Laura's Reviews > When Life Gives You O.J.

When Life Gives You O.J. by Erica S. Perl
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's review
Jul 06, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: 2011, middle-grade
Read in August, 2011

Zelly Fried moves from Brooklyn to Vermont with her family to support her aging grandfather. More than anything, Zelly wants a dog. Her grandfather, Ace, convinces her to use an orange juice bottle as a practice dog. The rest of the novel tells how Zelly makes friends, adjusts to life in Vermont, and builds a relationship with her sometimes difficult grandfather.

This middle grade novel reminded me very much of the Kate Messner's The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z. Both novels include strong girls who are trying to find their place in a their family. I think that When Life Gives You O.J. is a bit stronger -- Zelly is a more stable character and the plot is more organized and easier to follow. I recommend both novels to girls in grades 4 - 7 (depending on reading ability) who are focused on family and friends rather than boys and dating.

I also really liked that Zelly and her family are Jewish. When I was growing up, I didn't really know any Jewish kids. Perl describes Zelly's modern Jewish life in a way that both Jewish and non-Jewish readers can relate to.
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