Friday, May 30, 2014

BBReview: "How to Ruin 1: How to Ruin a Summer Vacation" By Simone Elkeles

Genre: Young Adult - Contemporary
Publishing Date: October 8th, 2006
Page Count: 234
Source: Local library
Format: Paperback

Description from
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.

This one started a little rocky for me, but as I continued to read, it got better and better. The first thing I did not, like at all, was the main character. Amy is sixteen and refers to her dad as "sperm donor", because he is never around. She also whines and complains a lot, and acts like a spoiled brat during the beginning. I did not like her and really didn't know if I was going to be able to finish the book because of her, but then something hooked me. That something is Simone Elkeles writing. She is seriously brilliant, because even though I hated the main character, until about halfway through, I kept reading. Amy eventually got better once she became aware of her attitude and explained to the reader the root of her anger. I actually had this book done in one night.

All the other characters in the book were really great and I liked them from the first meeting. They are all very uniquely crafted and really feel like real, round people. They each have their own attitudes, beliefs, and ways of thinking and I just really enjoyed that Simone took such care with each character instead of making them fuzzy. The romance aspect to this book is also really great. It takes forever, it feels like, for it to finally happen, but when it does you are just in love with it. It takes long enough for Amy and the guy to really get to know each other and know that this is something they really want to try. It made the pacing of this book feel really authentic and when you get to the ending of the book you are dying to read the next book in the series.

I will definitely be continuing on with this series and everything else that Simone has written. She is seriously an amazing author and I will always stand by her writing. This is definitely a great book to read by the pool or on the beach. I recommend this to those who enjoy YA romance's that take place in other parts of the world.

I really loved this book and cannot wait to continue reading the series. I wasn't sure I was going to like it in the beginning, because Amy is not a very likable character, but Simone's writing had me hooked and I stuck with it. Eventually Amy stops being a brat and she explains where all of her anger comes from, which was really refreshing. The pacing is really nice and I loved that it takes plan in another country, because it was like I got to visit too. I highly recommend this to lovers of YA romance. Great summer read!

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 4/5

**The books cover, description, and info was all found on Goodreads. A link back has been provided. All other work and ideas are of my own creation. This book was borrowed from my local library.**