Ruined by Simone Elkeles
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
After finishing Chain Reaction, I decided to dust off Simone Elkeles's first series which I already had but never got a chance to read. After finishing all three books (How to Ruin a Summer Vacation, How to Ruin My Teenage Life, and How to Ruin Your Boyfriend's Reputation), I've decided this particular author has improved leaps and bounds over the years. Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy these books, but they were clearly written by a less experienced author. The best way I can put it is this: it was a bit more immature story, written in a more immature style, and definitely with a more immature main character. I had several moments where I just cringed at a particular word choice or at something the main character said or did. Then again, I do have to remember that teenagers have cringe-worthy moments on a daily basis. So maybe it would be accurate to say that the characters were true to life, warts and all.
The series is basically about a spoiled American teenage girl named Amy who goes on vacation to Israel with her estranged father. They start to improve their father-daughter relationship and Amy learns more about the Jewish side of her family she never knew. Of course, she also falls for a hot Israeli guy and the story goes from there.
If you have not read and enjoyed Simone's other series (Perfect Chemistry and Leaving Paradise), I really don't think this series would be the best (or most fair) introduction to this author. If you have not read anything by her previously, start with her newer books first. Then, if you liked them as much as I did, go ahead and give these a try. If you are looking for a recommendation for younger readers (ones who belong to the actual target age range of the series, 12 & up), I'd say go ahead. Pre-teens and younger teens would probably enjoy these books very much.