Jersey Tomatoes are the Best
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Jersey Tomatoes are the Best

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  269 ratings  ·  66 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
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
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
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.-
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
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
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
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
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
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
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...more
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
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
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
Christy Luis
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...more
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 3 of 5 stars
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
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
Jun 05, 2011 elissa rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to elissa by:
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 P
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
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.
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
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.
The Library Lady
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
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
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
It's not always easy to find a sports novel that will appeal to girls, and this is a good one. I was thrilled to buy this one for my library, and look forward to recommending it. Whether the reader is looking for a sports book, or a book about real girls and solid friendship, this book fits the bill.

Full review at Reading Everywhere.
I almost abandoned this book, but I'm glad I stuck with it. At first I thought it was going to be about two spoiled girls, then the conflicts began. The girls' problems felt real and I ended up really wanting to know how the author was going to resolve them. I like the character's voices. The issues brought up in this book are relevant to my students, and I liked how the author dealt with them.
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