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.
In the vein of Anna and the French Kiss, Zona navigates a series of hilarious escapades, eye-opening revelations, and unexpected reunions in a foreign country—all while documenting the trip through one-of-a-kind commentary.
This book was entirely middle-of-the-road to me so I could end the review right there and be fine with it. But I won’t. You’re welcome.
The writing wasn’t stellar but I wanted to keep reading. So that’s something. It did take me a few chapters to get into the story, though, mostly because it kind of started in the middle of the story then jumped back to the beginning. Zona, the protagonist, had this fun little habit of writing articles about her life which were placed throughout the book. I loved the idea of this. But the articles pulled me out of the story. I would have liked them much better had they been at the end or beginning of each chapter instead of randomly placed throughout. There was no transition, really, so it felt very abrupt.
The story follows Zona as she and her father move from New York to Greece for 6 months so that Zona’s father can write a book and Zona can meet her deceased mother’s family. I liked the premise. All the Greek culture references and stories were very interesting and entertaining. Zona’s family was hilarious. I always appreciate an American’s view of other cultures because, well, I am an American who liked to learn about other cultures. There was a lot going on in this book: Moving to a new country, being the new kid in school (although the description of an American in a foreign private school didn’t match my knowledge of foreign private schools), romance, family issues, writing processes, friends with social issues, cultural differences and exploration. I loved that there was so much going on! The plot was very full. Well done there.
Ok, and there’s a giant heart on the cover, right? So I was expecting some epic kind of romance. Zona starts out boy-crazy and goes through a few different crushes before she finds her love interest. I liked that. It felt realistic. But after all that build-up the actual “love” story was very anticlimactic. We don’t get many cute details other than, “we kissed.” Well. Very informative, thank you.
I don’t have much more to say. I liked it. There were many plotlines and subplots, which is awesome, but the writing itself wasn’t my favorite. I don’t know if I’d recommend it, per se, but I wouldn’t not recommend it. So that’s something.
Sexual Content: Mild
Drugs/Alcohol: Mild (if any)