Title: Four Things My Geeky Jock-of-a-Best-Friend Must Do in Europe
Author: Jane Harrington
Darby Creek Publishing, 2006
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Recommended to: Preteen-Teen girls, ages 11-14
Brady's headed for Europe on a Mediterranean cruise for weeks of relaxation, new cultures to experience, bonding with her crazily eccentric mother, and...four instructions Sharpie'd onto her hand by her best friend Delia on what to do for the length of her trip! Some "rules" are easier, such as writing letters back home every day (which, duh! She would've done anyway), while others (like rustling up the courage to wear a teensy bikini in public when you're not exactly made for miniscule swimsuits) are harder. In between meeting international teens on the cruise, visiting the ruins of Pompeii, experiencing a major bikini malfunction in the French Riviera, and trying to spot a "code-red Euro hottie", this spunky, funny teen is just trying to keep sane....Yep. This vacation is going to be anything but ordinary, but one thing's for sure: readers will be cracking up as Brady hops from Italy to France to Spain, experiencing hilarious overseas escapades and funny situations that will have readers happily flipping pages for the entire lighthearted story.
The best part of this book, I think, are the awesome, kick-butt characters. Their personalities are so eclectic and fun. Brady's a kick in the pants, Clare is funny in her own special way, their mom's character is absolutely hilarious, and how could you not love Delia? Jane Harrington has a real voice that appeals to teens, and she tells a fast-paced story that's full of lighthearted humor, overseas adventure, and fun that will keep readers occupied and won't have them bored. The setup of the novel, in letter form, is easy to read, making the reader feel like they're peeping in on the private world of Brady as she writes home about all of her international adventures, her mom, and her four summer goals. Whether experiencing your own summer adventures or simply at home with a craving for a good book, Four Things will keep readers satisfied from page one. Although not many people know about it, Four Things is perfect for teen girls who will relate greatly with the spunky protagonist. Brava, Ms. Harrington!