How to Ruin My Teenage Life
By Simone Elkeles
June 8, 2007
Flux, 281 pages
In this sequel to How to Ruin a Summer Vacation, EVERYTHING in sixteen-year-old Amy Nelson Barak’s life is going wrong! Her mom got married and moved to the suburbs, and now they are going to have a baby. Amy moves in with her dad in Chicago and signs him up for an online dating service. His first four dates are that night . . .
What else? Her dog Mutt impregnated her grumpy neighbor’s prized poodle, so Amy will actually have to get a part-time job to pay for half the veterinary bill. And there’s this totally annoying boy, Nathan Rubin, who just moved into her apartment building. Luckily, Amy has a cute boyfriend named Avi. Only he’s more like a non-boyfriend considering Avi is in the Israeli army for the next three years.
What’s a girl to do when everyone is conspiringto ruin her life?
— Amazon.com description
What, is it unintentionally Simone Elkeles week on this blog?
I can't help it. I just adore her. She really understands teens and how complicated it can be for them to balance their friendships, their parents and their first forays into romance. The girl GETS IT, which I why I enjoy all of her books. This one is no different. Loved it.
That being said, I didn't love it as much as I loved the first book in this series, How to Ruin a Summer Vacation. My favorite part of that book was Amy's introduction to Israeli culture. It's still there in this book as she starts her studies into Judaism, but it's just not as prevalent. And it was missed.
I was so attached to Amy that it was great to see what happened when she got home from Israel...not to mention what happened between her and Avi. I'm breathlessly checking my library account online to see when the next book (How to Ruin Your Boyfriend's Reputation) is coming in. It's been marked "in transit" forever!
A bonus: This was set in Chicago! I read it on the El heading downtown each morning, and couldn't help thinking I'd spot Amy on my walk to work. I'm such a sucker for Chicago books.