Monday, November 22, 2010

Review: How to Ruin a Summer Vacation by Simone Elkeles

(summary from goodreads)

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.

Review: This book seemed very different from Elkeles's other books. This one seemed much more light-hearted and fun, but it did manage to have some serious undertones. 

Amy was such a funny person. She had me laughing out loud more than once. It's interesting to see to see how she handles the situations sh puts herself in, and it's usually pretty funny. Besides Amy the only characters I really remember are Avi and Osnat, who were also both great, is a bit serious. 

I love how the author managed to show the evolution of Amy's relationships as well as with herself. She may not have been spoiled, but she definitely saw another way of life and learned a lot from it.

On the surface of this book is a very fun plot, but I think there is something much deeper in this book. It focuses a lot on family, and, although it's not a religious book, the history of the Jewish culture and the importance of tradition. Simone really did her research on that.

Overall, this was a really fun book to read and had a good lesson as far as family and tradition. It'll be interesting to see where the sequel goes. 

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