How to Ruin a Summer Vacation by Simone Elkeles
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.
Amy initially resists going to Israel, but she has no choice - she goes there anyway. She hates her father for being absent in her life for so long, and her words are always filled with venom. She cannot understand how her father gave up on her and her mother so easily. When her father tells her that his family doesn't even know of her existence, she feels so angry and sad that she bursts into tears.
However, after spending more time with her new family, she learns to accept the differences in Israelite and American culture. She learns to live in harmony with her new family members, taste the sweetness of a blossoming romance and rediscovers another part of her heritage which she has denied all these while.
This is a book about love, family and acceptance.
This is a book which teens will gladly devour.