Thursday, November 3, 2011

Snack Size #19 Simone Elkeles 'Ruined'

Just before I went on holidays last month, I finished reading Simone Elkeles Perfect Chemistry trilogy. I really enjoyed them and thought that Simone's Ruined series would be a fun holiday read. Here are my mini reviews of these titles (at a teeny 100 words each).

How to Ruin a Summer Vacation
Published by FLUX, November 2006
240 pages

When Amy Nelson is forced to give up tennis camp for a summer in Israel with her distant father, she is not impressed. Even less so when she realises she’ll be living on a moshav, in the middle of ‘the desert” with her catty cousin and bunch of sheep. Farmboy Avi is a suitably charming love interest and overall it’s a fun read. Elkeles has written an interesting look at Israeli culture and Judaism from Western perspective, though I would, however, have liked Amy to get an attitude-check sooner (and to not mention the size of her buxom chest every ten minutes – seriously).




How to Ruin My Teenage Life
Published by FLUX, November 2007
240 pages

Amy is back in Chicago and unsurprisingly, the drama she attracted from Israel has followed her home. When she’s not signing her dad up for online dating (without his consent), pashing her weird/geeky neighbour in the elevator or accidently letting her new dog impregnate a pedigree prize winner, she’s contemplating her long-distance relationship with non-boyfriend, Avi. And then, of course, he shows up unannounced. Of the three books, I felt this was the weakest, as I feel like the strength of the series is the Israel setting and Amy’s connection to her newly discovered religion and this is a bit more light-hearted.



How to Ruin Your Boyfriend's Reputation
Published by FLUX, November 2009
257 pages

Amy Nelson-Barak is back again in the third (and final) instalment in the Ruined series. This time she’s spending her summer in an Israeli bootcamp, picturing a romantic reunion with boyfriend Avi and a week of fun with her friends. Of course, Amy is wrong! Once again Amy manages to get herself into some sticky situations as she navigates rope-courses and rifle training. I loved getting a glimpse of the realities of daily life for Israeli soldiers (where military training and service is mandatory).Upon finishing this, I felt like there was still a sense of things being unresolved and would have liked more closure.

Overall this series is a lot more light-hearted (and in my opinion, less-polished) than Elkele's better known Perfect Chemistry trilogy.

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