Monday, July 9, 2012

Book Review: How to Ruin a Summer Vacation by Simone Elkeles

Monday, July 9, 2012
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Publisher: Turtleback Books
Series: How to Ruin #1
Source: Library
Location: Israel
How to Ruin a Summer Vacation (How to Ruin, #1)
Amy is forced to go to Israel with the father who hasn't been around for most of her life. On top of the heat, she also has to deal with a cousin who hates her on sight, a confusing (but gorgeous) Israeli boy, and a foreign language. But maybe her trip to Israel won't be so bad. It could even give her a whole new perspective on, well, everything.

I loved this book because of where it is set. I loved reading about life on an Israeli commune, especially since I know a few people who have actually lived on one. The area just sounds beautiful and I'm dying to go someday.

Also, Amy's grandma is great. I know the wise old figure is kind of a cliche, but I'm a sucker for it anyway. The other characters- Avi in particular- are very well done and the only one I had any real complaints about was Amy. For most of the book, her immaturity and whining bugged me. I could see where her upset stemmed from, but she is just so shallow at parts. Thankfully, there is character growth and she redeems herself.

The insight into Israeli culture is fantastic. Simone Elkeles covers the draft, Palestinian relationships, and other topics with ease. It allows readers a different kind of insight than media reports. Definitely pick it up, even if it's just for that reason.
*3.5 stars*
Other Books in this Series: How Ruin My Teenage Life, How to Ruin Your Boyfriend's Reputation
Cover Note: I don't usually comment on covers, but I have to say, of the two covers for these books, I don't think either fit. What do you think?

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