Book Review : How to Ruin My Teenage Life (How to Ruin, #2) by Simone Elkeles

How to Ruin My Teenage Life (How to Ruin, #2)
Paperback, 281 pages
Published June 1st 2007 by Flux
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 conspiring to ruin her life?

How to Ruin My Teenage Life is the second book about Amy Nelson-Barak, who comes back to America after the summer vacation ends. Amy misses her Israeli non-boyfriend, Avi Gefen, but she seldom gets to call him on the phone and writes him letters, much less meet him in person.

Her new neighbour, Nathan turns up, miraculously, to be the new transfer student in her school. Too bad they don't get along with each other too well. Meanwhile, Amy's mother is officially married to her stepdad, Marc with a 'c', and is now expecting a new baby.

I don't deny that sometimes Amy acts like a snob, but she's actually a nice person inside. She really cares about her best friend Jessica, and tries her best to help Jessica when she's down and blue. The new boy, Nathan, looks like a geek with his outdated outfit and also his slippery nerd-like glasses. Although he seems uncaring, he actually has a big secret which he never tells anyone.

In How to Ruin My Teenage Life, Amy Nelson-Barak learns the real value of friendship - how friends should help and support each other through hard times. She also strengthens her love relationship with her non-boyfriend Avi Gefen, the hot Israeli hunk who is now her official boyfriend. Though not as amazing as the first book, it's still a likeable novel with its themes of family, love and friendship. And as always, Simone Elkeles humours me with her clever words.

Simone was raised in the suburbs of Chicago. She attended the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign where she earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology and then Loyola University-Chicago where she earned a Master’s of Science in Industrial Relations while working for a manufacturing company creating diversity programs for their employees. In her spare time she’s a hockey mom and an active Girl Scout leader specially trained in outdoor education. She also spends time mentoring other teen and adult authors.

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