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How to Ruin a Summer Vacation

How to Ruin a Summer Vacation
By Simone Elkeles
Llewellyn Publications, 2006
Audience: All Teens

From Goodreads:
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 book reminded me of Anna and the French Kiss, in a way. It wasn't nearly as breathtaking and Amy wasn't as interesting as Anna, but they were both forced (by their fathers) to go to another country against their will. After they got there, they both met smoking hot, irresistible - and UNAVAILABLE - guys. It was a lot lighter and a lot less complicated too. It was perfect to read in the summer when it's horribly hot outside. 
Amy was kind of spoiled and bratty, but so was I when I was a teenager. The book isn't too long, so it doesn't get annoying. Also, it helps that she seems aware of how she is acting herself... just a bit too late. It was kind of funny how she always managed to do the exact WRONG thing. However, she grew quickly enough that it wasn't a problem.
There was a problem, though. 
*Spoiler Alert*
(But not really. It's kind of expected.)
When she and Avi decide they are In A Relationship, it kind of happens FAST. It didn't really develop slowly. It's like they weren't together, then BOOM - they were. Also, it was weird how she didn't seem ready to have sex at all, then after kissing Avi, that suddenly wasn't a problem anymore.
Those small things weren't enough to make me dislike the book. I put the next two on hold at the library. I'm looking forward to finishing the trilogy! I wish I could get my hands on a copy of Ruined -- all three of the books in one edition! Too bad it's expensive and hard to come by.
Sigh. I guess I'll live.

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