by Meredith Zeitlin
High school sophomore Zona Lowell has lived in New York City her whole life, and plans to follow in the footsteps of her renowned-journalist father. But when he announces they’re moving to Athens for six months so he can work on an important new story, she's devastated— he must have an ulterior motive. See, when Zona's mother married an American, her huge Greek family cut off contact. But Zona never knew her mom, and now she’s supposed to uproot her entire life and meet possibly hostile relatives on their turf? Thanks... but no thanks. (Description from Goodreads.com)
This was a fun book to read. Perfect to get in the mood for Summer days...in fact, I may check out Zeitlin's other book , Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters while I'm on vacation this summer in San Francisco. Her writing seems like it makes for the perfect kind of book to take on a plane.
I loved that in this book Zona felt like an authentic teen - the kind that I was - driven to succeed in school, happy with her few close friends, and comfortable in her own skin...until suddenly she wasn't at all. I can absolutely remember going through similar self-identity crises! Though I never had that exact scenario, having to meet an entirely heretofore unknown portion of family, I can remember for one reason or another having to learn on the fly to make new friends, and never really being comfortable doing it.
In fact, one of the things I liked most about this novel, was though it was a quick read and one that I would loosely term a "light beach read," in fact, it wasn't really that light at all. Zona deals with some pretty heavy family issues. She has to navigate not only a new country, essentially alone, but a new school - one where she doesn't know anyone! She learns to make new friends and hang on to the old ones. She learns that sometimes the right decision in life is the uncomfortable one.
This book made me laugh and it made me tear up. It ran the gamut of emotions in the perfect way that a summertime book can. I definitely would recommend this one to someone looking for a little bit of romance, a little bit of fun, some great scenery, but with a real focus on personal and family growth.
Full Disclosure: eARC received through Netgalley