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Ellen Wittlinger
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3.68  ·  Rating Details ·  638 Ratings  ·  67 Reviews

Robin can't believe it when her boyfriend, Chris, tells her that his parents have enrolled him in a summer program in Rome. It's their last summer together before he goes away to college, and now they won't even have that time together. It feels like the worst thing that's ever happened to her.

Since Chris is leaving, Robin agrees to join her aunt and cousins on a cross-cou

Library Binding, 264 pages
Published December 5th 2008 by Baker & Taylor, CATS (first published August 1st 2003)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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May 07, 2008 Lara rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2-stars
Blah - too much teenage angst
Koori no hi
Well, this book was not what I expected it to be. It started out with a winy girl complaining about her boyfriend going away, and I considered stopping there, but I'm glad I kept going.
Robin really grows up in this book and her cousins are horrible to her, but you can see them growing up by the end as well. I liked how this book ended as well. Lots of stories end abruptly or just get cut off in a too be continued kind of way. But in Zig-Zag, it ended well.
The reason I only gave this book 3 star
Oct 20, 2015 Caitlyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book this is now me of my favourite books. I would like to read more books by this author. :)
Katie G
This is a hard book to review because the parts that made it most annoying were also the parts that made it most realistic. When we first meet Robin, she's devastated that her boyfriend Chris is about to go away to college, and she's even more upset when she finds out he's going to Rome for the summer, ruining their plans to spend their last summer together. She's constantly whining and crying and being mad at him. I wanted to hate her for being so selfish (and I sort of did), but I also underst ...more
Emily G
Oct 22, 2016 Emily G rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When Robins boyfriends leaves on his summer program, she is left with nothing to do over the summer. That's when she finds out her aunt and annoying cousins are going on a cross-country road trip and she is invited. She spends days after days in the car and finally gets to like them. The go from state to state and all of a sudden something happened. You will have to read this book to find out what happened.
The main character of the book Zig Zag is Robin. The setting is always changing but mostly
Robin has just graduated from high school and hopes to spend the summer with her boyfriend before he leaves for college, that is, until Robin finds out he has to go on a summer program to Rome. Not wanting to spend the summer alone, Robin agrees to join her aunt and cousins on a road trip across the country. I enjoyed reading this book because of its vivid descriptions of many places in the West coast I have never traveled to. Robin's journey has made her more aware of the world, her family and ...more
May 27, 2017 Sean rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Entertaining. It was nice to learn about some neat places to visit on a trip, and it was refreshing to see this teenage girl stop obsessing over herself and reach out to help her cousins who were in bad shape, even love them despite their social problems.
Brianna Crucitti
Nov 03, 2015 Brianna Crucitti rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Zig Zag" Your Way Into This Adventurous Book!

The book Zig Zag by Ellen Wittlinger is a book that has a more relaxing plot. The book is laid back in the sense that not much action happens throughout the story, yet the events that take place and the characters within the novel are easy to relate to. It's a story about a girl, Robin, who is not the most privileged, and her boyfriend, Chris, who seems to live in a utopia. His parents have high paying jobs, he’s soon to be attending a “high standar
Feb 24, 2017 Robin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful coming of age story. Maybe everyone needs a road trip.
Oct 30, 2015 Joshua rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story is about a couple named Chris and Robin. Chris’s parents have put Chris into a program/college in Rome. This is Robin and Chris’s last time seeing each other before Chris has to leave at the end of the summer. Chris does not tell Robin until the last few days of summer. Robin is heartbroken. She agrees to go on a road trip with Chris’s aunt and cousins. Even though Robin is still very sad she try’s to act nice while they are on the trip together. As all of them are together exploring ...more
Apr 10, 2012 Ana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012-books

One of my favorite things in this book was that they traveled through what I will call as "the empty states." I don't mean this in a bad way, but because as a non-US person, I barely hear about these states. These are: Iowa, Minnesota, Wyoming, northern Texas, and a few more. The book showed me the kind of people that live there as well as where they are in the US map. (I'll admit I know about half of the states' locations. A lot look similar, okay?) I like road trips, so at least half of t
Feb 23, 2012 Aika rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An all expense paid road trip across the United States with your aunt and two cousins, how fun.Robin is taking this journey over the summer to stop thinking about her boyfriend. Chris is spending his last summer with her in Europe, Rome to be exact. He's going to college next year and she is left to fend for herself as a senior in high school without him. Zigzagging across the country with her two younger and annoying cousins should keep her mind off of him for the time being. Even though she ha ...more
Jillian Davis
"When people say they love you, you just have to decide to believe them, because you'll never know for sure." - Ellen Wittlinger (Zig Zag)
When Robin's boyfriend moves to Rome for the summer, she is left with nothing to do and is bored. He consumes her thoughts constantly until an opportunity comes around. Her aunt, Dory, asks Robin if she wants to go on a car trip from Iowa to California with her and her two spoiled children who just recently lost a father. Since Robin had nothing better to do
Aug 25, 2011 Johnp rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
Robin’s world is in a bit of turmoil. Her to-die-for boyfriend, Chris, is going away to college on the East Coast at the end of the summer and she’s “nothing” without him. Suddenly, their last summer together gets cut to just about zero, as Chris says Yes to an opportunity to go to Rome for the most of the summer. Reeling from that blow, Robin watches her single-mother’s attention get diverted to a new boyfriend! Alone and feeling sorry for herself, Robin agrees to a cross-country trip with her ...more
Oct 25, 2016 Nicholas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Zig Zag by Ellen Wittlinger is an inspiring book to read, it includes the very southern road trip type of feeling, as they are driving their old vehicle all as one family in a dusty decayed climate. The main character had found her friend named Chris in the City of Iowa, they both went to a southern restaurant by where they lived to just stop by and munch on a few foods they both were very hungry by then and needed something before they both hit the road. Mom was on the phone in the kitchen she ...more
Jun 01, 2010 Ariel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-2
Zig Zag is a story of a girl named Robin who has just finished her Junior year of high school. Her boyfriend, Chris, is going to Rome for the summer and then to college afterward. Robin is devastated that they won't be able to spend their last summer together. Then Robin's aunt invited her to go on a zig-zagging cross country road trip with her and her kids, which Robin reluctantly accepts. Along the road, Robin learns more about her crazy aunt and cousins who have lots of emotional issues due t ...more
Jan 22, 2010 Marie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mine, read-in-2012
Zig Zag has been sitting on my shelf for too long. I finally picked it up two days ago, expecting a nice little teenage story around a roadtrip. What I got was so much more. The story begins like your average love story where one part of the couple leaves for college. Seen before, read before, could easily turn into a stereotype-kind-of-thing. Only it didn't. I didn't actually like Robin much at the start but throughout the book, Wittlinger peels away layer upon layer of that whiny seventeen yea ...more
Madelyn Nelson
Mar 06, 2015 Madelyn Nelson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review of Zig-Zag by Ellen Wittlinger

This book has many twists and turns while it can be both happy and sad. This author makes the text very exciting and interesting while you also will be suspicious. Robin, Dory, Iris, and Marshall go on a great adventure to all.

Robin has a boyfriend who is leaving for college, and going away for the summer. This puts Robin in position to take a roadtrip with her aunt Dory and cousins Iris and Marshall. They drive to places like Minnesota, Wyoming, and New M
I really enjoyed Zigzag. I particularly liked how all of the main characters grow and change over the course of the book. I also liked Robin's changing relationship with her cousin as she grew up, too. Some parts were a little too angsty but I'll let it go. Robin needs to have some faults to be a realistic character.

Having been on a cross country trip I can definitely relate to the ups and downs of travelling and was pleased to recognize some of the places and experiences. I don't think it's po
This book seemed very true-to-life, and I found it an enjoyable, if not outstanding, read. The main character started out very immature and annoying at first (at least, to this 40-year-old reader), and I really didn't like her. But, she showed definite growth throughout the story, & wound up being a character I could identify with. The story dealt with some mature issues (death of a loved one, main character and her boyfriend are having sex, eating disorders) and there is some swearing, so I ...more
In this book, a girl goes on a trip with her aunt and two annoying cousins. At first she thinks her summer will be horrible because her boyfriend isn't with her, but during the trip she learns that it's good to meet new people and learn about new things. I find this book very interesting because a girl who used to stay at home finally goes out on an adventure that changes her life. I would've never guessed that one trip can change so many things about a person's point of view on the world. It e ...more
Sep 27, 2012 Ashley rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library, 2012, 2-stars
I'm going to be more precise and say 2.5 stars, because I kind of liked this book, even though I hated every character in it. Except maybe Robin's mom. But Robin's cousins were insufferable, psychotic little shits, and even Robin grated on my nerves, the way she'd try to be mature, just to get into a bickering match with Iris.

I did like the story though, I love the whole idea of a road trip. The dude ranch sounded like fun, and I loved their stay in New Mexico - oh, there was another character
Oct 21, 2008 TheSaint rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
For all her complaining about her boyfriend leaving her for the summer, Robin manages to suck it up for a cross country trip with her young cousins. Amazing how caring for somebody worse off than yourself can make a mature adult out of you. Actually, in Zig Zag, by Ellen Wittlinger, Robin's adventures at a dude ranch in Wyoming and with new friends in Santa Fe really aren't as bad as she expected. And because the trip didn't end up how anyone thought it would, she found that being flexible is a ...more
Mar 23, 2010 Nozomi rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't believe how unbelievably selfish (and stupid) Robin initially was. Chris, her boyfriend, is going to college abroad because it is a good opportunity and honestly, who wouldn't go? It has nothing to do with his parents hating her and "wanting them apart." Get ahold of yourself, Robin, and grow up.

And luckily, she does, when she goes on a road trip with her depressed aunt and her two cousins, one of which has serious anxiety issues and the other, a combination anorexia and bulimia. Robi
Jul 23, 2008 Gabi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wittlinger is awesome, as always.

Like a lot of her books, it has a sort of slow start, but once the main character leaves on the road trip with her cousins, the real action begins.

I meant to read this as I was driving from LA to Chicago, but never got around to it until 3 months later. I wish I had read it during my trip, as it just made me have wanderlust again. It's a great book for armchair traveling!
Jan 20, 2016 Inderpal rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anybody looking for a quick fix.
This book started out so good! And then suddenly it gets hit by repetition and continued whine of the typical teenager- wish it had stopped and changed, got so slow and stale midway. At the end I was left with,"So I waste this much time only for the character to find out that there's more to the world than her boyfriend alone?! I guess that's a big deal for a 16 year old but it's a total disappointment for an adult YA reader.. Or maybe the timing wasn't good.
Oct 12, 2008 Gina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who enjoy relaitonal stories
Recommended to Gina by: no one...I discovered it
I bought this book for a summer trip to California. part of the way was driving and I thought it would be fun to read a story that kind of went along with what i was doing.
Zig Zag gives a very interesting perspective on life and family. Relationships between parents, step-parents, aunts, cousins, significant partners, and random people create a plot that's twists at the end, creating a drama that I never anticipated.
Liz Chapman
A satisfying summer read. Characters I cared about, questions of identity and how to deal with things that seem to big to deal with. It addresses death, sex, sibling rivalry, parents re-marrying, and eating disorders, all without wrenching your heart out. This would be a good recommendation for reluctant youth readers. Feels honest and close to home, and doesn't perpetuate any of the myths about teen issues (IMO).
Apr 22, 2015 Margaret rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
It takes a talented author to make me feel some connection with a character who is completely pathetic. Wittlinger did just that. I didn't like Robin, but for some reason she stuck in my mind... As I continued to read, I understood. The writer makes you see the potential in the character that she doesn't yet see in herself, and forces you to think more of Robin than Robin's own opinion of herself. Not sure that I would read this one again, but it was memorable.
Robin sees how her aunt's family is falling apart after Allen's sudden accidental death and on the road trip she becomes the buffer and support for all of them. Personalities depicted expertly and realistically; you really feel the animosity of the kids. The evolving of the relationships and family dynamics is smoothly done. My only hangup with this novel is that the sexual relationship between Robin and Chris seemed forced, added on.
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Ellen Wittlinger is the critically acclaimed author of 15 young adult novels including Parrotfish, Heart on My Sleeve, Love & Lies: Marisol's Story, Razzle, What's in a Name, and Hard Love (an American Library Association Michael L. Printz Honor Book, a Lambda Literary Award winner, and a Booklist Editors' Choice). She has a bachelor's degree from Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois, and ...more
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“When people say they love you, you just have to decide to believe them, because you'll never know for sure.” 13 likes
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