Sophomore Year Is Greek to Meby Meredith Zeitlin Published 21 Apr 2015
|Sophomore Year Is Greek to Me.pdf|
|Publisher||G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers|
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A laugh-out-loud high school adventure set in Greece, perfect for fans of Meg Cabot
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.
"Sophomore Year Is Greek to Me" Reviews
A charming read...perfect for summertime! Review to come.
This was cute!
Oh how I have waited for this book! I loved the humor and story of Kelsey in Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters and wanted to read Kelsey grow-up through her high school years. While this is not a continuation of Kelsey's story, meeting Zona and her friends in the middle of her sophomore year, was just as fun!
Reading Sophomore Year was like going on an adventure. I loved getting to experience Greece right along with Zona - seeing the landscapes through her eyes, trying new foods, and listening to people speak "greekgreekgreekgreekgreek" and having no idea what they were saying. (I would crack up every time I saw those words because I completely understand the feeling of hearing a language with English words interjected and still not understanding a single thing).
There is so much to enjoy about the book like the style in which it is told. It's Zona's story, but we get a third person perspective of situations from the "newspaper articles" throughout. This was a great way to get more of the story with Zona having to explain everything. And I loved how Zona and her father spoke to each other in headlines. They were both witty with an undertone of snark.
The story of family was my favorite part of Sophomore Year is Greek to Me. For all of her life, her family was just Zona, her father, and their dog, Tony. And then there were her friends. They were like family to her. She was content with her life and her little family and didn't miss what she never had. But when she gets to Greece and connects with her cousin, then her aunts, and even more cousins, and then her Yia Yia (grandmother), she begins to understand why her father insisted that they make the move to Greece. There is so much joy and sadness in the reunion, but mostly joy and I loved reading every word of it.
I could go on and on about how wonderful this book is - the humor, the friendships, and the romance. Yes, there's some of that too. Sophomore Year is a perfect example of why I love to read books with teenage characters. They have so much to look forward to and to learn about themselves and a whole world to discover and experience. I loved it!
Meredith Zeitlin's Sophomore Year is Greek to Me is one of those perfect, light-hearted and seriously fun YA novels that, in my experience, don't come around often enough. I read (and love) many dark, heavy YA books, but I think it's important to have books like Zeitlin's to provide balance and offer something lighter.
Now, that's not to say that Zona's story is completely fluffy or trite! No, Zona's story has depth; there are some difficult themes within her story. Zona was raised by her father after her mother's death and is estranged from her mother's Greek family. She has complicated, but mostly negative, feelings for her mother's family, who abandoned her mother when she fell in love with and married Zona's father.
Readers are introduced to Zona shortly after her journalist father announces that they will be moving to Greece for Zona's sophomore year, where he will be working on an important story and she will attend school... and finally meet her extended family. Not only will Zona have to leave her friends, her dream position at the school paper, and her crush behind, she'll have to face the family she feels never wanted her.
The thing that's great about this novel and Zeitlin's writing is that, while there is depth and elements that could be quite heavy and difficult, they are tempered with levity and humor. For example, throughout the story readers are treated to funny headlines and brief features articles highlighting and poking fun at Zona's experiences in Greece. These articles feature quotes from Zona and her companions, while underlining Zona's passion for journalism and sense of humor. Zona's personality shines brightly in these write-ups.
Zona always seems to be getting into some ridiculous situation or another... Whether she's being attacked by birds or stranded with inappropriate footwear, there is never a dull moment. Sometimes these adventures are a result of Zona's apparent predisposition for trouble, but, sometimes, it's her American upbringing showing.
I found the differences between Greek and American life and priorities fascinating, but there was one specific conversation during Zona's time in Greece that has stayed with me. Zona is worried that one of her new friends has an eating disorder and wants to find a way to help her, but her other friends say that it is not their place to say anything and, furthermore, their friend is likely doing it for attention. Though Zona worries she's doing the wrong thing, or perhaps being too straightforward (and American), she persists and finally says something. Though I don't believe this was strictly a Greek versus American dilemma, I found it really interesting.
I highly recommend this newest novel from Zeitlin, especially if you're looking for a fun foreign setting and plenty of laughs.
**You can see this full review and more at Book Briefs: http://bookbriefs.net**
Sophomore Year is Greek to Me is a standalone contemporary romance that will have you smiling and laughing non-stop. It is a followup book to Meredith Zeitlin's Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters , but it is about an entirely different group of characters so I truly mean this when I say, you can read this book without having read the first book. They are not related other than the school is the same (I think). Sophomore Year is Greek to Me is such a fun read. I don't really have any criticisms of it so I am instead going to tell you a couple of things that I loved about the book.
1. I loved that Zona, a journalist-to-be, and her father, a Pulitzer prize winning writer, would communicate via post it notes in the form of newspaper headlines. They cracked me up! Even the totally snarky ones. I mean Zona is a 15 year old that was not too happy to be leaving her friends and school and whole life to be uprooted to spend 10th grade in Greece with her Dad. But the post-it notes are great. I loved the relationship between Zona and her dad.
2. I loved Zona herself. The book is told from her point of view and also through a series of hilarious article style excerpts of her life. She was writing about her life as if a newspaper was covering certain scenes and events from it, and they completely cracked me up. Zona is a very witty young lady!
3. I loved how adorable typical Zona was with her new crush. She is sometimes overly dramatic, sometimes too sarcastic, and all the time a 100% typical teenager. I have seen her reactions to waiting for a text a million times in my friends growing up and my campers at camp, and just about everywhere. I loved how relate able her story was. I don't mean typical in a bad way, I think Meredith Zeitlin did a fantastic job capturing the genuine essence of teens.
4. I loved the sweet and innocent romance that bloomed between Zona and the guy that I shall not name. (no spoilers here). And I also love that it didn't take over the story. Zona meeting her long lost family and her time spent in Greece was still the main focus. And speaking of family.
5. I loved the family message in Sophomore Year is Greek to Me. I thought it was really nice the way the family aspect of the story played out. And now one more thing for good measure.
6. I loved Zona's friendships with her New York friends. It is always so nice to see a supportive group of genuine friends. I loved their skype convos, and I really liked that they we always there for each other. It wasn't a one sided friendship.
Sophomore Year is Greek to Me is a fun adventure abroad. Zona is hilarious and I think teens (and not teens alike) will find her endearing and cute and will see a little bit of themselves in her. I loved learning about all aspects of her life. And her journey with friendships, and love and family was a great time. Read this book!
This review was originally posted on Book Briefs
Sophomore Year Is Greek to Me is the second book I’ve read by Meredith Zeitlin. A few years ago her book Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters came out and that book totally blew me away with it’s hilarity. It was a book I connected with extremely well. So I’ve been eager for more from the author. Despite this having a matching title it is not a series. It could be a companion but that’s even stretching it. Zona goes to the same school as Kelsey and we do see Kelsey very briefly in a scene. But there’s no other connection that I saw. Not only that but the majority of this book takes place in Greece. So new characters and mostly new setting.
I love, love, LOVE books set in other countries. I love learning about other cultures or just random bits of information. In this book Zona is to meet her Greek family from her dead mothers side. She’s spent her whole life not wanting to meet them, thinking they hate her and want nothing to do with her. There is more to that story and it is fantastic to get to know some Greek culture through an American who it’s all new to as well. Zona is staying in Athens with her father but for Spring break she goes to Crete where she spends some time with this family she never knew. So it’s only a quarter of the book or so that takes place on Crete with this family. But the time in Athens, making new friends, going to a new school, getting use to a new culture, it’s all fascinating and entertaining as well.
Zona’s father is a journalist and she wants to be one as well. They communicate often through headlines they write to each other. It was pretty cool. Also sprinkled through the book are journalist pieces that talk about Zona’s experiences. It gave a different angle to things but sometimes I just wanted to jump over them and get back to the story.
Zona is an entertaining character but I felt like when I compared her to Kelsey she was missing a little *something*. But perhaps Kelsey was so entertaining because she got herself into totally crazy situations and then had some great and dramatic humor about it all. Zona’s life was definitely different and her personality was a bit milder. She has her dramatic moments, but mostly it’s in her head. She’s a responsible teenager who thinks things through before taking action.
This was a really fun book with moments that made me laugh. But I have to admit that the author handled the serious really well. There’s a classmate of Zona’s that clearly has an eating disorder. This is a small bit of the book but adds a lot and makes you think. No one else thought anything was wrong with her but Zona couldn’t ignore it. There’s also the issue of her family. Her mom died when she was born and she says she doesn’t miss her because she never knew her. She doesn’t feel a lot of drama and grief about it. But when meeting her family she never really knew about she learns more about her mom and there were plenty of moments I found myself tearing up. There are a lot of issues to get past and it was handled well. There’s also some stuff discussed about Greece’s economy. Zona’s dad is there to write about it so it opens up some good dialogue about it. How it got that way, how people handle it. How Greeks feels about it, etc. I actually learned a lot myself but never felt like it was there as a learning piece but just part of the story.
Sophomore Year Is Greek to Me was a fabulously fun story and I’m very eager for more from Meredith Zeitlin!
You can find this review, and others like it, on my blog at http://www.candacesbookblog.com