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Jersey Tomatoes are the Best

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  362 Ratings  ·  77 Reviews
This is a hilarious and heartbreaking story of two teen girls and the summer when everything changes for them. Both Henry and Eva are New Jersey natives and excellent athletes: Henry's a master on the tennis court and Eva is a graceful ballerina. When opportunity knocks for both of them the summer before their junior year in high school they throw open the door: Henry sees ...more
ebook, 352 pages
Published March 8th 2011 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
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May 02, 2011 Deborah rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Steph Su
JERSEY TOMATOES ARE THE BEST is a deceptively light contemporary story that delves into the darker side of sports without getting preachy. Whether you’re an athlete or not, girl or not, you’ll find something to enjoy in this moving yet fun novel.

Padian’s straightforward narration makes it very easy to relate to these Henry and Eva’s situations. Few of us may be on Henry and Eva’s level in terms of athletics, but it was still eye-opening to read about all the pressure they faced, the difficult ch
Jun 20, 2012 Anna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary-ya
Maria Padian’s Young Adult novel JERSEY TOMATOES ARE THE BEST gives readers an inside look at the training of two high-level female, best-friend, teen athletes. Henry (Henriette) is a tennis champ and Eva is a ballerina.

The book is told in alternating first person chapters with spot-on dialogue and voice unique to each character. Padian keeps the story moving forward, a difficult task with two narrators. She also captures the nuances of... more of this review on my blog.
5 stars for Eva's story and Henry's character development!!! Eva's story was the pulling factor as I am also a dancer and find EDs interesting to learn about. Henry was an interesting character, but I didn't really care for her story (especially when (view spoiler). Henry changed as well as Eva, but by the end, she thought it absolutely ridiculous that some even tried to suggest putting tennis o ...more
May 11, 2011 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lisa by: CapCh 14+
Henry is such a wonderful character: a great friend and a girlfriend with integrity who knows where to draw the line. It's so refreshing to meet a teen character who's in love, but who tells her boyfriend she's not ready for sex! I really like how Henry supported Eva, and her nuanced relationship with David.
Scottsdale Public Library
The story of two athletic Jersey girls and the life changing summer they spent apart - one at a tennis camp in Florida and the other in ballet program in New York. A moving teen tale that will linger in your thoughts for days afterwards!

-Lindsey D.-
Maddy O.
Jul 10, 2015 Maddy O. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alden and I both read her other book - out of Nowhere - and loved it. So, I grabbed this from the library for Alden, who read it almost immediately and really liked it. He then brought it p as a possibility for his Health class reading project, as it deals with a character with an eating disorder, and they were supposed to read a book dealing with some sort of a health topic...

Somewhere along the line, I ended up picking it up too and reading it. Really liked it, though it was of course sort of
Henry and Eva are as different as two girls get. Henry is a fierce tennis player, excelling in tournaments while her aggressive father watches and belittles her opponents. On the other side, Eva is a talented ballerina who loves to dance and has a mother who lives through her. Despite their differences, the two are best friends, or at least until both of them get opportunities to expand their abilities - Henry to an exclusive tennis camp and Eva to a prestigious ballet summer program. Their frie ...more
Lisa Nocita
Henriette, a.k.a. Henry, and Eva are Jersey born girls who have the world by the tail. Henry is a promising, up and coming tennis player and Eva is a graceful, masterful ballerina with lofty goals. The two have been best friends since they were six, sharing their hopes, dreams, ambitions, and, obnoxious parents. They call themselves "the Jersey tomatoes," an homage to their garden state. The summer before their junior year they both earn their way into gateway summer programs that will help them ...more
Jun 21, 2012 P.E. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jersey Tomatoes are the Best deserves way more recognition than it has been receiving. It's a great story with two real girls who make strong choices.

Eva and Henry are both incredibly talented. Eva's a ballerina and Henry is a tennis player. They are both on the path to success which is actually pretty hard. They both have overbearing parents but they also have each other and are best friends. That kind of friendship is so sweet. It's refreshing to read of friends who are actually friends and no
Jan 05, 2013 Alexa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Eva and Henry are best friends and they both have a crazy parent. For Eva it’s her mom, Rhonda who drives crazy and always brags about how amazing Eva is as a ballerina. Henry on the other hand, it’s her father, Mark. He hardly gives Henry a break from tennis, and has total control of what she does. But this summer is a little different because Eva goes to a prestigious dance school is New York City and Henry goes to Chadwick Academy in Florida for tennis. At dance school, the teacher who is mea ...more
Joana Hill
Jun 20, 2013 Joana Hill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read more reviews at my blog, Words and Tea Bottles.

Well, it seems Maria Padian had a bad case of bad book summary with this one. The one on the back is actually an excerpt from the book, and out-of-context at that. It makes it seem like the entire thing is just about them living in New Jersey and surviving it, when it’s actually about two friends who get into summer programs for their respective interests. One learns that competitive sports should be about the game, not psyching your opponent o
Good Golly Miss Holly
Besides the best efforts of the cover to deter me from this book, I actually really enjoyed Jersey Tomatoes, it may have not been hilarious as described in the summary but it definitely has me more than interested in the world of tennis and those who devote their lives to the sport.

Maria Padian's second stab at YA takes us into the lives of Henry and Eva who have been best friends for years and are both attending intensive sports camps for the summer, in tennis and ballet respectively. One happe
I wasn't expecting much from this book and maybe that's why I liked it so much. Two girls from New Jersey are best friends and obsessive athletes -- one a ballerina and the other a tennis player. This gives us a glimpse into the world of intense training and competition to become a world class athlete. Opportunity knocks for both of them when Henry, the tennis champ, gets a scholarship to attend an exclusive tennis camp in Florida and Eva, the graceful ballerina, auditions and is accepted into a ...more
Jul 30, 2012 Arianna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-fiction
Jersey Tomatoes Are the Best, by Maria Padian, is a feel-good novel about two best friends who are going their separate ways for the summer. Eva is going to a ballet summer program in New York City, while Henry (short for Henriette) is off to a prestigious tennis camp in Florida. It’s the first time both girls have been apart for an extended period of time. While Jersey Tomatoes is a lighter read, it does deal with some serious issues. Each girl has an overbearing parent who seems to want nothin ...more
Sep 06, 2013 Kim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
SO SO GOOD! Like a breath of fresh air - teen girls with goals, friends who love each other enough NOT to compete with each other. Girls whose huge differences just make them more interesting and unique to one another.
Both girls are hugely talented in very different ways - one is on her way to becoming a prima ballerina, the other a statuesque jock - a hard ass tennis queen. Their first summer apart, moving in the directions of future goals - turns out to be a summer of learning more about them
Christy Luis
Jul 05, 2012 Christy Luis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sporty girls? I suggest you own this book. You can "own" a library book if you borrow it and read it and love it and spread the love. And then return it, please. :)
So, the contents of This Wonderful Book:
Funny, but also tough. Sexy, but also sweet--And always, always real. These are real girls doing what they love. It's hard not to get into that.
Read this book to learn how to tell a great story. I have aboslutely no complaints. I can almost never say that about a book.
Of course, I have this
Kimberly Neff
Aug 25, 2016 Kimberly Neff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: el-230
This book would do really well for having in a middle school classroom. It is about two best friends who are separated to chase their own aspirations. One of the girls falls to the pressure surrounding her and begins to suffer from a terrible disease. This book does a very good job of dealing with a very sensitive subject for many people. With all the pressures on middle school age children, this book would be very relatable for many children entering into adolescence.
Nov 20, 2010 Serena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very good book on friendship- giving The Sisterhood a run for it's money. However the book was not coming of age, and it definetely was not corny. At the same time the high-pressure worlds of Eva and Henry are becoming increasingly common today, so it isn't hard to relate to these characters at all.

Eva's storyline was darker and more fleshed out then Henry's, probably because the author had more riding on her if she didn't do it right. While I enjoyed Henry's storyline, it was written a little
Vicki Jaeger
Jul 18, 2012 Vicki Jaeger rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: junior high girls
Recommended to Vicki by: advance reading copy
A coming of age book that covered some good points. Best friends at the top of their chosen sports: tennis and ballet. The tennis star learns how to win fairly, without resorting to head games, name calling or nastiness. (A challenge when your father is a pro at it and encourages bad behavior.) The ballerina ends up with anorexia--I know, a subject that has been covered many times--but the author's treatment of it has a different take. She actually puts you inside the ballerina's head, where you ...more
Jun 29, 2016 SraPanadera rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the best books about friendships between girls I have read. The sports bit is good, if a bit unrealistic (both girls are at the top tier of their respective sports). The parents are infuriating, but (unfortunately) fairly realistic. Overall, entertaining with a good message.
Jul 26, 2012 Erin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
With an awesome title like this, I had high hopes for this book...however, what I got was some stereotypes (bennies say joisey, not people from new jersey!) and a book that was probably not well suited for today's times. While I did enjoy the story of gorgeous tennis star Henry with her intense game, budding relationship and introduction to Cuban culture, Eva was a stereotype from the past..the anorexic ballet dancer who refuses to eat because even at 70 pounds she thinks she's fat. It's 2012... ...more
Teo Qi
Dec 24, 2014 Teo Qi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book strongly portrayed what real friendship is regardless of distance. I like Henry's hardworking role as a tennis player, and her committed friendship with her best friend, Eva, who is an anorexic ballet dancer. Well done! Inspirational read.
Compelling story of two BFF's from joisey. Henry (short for Henriette, which she hates) is an avid tennis player, who wins tournaments with her trash-talking (and psycho dad coach), and Eva is a ballerina who has both anorexia and a helicopter mom. Could have been trite, but the back and forth chapters between the two girls are fitting and fresh. The anorexia part felt a little over-done to me, but it fit well enough with the whole that it didn't stop me from wanting to read more, and I suppose ...more
Cindy Dyson Eitelman
Apr 26, 2015 Cindy Dyson Eitelman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Good title for one of the better teen books I've read in a while. A lot of unresolved emotions and conflicts that never came to a confrontation--like real life. Some of them did. Sort of. Can't be more specific without giving it away.
Remarkably sane depiction of teens on the verge of sex. But again, can't be more specific.

So what can I say about it, other than to recommended it? Great story of a girl who lives and breathes competitive tennis and has a father who lives and breathes her competitiv
Susan  Person
Aug 08, 2011 Susan Person rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-fiction
I really liked this one! Odd title - but once you've read the book it makes more sense. Eva (a ballerina) and Henry (a tennis player) are both stars in their respective sports. Best friends, they are each others major supporters too. Then the summer they are 15 and 16, Eva is accepted into a prestigious ballet program and Henry to a fancy tennis academy. Apart for the first time they can remember, they call and text and e-mail, but it's not enough to prevent Eva from dieting down to a point wher ...more
Stephanie A.
"Jersey tomatoes are the best," huh? Well, if "tomatoes" is a metaphor for "main characters," then no - apparently, they're actually the worst. Eva's anorexia was disappointingly non-triggering and her attitude was so stupid I just wanted to open her mouth and shove sugary food down her throat, while Henry was sufficiently irritating that her romance just came across like a bland page-filler. This sounds like a 2-star review, but it's getting 3 because at least it was still fairly well written. ...more
Gwenyth Fisk
I liked this book. It was two very different stories in one. I didn't like how separated the friends were in this book, because nothing was happening between their friendship, just their own lives completely separate.In the end, the stories were perfectly combined together. And the ending was magnificent.
Kim Sheibley
Jul 01, 2016 Kim Sheibley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great book about anorexia - how it affects both the victim and friends/family. I really liked how "Ed" was used.
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I'm a reader and an author: not a critic or a reviewer! I believe in the power of stories. So while I definitely have my opinions about the things I read, my primary goal is to share great books and promote literature, which is one of my great, abiding passions.

That said, I'm no longer going to affix stars to the books I read. I'll offer a comment or two, and maybe if I'm deliriously in love and
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