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The Life and Opinions of Amy Finawitz

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  100 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews

Told in wry emails and brilliant little one-act plays, this laugh-out-loud debut novel offers quirky characters, a whimsical tour around New York City, and an appealing story about what it means to be a good friend.

Hardcover, 352 pages
Published August 3rd 2010 by Roaring Brook Press
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Jul 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Very, very funny and insightful look into what it means to be young and discovering yourself and the world.
Fierce Reads
hysterical! everyone will find a little bit of Amy in themselves as they get a front row seat to her antics, adventures, and attempts to keep busy in the absence of her best friend.
Dec 31, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2011
If you are looking for a fun read, peppered with the sarcasm and wit of an 8th grader, give The Life and Opinions of Amy Finawitz a try.

Amy starts the book being quite self-centered. Everything is all about her. The story is told in the form of emails Amy sends to her friend who has moved away, abandoning Amy in NYC with no friends or social life. I enjoyed Amy's snarky comments and humor as she communicates the woes of her life to her friend. Through the course of the 4 months this book covers
Jul 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Wow! This is one of my favorite books! Being around the age of the main character, I really related to some of the things she was going through. I also found the voice to be hilarious, and it had me chuckling outloud. And to top it all off, there was a sweet message in it as well as a cool discovery at the end.
Jul 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! Not only is Amy hilarious, but she is perfect combination of what makes YA fiction so appealing to teenage girls. Amy is neither a Damsel in Distress or a Kick Ass girl. Instead she is wonderfully recognizable as an ordinary kid who could easier be one of her readers peers: the thirteen year old in me wanted to be friends with Amy and also to be her.

It doesn't hurt that the email/play structure is clever without being gimmicky, that the story is compelling or that every other
Jul 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
This very enjoyable book is aimed at ten to thirteen year olds, and that is a very accurate representation of who this book would appeal to the most. It is written as a series of e-mails and one-act plays exchanged between eighth grade friends who are dealing with being apart for a year, although you are only privy to the main character, Amy's, side of the conversation. The issues that are dealt with, such as social cliques, fitting in, friendships, selfishness, acceptance, and loyalty, and the ...more
Laina SpareTime
Mar 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Cross-posted from my blog where there's more information on where I got my copy and a whole bunch of links and everything.

For the most part, this is a cute story with an interesting format. It had a couple of issues I'll address, but it's mostly sweet and funny. I'll admit it took me a couple chapters to remember that email existed and Amy was getting replies we didn't get to read from Callie in a short time, not sending things through the mail. This was despite the time and date stamps. This is
Jul 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
There are no wizards, demi-gods, vampires, werewolves, fairies, zombies, or any other supernatural entities in The Life and Opinions of Amy Finawitz by Laura Toffler-Corrie. Instead there are two middle-school girls who like email, a former librarian senior citizen, a conservative Jewish boy, a nerdish jock, and several normal characters with normal abilities, normal faults, and normal lives. Yet this is an exceptional book.

For starters, here's the cast of characters. Besides Amy and Callie, two
Jul 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads, ya
Please note: I received an ARC of this book through the First Reads program. The book itself comes out in August.

Amy Finawitz, an eighth grade New Yorker, is devastated when her best friend Callie moves to Kansas for a year. Who will be her friend while Callie's away? Surely not the knitting (or is it crochet) obsessed Judy or dorky Claire? But when her social studies teacher assigns each student the diary of an immigrant and tells them to put themselves into their shoes, Callie becomes fascinat
Jul 14, 2010 rated it it was ok
A First Read from an advance reader's edition which I received for free. Where or where was the editor who could have shared his/her wisdom to help turn this book into a truly terrific one for this age group. It reminded me of the old adage "Too many cooks, spoil the broth" and in this case too many scenarios that have this wandering all over the place. I liked the authenticity of Amy being assigned a terrific immigration project as most schools cover immigration in detail in the eighth grade. S ...more
Rachel Star
Feb 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2011
Amy Finawitz's life isn't exactly looking up right now. Her best friend Callie has just moved to Kansas for the rest of the year, leaving Amy stuck in New York with a social life that consists of avoiding people more than actually going out. Worse, her brother has dropped out of college to "follow his inner chi", her parents are driving her crazy and her teacher thinks she feels like a little abandoned emu. But when Amy finds a Callie-Replacement, an elderly neighbour and her religious nephew, t ...more
Reading Vacation
Mar 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing

My fortune cookies say…

Change can be a good thing.

Amy starts off being very self-centered. I really didn’t care much for the all-about-me attitude that she had early in the story. Since Amy’s best friend, Callie, moves away, Amy finds herself being open to making new friends and putting herself out there. Even though she wasn’t thrilled about it at first, Amy realized that the world does not revolve around her life in New York.

One-sided emails can be confusing.

This entire book is presented
Ms. Yingling
Jan 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
Amy is having a difficult year because her best friend Callie is spending it away from their New York City home living in Kansas with an aunt and uncle. Amy has a crush on John, but is irritated to the extreme with her remaining friends. She finds an unusual ally in Miss Sophia, a neighbor who was a librarian for 30 years and is now interested in helping Amy with a school project involving the diary of an immigrant girl. Miss Sophia also brings along her nephew, Beryl, who is from a Hasidic fami ...more
Jul 07, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book! Not only is Amy hilarious, but she is perfect combination of what makes YA fiction so appealing to teenage girls. Amy is neither a Damsel in Distress or a Kick Ass girl. Instead she is wonderfully recognizable as an ordinary kid who could easier be one of her readers peers: the thirteen year old in me wanted to be friends with Amy and also to be her.

It doesn't hurt that the email/play structure is clever without being gimmicky, that the story is compelling or that ...more I l
This was a First Reads win. It was a cute, fun read. Told through Amy's e-mails to her friend Callie who is spending the year in Kansas. At times the e-mails got rather lengthy and it felt like the author just threw in a greeting and a goodbye to continue the conciet. There was interesting info about Judaism, but I think the author missed an oppurtunity to teach the reader even more. I think a glossery ala Georgia Nicholson would have been helpful for the reader who didn't know some of the Jewis ...more
Jul 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: jf-ya
I won this through First reads. 3 1/2 stars. The main issue I had with this book was the format. The writing style did not really seem consistent with the voice of a young teen writing to a friend. BUT I was invested in the story and the characters. I found Amy to be self-absorbed but still likeable. I liked very much that she learned to see people beyong the initial impressions and preconceptions of who they are.

Most importantly, I can think of at least a half-dozen girls I would recommend thi
Jul 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I won this book from a give-away. It is one of my secret joys to read young adult books from time to time. They are fun and lighthearted. This book was no exception.

Amy's best friend moves away for the year and this is the story of how Amy deals with that. It's written in a long series of emails, which could have been annoying but wasn't.
Amy befriends a series of oddball characters through her need to complete a homework assignment and their strangeness combined with Amy's sarcasm and wit make
Marjorie Ingall
Nov 30, 2010 rated it liked it
So I enjoyed the humor and the quirk and the NYC setting and the fact that THANK GOD this is a contemporary story (how many middle-grade and teen Holocaust novels have I read at this point? YAY AMY FINAWITZ FOR BEING A FUNNY, NON-HORRIFIC CHANGE OF PACE) and the use of an immigration curriculum to teach the somewhat narcissistic Amy a little personal growth. The fact that the protagonist is frequently unpleasant rings really true — hello, realistic tween! Alas, the epistolary format didn’t entir ...more
She is an asshole.

Amy, I mean. She is inconsiderate and doesn't even care what Callie has to say. That isn't what its like to be young. That is selfishness. Very selfish. Like, "Amy is so selfish she likes to sell fish, shell fish and star fish at the seashore."

She is also prejudiced. She thinks Beryl lives on a completely different planet because he is just religious.

I repeat: What an ass.

She also has anger issues. One of Beryl's siblings was teasing her aboit dating Beryl when she wasn't, she
Mar 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book is about Amy Finawitz who writes to her friend daily about her school. One day she recives a project from school. It is is an immergrant journal! With this project she will have to tour around the city discovering things that the person also discovered. But she is not alone. She forms a "dream team" , which is made up of an old librarian and a super religious kid.
This book is written in email from, and is funny and entertaining. I love the charachers personality, she is sarcastic and
Jul 07, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads, 2010
I won this book on firstreads. I can usually tell when I'm not interested in a book when I'm feeling anxious and keep checking how many pages I have left. That was the case with this book. Although it was a quick read, I had to make myself go back to it. The email format of the book did nothing for me other than make me nostalgic about the days of penpals. I didn't feel connected with the charachters. However, I did like the plot around solving the mystery.
Jul 07, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
A goodreads first reads win! I read the ARC so there were a few things that will probably be fixed with editing.
A fun read. I loved the last 20 or so pages- totally had me laughing. This book captures the awkwardness that is 8th grade. I couldn't really relate to Amy just because she was such a pessimist. Loved the "dream team." Unique writing- it was all written in letter (or rather e-mail) format.
Jul 14, 2010 rated it it was ok
I won this book on First Reads.
OK, so admittedly, this book was written for tween girls, but it didn't strike a chord with me. I have read countless good children's novels, and this was not one of them. I found Amy, the main character, very annoying. I didn't feel that there was a lot of personal growth throughout the course of the book.
I will give the book to my 12 year old daughter and see what she thinks- I have a feeling she will like it much more than I did.
Mandy McHenry
Sep 29, 2010 rated it it was ok
I thought the cover was super cute and promising. I was a little put out by the fact that the book is written for 10-13 year olds (according to the back of the book), when it's full of swear words. I didn't speak that way when I was in middle school (or even now, as an adult for that matter) so why is it in this preteen book? The main character is such a pessimist, too. Won't read this again.
Oct 21, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya
Very cute book, in a New York Jewish way. It's composed of Amy Finawitz's e-mails and little one-act skits that she writes. Amy Finawitz is quite self-centered during her distress for most of the book, which is probably realistic but annoying to read. It's probably necessary to make the payoff worthwhile.

Told in emails, this is Amy's eighth grade year. Callie has abandoned Amy and moved to Kansas- yes, it is All About Amy who is snarky, smart, and a little afraid to face the world without Callie at her side.
This is the year that Amy finds out there is life after Callie.
Ultimately a fun read about a very sassy girl.
Sandra McLeod
The whole time I was reading this book, I kept seeing it as a movie. The characters are memorable, the storyline is wonderful, and I loved the historical thread throughout the book. I will remember the unique and memorable members of the "dream team" for a very long time. A most enjoyable read!
Jul 06, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
I liked the premise and it is a quick fun read, but felt like the character development was lacking a bit and a hard time caring much about the characters. I did the like the style the author used, telling the story through emails.
Jul 01, 2010 rated it it was ok
This one had potential, but the voice did nothing for me. The e-mail format was a bit annoying--Amy had to repeat everything Callie said to her so we'd know what she was responding to. Not a bad effort, but definitely needs some clean-up.
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