How to Ruin a Summer Vacation by Simone Elkeles

Synopsis from Goodreads: Moshav? What’s a moshav? Is it “shopping mall” in Hebrew? I mean, from what Jessica was telling me, Israeli stores have the latest fashions from Europe. That black dress Jessica has is really awesome. I know I’d be selling out if I go with the Sperm Donor to a mall, but I keep thinking about all the great stuff I could bring back home. 

How to Ruin a Summer Vacation (How to Ruin, #1)Unfortunately for 16-year-old Amy Nelson, “moshav” is not Hebrew for “shopping mall.” Not even close. Think goats, not Gucci. 
Going to Israel with her estranged Israeli father is the last thing Amy wants to do this summer. She’s got a serious grudge against her dad, a.k.a. “Sperm Donor,” for showing up so rarely in her life. Now he’s dragging her to a war zone to meet a family she’s never known, where she’ll probably be drafted into the army. At the very least, she’ll be stuck in a house with no AC and only one bathroom for seven people all summer—no best friend, no boyfriend, no shopping, no cell phone… 
Goodbye pride—hello Israel.

Number of pages: 234
My review: This book had it all. It was a light fluffy read (perfect for the summer, obviously) funny dialogue, and a cute little romance spun throughout the whole tale. Amy was the typical spoiled brat, who felt that because her father was never around when she was a child, gave her the right to backlash everything he said/did (which, okay, maybe it does give her the right. That’s a subjective topic).
Anyways! Moving on! Amy really is a sweet girl deep down, and at this point in her life, portrayed through the book, she is going through a lot. And some of her lines are really hilarious! She’s not always deep and thoughtful like some of the characters in Simone Elkeles’ other novels but Amy’s personality is unlike anyone else I guess! She brings a breath of fresh air to the novel and brings out the best (and worst) in everyone so that you can see all the characters true personalities. Amy also doesn’t feel fake or forced so it’s nice to be able to relate to a strong female character.
The male protagonist, Avi, is a little forgettable (I had to go look up his name in a few Goodreads reviews). He’s a typical male guy in a YA novel; hot, muscular, foreign(?), takes his shirt off a lot, and, in my mind, utterly impossible and he would never glance at us mortal women. Let alone Amy, who let’s face it, is a little annoying. But we all have to have something to strive for right? Something to lust after?
The story line was pretty light and fluffy. Like cotton candy, too much of it will make you sick. Don’t get me wrong I really, really liked this book but I thought the plot was just a little predictable. There was some instances where there were amounts of action (rafting anyone?) but the rest of it was just a little bland. It was kinda like the Rachel Hawthorne novels that I’ve read, where no one is super deep, and the plot is good, just a you kinda feel like something more would happen.
Needless to say I liked the book and will finish the rest of the series, but this series is definitely not as good as Simone Elkeles’ other novels like the Perfect Chemistry series or the Leaving Paradise duo-logy. Also, I think the covers are SUPER tacky!
See you soon!

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