[Rezension] Simone Elkeles: How to ruin a summer vacation

This review contains some spoilers but although I usually am very careful with spoilers in this case I simply don’t care enough about the book to hold back any crucial details. So consider courselves warned!

Amy barely knows her father Ron (she refers to him as SD, Sperm Doner) as she grew up with her single mom but is forced to spend the summer with him in his homeland Israel as his mother is seriously sick. Amy starts out childish and silly (wandering off into the bank for half an hour to get money for the coca cola machine after she realized she can’t pay with American Dollars at the Tel Aviv airport while her father is worried sick) and grows into a slightly less silly and self absorbed person. Amy decides to become a Jew at one point to cherish the heritage of her father but mostly as it seems because the David Star is sooo decorative on a necklace. Amy is supposed to be 16, but she feels WAY younger to me, especially in the first half of the novel.

I was thrilled about the idea of the book, an American teenager discovering Israel sounded like an interesting and not so shallow read. It was however one of the most shallow books I ever read. It feels like it was written by a 14 year old boy, obsessed with big boobs (Amy’s breasts are mentioned at least every 5 pages: „My boobs are too big for this thing.“ (when trying to put of a life jacket) )

There are some hints to the political situation in Israel, especially in the end, but it stays on a rather simple level. The relationships turn and grow fast and in a less than convincing way.

The writing style is entertaining and light, which is fun for about 50 pages, then it is purely annoying. The „young tone“ seems forced and a bit unnatural.

Let me finish this rather negative review by saying that I read 2 books of the author’s Perfect Chemistry trilogy (so far, waiting for part 3 to make it into my mailbox) and enjoyed them very much. She knows how to write, she knows how to create likeable characters, my theory is, she hired a 14 year old ghostwriter for this book ;-).

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