All Amy Nelson wanted was to have a regular summer. To spend time with her best friend, Jessica, and her new boyfriend. But that won't happen for Amy by a long shot. It seems that her estranged father wants her to go back to Israel with him to visit her grandmother. Sure, going to Israel may seem exciting to most people, but not for Amy. Not when there are wars going on and the fact that she has to go with a man that she hardly knows. The one good thing that may come from this is the coolest fashions that her best friend is always telling her about.
Before she knows it, Amy's mother makes her go and she's on the next plane to Israel. Things couldn't get any worse for Amy at this point; well, actually they can. When she arrives, Amy sees something totally different then what she would see at home in Chicago. There seems to be soldiers and guards at every corner. Not only that, but Amy just discovered that she isn't sleeping in a fancy hotel, but more like an old house, with one bathroom and seven other people that she's never met. Then there's her cousin Snotty, I mean Osnat, who seems to hate Amy the moment she sees her, and the no-shirt cute-jerk, Avi, who Amy happens to see everywhere she turns. If only she could just get him out of her mind. There's also her aba, or grandmother, that for someone she hardly knows, Amy discovers there's a deep connection between the two of them.
With an entirely new family and obnoxious people in a totally different country, it seems like this might be the craziest summer yet for Amy.
HOW TO RUIN A SUMMER VACATION, no doubt, was the greatest book I've read in a long time. Not only does the basis of the book pull you in, but the cast of characters all charm their way into your heart. Even though Amy may be a little bratty at times, every obstacle she goes through and every awkward situation for her makes reading the book worthwhile. Simone Elkeles eliminates all the myths we had about Israel and introduces a completely new culture that I, for one, hardly knew anything about. Not only will you begin to appreciate Amy's new culture, but you'll also think about your own culture and how unique it is. The sequel to this book, How to Ruin My Teenage Life, will release on June 1, 2007.
How to Ruin a Summer Vacation is pretty much what you would imagine, a easy, quick, light-hearted and fun read. Ideal for summer in my opinion!
The book follows 16 year old Amy who has a pretty average life until a phone call from her father changes her world upside down for the rest of the summer.
Amy ends up spending the summer in Israel with her father and his family, rather than going to summer camp with her friends like she was planning. And to make it even worse she hardly even talks to never mind see's her father, knows nothing about his family in Israel and doesn't speak a word of Hebrew! Things go from bad to worse when Amy see's her "accommodation" for the summer. It's certainly not the 5 star hotel she was expecting, throw in a bitchy cousin and a grandmother who didn't even know she existed and she is off to a great start with her new relatives!!
I did really enjoy this book, it is very short, straightforward and easy to get into. Amy's story captures the reader right from page one and drags them into the rest of the story. It is a story about growing up, falling in love and learning who you really are and where you fit in.
I'm really looking forward to reading the second book in this series now!
This would be a good holiday book, enough funny moments to be lighthearted but the author does try to include serious issues. I like the way she handles Israel, although it's a dangerous place we are reminded that the young people who live there are still ordinary people with the same the worries as American/English etc At the same time Amy, our main character, realises that her life isn't as tough as she thought, she doesn't have to join the army for two years or shear sheep! There are some nice romantic moments and I liked the growing relationship with her father. All in all, a nice book for young adults :)