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Review: How to Ruin My Teenage Life by Simone Elkeles

How to Ruin My Teenage Life by Simone Elkeles
Publisher: Flux (June 8th, 2007)
Reading Level: Young Adult
Paperback: 281 pages
Series: How to Ruin #2
Rating: 4 of 5 stars
In this sequel to How to Ruin a Summer Vacation, EVERYTHING in sixteen-year-old Amy Nelson Barak's life is going wrong! Her mom got married and moved to the suburbs, and now they are going to have a baby. Amy moves in with her dad in Chicago and signs him up for an online dating service. His first four dates are that night..
What else? Her dog Mutt impregnated her grumpy neighbor's prized poodle, so Amy will actually have to get a part-time job to pay for half the veterinary bill. And there's this totally annoying boy, Nathan Rubin, who just moved into her apartment building. Luckily, Amy has a cute boyfriend named Avi. Only he's more like a non-boyfriend considering Avi is in the Israeli army for the next three years.
What's a girl to do when everyone is conspiring to ruin her life?

Review:

I started reading this book directly after How to Ruin a Summer Vacation, and while I didn't enjoy it as much, it was still incredible. If you haven't read the first book, you may want to skip this review until you do.

Amy is now back in Chicago after her summer in Israel. She has little contact with Avi because he is now serving in the Israeli army and she isn't sure what to make of their dating status. She refers to him as her"non-boyfriend". On top of that, Amy's mom is now married and expecting a baby. Amy doesn't really feel she belongs in the house with her mother and stepfather. Instead, she moves in with her father so they can build a better relationship.

I really enjoy Amy's no-nonsense attitude but she did make a few silly decisions in this book. Signing her dad up for the dating service was one of them. He had no interest in dating and it only proved to get her into a lot of trouble. It did seem that while this was a heavy focus in the book, it was just thrown in without real meaning. I wanted to know more about Amy's school life, friends, and experiences.

There is a new guy in this book, Nathan, and he was a fun character. Amy isn't fond of him from the beginning and then he starts giving off some very mixed signals. She is confused as to what he wants from her and what she wants with him. After a huge surprise, things get even more complicated for her.

I liked that this book lets us get a better idea of Amy's new life. How she deals with her father, who is very strict, and how she deals with Avi being away. I feel that by the end of the book Amy really understands herself much better than she did before. Her and her friends were a fascinating group to get to know! This book has nearly as many laugh-out-loud moments as the first one. Now, I have to get my hands on How to Ruin My Boyfriend's Reputation! It sounds amazing! That review will be up soon… (update: soon as in, tomorrow).

Recommended: Contemporary fans who love Simone's writing. Be sure to read book 1, How to Ruin a Summer Vacation first.

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