am hoping the author someday adds more to this series!

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