Wednesday, December 8, 2010

How to Ruin a Summer Vacation by Simone Elkeles Review

Published: October 1st 2006 by Flux

Paperback, 234 pages
Book Series: How to Ruin, Book 1

Book Description:

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.


I'm giving this book a "don't judge a book by it's cover" stamp. Nice and bold so everyone can see.

The setting of this book is Jerusalem, which for me makes this an even more interesting read because I'm Palestinian and know the country and it's people fairly well. The characters are, as usual in Elkeles books, fascinating! Amy, who's 16, isn't so much in control as she'd like to be. Her dad is living in Israel and so when she is sent there by her mom, away from her best friend and "boyfriend",stubbornness gets the best of her.

She's half Jewish but doesn't consider that side of her heritage or appreciate much until she truly sees Israel and meets Avi, an Israel hunk who I'd love to meet. Amy struggles with her misfortune and it doesn't help when a few people close by can't stand her as much as she can't stand the smell of goats in the air. For one, Avi and Amy can't stand one another but as much as this sounds cliche, they soon start to fall for each other. For reasons that are inspiring. Something else that was a general inspiration was the relationship between Avi and a Muslim boy, Tarik. I loved how that scene went.

I can't stress the admiration I have for Simone's stories enough. Her style in writing is so readable and unforgettable. I could never compare Elkeles or her books because they're so different, she always does her own thing.

Although not my favorite from this author because of the few times I rolled my eyes at Amy's obnoxiousness, I definitely recommend this book.

It's fun, loving, smile-to-yourself brilliant!


Other books from the "how to Ruin" series:

~How to Ruin My Teenage Life (Book 2)
How to Ruin Your Boyfriend's Reputation (Book 3)

*Ruined (Book 1,2, and 3)

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