Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Review: How to Ruin a Summer Vacation

How to Ruin a Summer Vacation

Title: How to Ruin a Summer Vacation
Author: Simone Elkeles
ISBN/Publisher: 978-0-7387-0961-1/Flux (part of Llewellyn Publications)
Age Group/Genre: Young Adult

Amy Nelson is a somewhat spoiled sixteen year old and lives with her mom in Chicago. She refers to her biological father as "Sperm Donor" since he was never around growing up. But he calls up one day wanting Amy to spend the summer with him in Israel so she can get to know her sick grandmother.

Unenthusiastically Amy heads out to Israel and learns that Sperm Donor's family has no idea she even exists. Here in a foreign country, Amy shares a room with a cousin that seems to hate her and she also finds herself in many embarrassing moments with her new family and her cousin's friends.

How will Amy cope being in such a different country???

How to Ruin a Summer Vacation is such a fun and quick read, but totally worth it. There are times when Amy seems like such a high maintenance brat, but then there are times when you love her (I guess that can describe most teens). The idea of the book was pretty cool and there are even some things to learn from it (I learned a lot about the culture in Israel).

The description and stereotyping of a developing nation really hit the mark in this novel. And I think that was the part that I found really relatable because I go back and forth between California and the Philippines. And there are some people I know would never even give a thought to visit developing nations and stay because all they think about are the dangers and how poor it must be. But they don't know that there are many great parts in these nations to visit and trust me...even great shopping : ) Can you say...Kate Spade, William Rast, and 7 For All Man Kind???

All the characters are fun and I love that each chapter starts with interesting and fun quotes (you'll have to read it to find out what they are). This book is also a laugh out loud type (there are names like Doo-Doo, Moron, Yucky, O'snot) get ready to get some looks if you plan on reading it in public.

I'll definitely recommend this to high school and older young adult fans!!! I can't wait to continue the series and to read more books by Simone Elkeles.

A few favorite parts...

"I'm an all-American girl with red, white, and blue blood running through these veins. I do not stay at places called moshaves. Unless I've signed up for the Girl Scouts, which I didn't. I need amenities. Amenities! Do you know what those are?" page 28

"You're a city girl, eh?"
"Through and through. Give me a Kate Spade purse and a pair of Lucky jeans and I'm a happy girl." page 58 (by the way add in a book and that makes me a HAPPY girl)

"Opinions are like assholes, everybody's got one and everyone thinks everyone else's stinks." page 90

My Rating:

(This book was bought at a store called FullyBooked)

***Now go and grab your fave cup of tea (or whatever beverage you prefer) and HAPPY readings***


  1. Awesome review Jennay! I like the part about the developing nations. I'm a Filipino too, well I'm a full Filipino. Other people say Philippines is so poor. But when you go to the mall, everyone is shopping like crazy. And, oh, I just went to the mall earlier. And trust me - it was filled with shoppers.

  2. Sounds like a good read that I can share with my younger sisters.