It's books like this that give YA a bad reputation.
When I first started HtRaSV, I thought I would absolutely love it. The voice of the main character,...moreIt's books like this that give YA a bad reputation.
When I first started HtRaSV, I thought I would absolutely love it. The voice of the main character, Amy, came across as so realistic, and the premise was unique. 16-year-old Amy must spend the summer in Israel with her father who hopes to improve their relationship. Amy was a typical bratty teen, but I could understand her bad attitude based on the surprise turn her summer had taken.
However, the middle of the book became a giant slog. Amy's bratty behaviour didn't get any better, and she came off as a spoiled flakey idiot. For example, Amy and some other kids are at a dance club and some guy tries to stick his tongue in Amy's ear. Some shenanigans ensue, and Amy asks one of her guy friends "Do you have a Qtip?" Okay, not only would this Israeli guy have no idea of what a "Qtip" is since that's a name brand, but WTF would make her think he would be carrying around freakin' Qtips? So stupid. Or the fact that Amy knows that her father used to be a commando in the Israeli Defense Forces but later she doesn't know what IDF stands for even though the character had just said "In two months I will be leaving for my military service."
Not to mention how unbelievably spoiled and entitled this girl is. Like when the group goes camping, and Amy forgets her sleeping bag. They are going CAMPING and she doesn't bring a sleeping bag? So she just bullies one of the guys into sharing, and when there isn't enough room for two in a tiny sleeping bag, she pretends to snore so loudly that the guy finally gets up and leaves so she can have the whole bag to herself. What a first class jerk!
Or how about how Amy treats her father? She calls him the Sperm Donor because he's never had a relationship with her, seeing her only once a year on her birthday. Even after he explains that he wanted so much more of a relationship - even remaining in the US rather than return to his home in Israel - but Amy's bitch of a mother would never let that happen. Rather than try to understand what he'd been through, Amy just tells him what a disappointment he's been.
I just never could like her.
Some of the scenes are, frankly, ridiculous. Amy's cousin Osnat challenges Amy to a sheep shearing contest when Amy acts all superior. Shearing sheep is insanely difficult and requires a lot of practice and skill to keep from hurting the sheep, not to mention to keep from wasting the very valuable wool. Amy has never so much as touched a sheep, yet they actually go through with this. Come on. Really?
The romance is very forced and happens like a light switching on. Sorry, Avi, you are far too good for this American princess.
It felt almost as if the entire middle half of the book hadn't been edited at all. The dialogue was all over the place and inconsistencies are rampant.
Plus, Simone Elkeles, if you are reading this, those were NOT kayaks - they were CANOES! Huge difference. You can't move around in a kayak, so if you want them to be riding in real kayaks, stop having Amy move around!
The last quarter of the book got marginally better, as Avi is showing Amy some of the more interesting sides of life in Israel. Too, I liked that the book didn't shy away from the perceptions that all sides have of the events and players of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Or the fact that at age 18, Israeli kids must serve time in the Israeli army. I wish the book had taken itself more seriously and focused on that.
What a disappointment. Something that started out fantastic got so, so bad. The single star is for the fact that I finished it and there were parts that did make me laugh. "DooDoo, O'Dead and Moron".(less)