Monday, December 6, 2010

How to Ruin a Summer Vacation

How to Ruin a Summer Vacation
By Simone Elkeles
October 8, 2006
Flux, 240 pages

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.

— description

Reading this book was like eating dessert. I scarfed it down in one sitting and felt nice and sugary and happy afterward. It really is a perfect, quick YA rom-com novel.

The main character was likeable and had a very realistic, relatable teen voice, the romantic lead was cute and intriguing, and the story had a strong message about the importance of family pride. As a bonus, it knocks down a lot of stereotypes readers probably have about Israeli life and is a great look into Jewish culture. What more could you ask for?

I'll be getting the sequels soon because I can't wait to find out what happens to Amy next. Simply put, a charming read.

The next books in the series: How to Ruin My Teenage Life and How to Ruin Your Boyfriend's Reputation

If you like this book, you might also like: Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

Anna Reads young adult book blog


  1. I got this book signed by Simone & have yet to read it, it's on my list though! I'm thinking it will be a good read when I need something light & fluffy.

    Btw - I love how Simone's writing styles are based around different cultures. But she does it in subtle ways, not all up in your face.

  2. You can't go wrong with a quick, happy rom-com :) I actually have this book but haven't read it yet...I'll keep it in mind when I need a pick-me-up.

  3. Love the comparison to dessert, sometimes reads like that are nice and refreshing and get you back in the mood for the deeper, more complex reads. Sounds cute, I'm going to look into this one, thanks Anna!

  4. I think I'm going to go and pick this up from the library! I've been wanting to read this! And I just love reading "happy" books!

  5. This book is on my list on my nook! or the library :) The plot line is a grabber*** THX

  6. It's one of the rare fiction that addresses the Jewish culture. You can learn a lot from it.


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