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Jersey Tomatoes are the Best

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3.75  ·  Rating Details ·  374 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
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published March 8th 2011 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
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Steph Su
Mar 08, 2011 Steph Su rated it liked it
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
...more
Deborah
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Anna
Jun 20, 2012 Anna rated it it was amazing
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.
http://annajboll.wordpres
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Lisa
May 11, 2011 Lisa rated it really liked it
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.-
Joana Hill
Jun 18, 2013 Joana Hill rated it really liked it
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
...more
P.E.
Aug 24, 2011 P.E. rated it really liked it
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
...more
Izzy
Nov 14, 2010 Izzy rated it it was amazing
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
Good Golly Miss Holly
Aug 18, 2010 Good Golly Miss Holly rated it really liked it
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
...more
Alexa
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
Monique
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
Arianna
Jul 30, 2012 Arianna rated it it was amazing
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
Kim
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
...more
Christaaay - Christy Luis Reviews
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
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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
J
Sep 24, 2011 J rated it really liked it
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
Clarissa
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
...more
Serena
Nov 20, 2010 Serena rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
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
...more
Vicki Jaeger
Jul 18, 2012 Vicki Jaeger rated it liked it
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
Erin
Jul 26, 2012 Erin rated it it was ok
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
Cindy Dyson Eitelman
Nov 13, 2013 Cindy Dyson Eitelman rated it really liked it
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
...more
elissa
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
Susan  Dunn
Jul 27, 2011 Susan Dunn rated it it was amazing
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
Emily
Jan 04, 2012 Emily rated it really liked it
This book was about two best friends who part ways for each of their summer camps. One girl goes to Florida for a tennis camp and becomes the best player there, moving into professional matches. The other goes to New York City to dance at Joffery over the summer and suffers from the danger of anorexia. She ends up in the hospital and isn't able to dance for a long time while she recovers in rehab. Both friends grow in a really big way and learn the dangers of becoming so serious in a sport. I le ...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 boring 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. I'm not sure how to reco ...more
Regan
Apr 26, 2015 Regan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: freaking-awesome
I was originally not going to read this. My friend and I have a tradition where we make care packages for each other at the end of every school year. The packages always include "cheesy books." Jersey Tomatoes Are the Best was the book my friend gave me. Unfortunately, it was not cheesy. Fortunately, it was wonderful.

I know what you're thinking. This is one of those unbearably cheesy books for preteens.

But it's not. Don't let the cover misguide you. This book was profound and very touching. It
...more
Sinistmer
I thought the difficulties--particularly Eva's eating disorder were well-played out. I also liked that Padian gave each girl problems; it really rounded out the book. I had a few complaints: 1) I felt the parents and the circumstances were a bit over-dramatic. 2) I did not care for Henry's love interest; it bothered me that their interest was purely based on physical appearance alone and that she was willing to try again romantically, even though it did not seem like they really clicked. Overall ...more
Peggy
Aug 26, 2011 Peggy rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
I got off to a slow start with this YA novel, but ended up liking it. The chapters alternate between Eva and Henry (a female) who are best friends. Both girls have big dreams. Eva wants to be a prima ballerina while Henry is a tennis jock. Each girl has an obnoxious parent. Henry's dad is a typical out-of-control sports nut who can't let his child play the game without interfering. Eva's mother is an over-the-top stage mother. Things come to a head for both girls during the summer they are sent ...more
The Library Lady
Jun 27, 2011 The Library Lady rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-books
Wanted to love this but somehow I can't. The writing's too uneven--at times I believed in the characters, at other times I just couldn't hear their voices. Henry's father and Eva's mother are especially less than believable--their 11th hour metamorphoses from dysfunctional control freaks to supportive parents just don't ring true.
I am giving this the third star for one brief paragraph where Eva describes what it is like to dance and to have a sudden moment where it all comes together in your hea
...more
Katie
Jan 22, 2017 Katie rated it really liked it
Tennis player Henry and ballerina Eva are two best friends from New Jersey who end up spending the summer at competitive camps. Henry quickly rises in the tennis ranks at her Florida camp. At first Eva excels at her prestigious ballet program in New York before her eating disorder catches up to her in devastating ways. Both girls struggle to find independence from their overbearing parents and to find joy in their respective fields. Henry and Eva both come to realize how important their friendsh ...more
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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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