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How to Ruin My Teenage Life    by Simone Elkeles order for
How to Ruin My Teenage Life
by Simone Elkeles
Order:  USA  Can
Flux, 2007 (2007)

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* * *   Reviewed by Lyn Seippel

Seventeen-year-old Amy Nelson-Barak falls in love with an Israeli she meets while visiting Israel with her dad. Now summer is over and Avi is in the Israeli army. Amy's back home in Chicago where there's a new guy living across the hall from the condo she shares with her dad.

Nathan and Amy meet when her dog Mutt gets loose at the dog park and Nathan catches him. Afterwards he gives her a lecture on being a responsible pet owner. A lesson she does not need from a geek with too-short pants and a button down plaid shirt. Unfortunately he turns up at her private high school. Nathan and Amy become enemies until they kiss. How can her Israeli soldier compete from half way across the world?

Amy is a disaster waiting to happen. In this sequel to How to Ruin a Summer Vacation, Elkeles' heroine makes some bad, but hilarious choices, as does her dog Mutt. She's living with her conservative Jewish Dad since her Mom remarried and he's finding life with a problem prone teenager to be more dangerous than working for Homeland Security.

The story is told in first person, as Amy leads readers on a fun romp through Chicago and deep into the emotions of a teenager who is working on relationships and emotions. Elkeles has a terrific voice and her love scenes are sweet and moving.

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