Author: Amy Fellner Dominy
Published: May 11 2011, Walker Books for Young Readers
Cover Score: B
Overall Grade: A
Ellie Taylor loves nothing more than a good argument. After all, she's been arguing with her Yiddish grandfather, Zeydeh, ever since she could talk. So when she gets accepted to the Christian Society Speech and Performing Arts summer camp, she's psyched--the end-of-camp speech tournament could present her with a scholarship to the best speech school in the country! However, winning the scholarship won't be easy. The competition is hot--literally. His name is Devon Yeats, and whether she likes it or not, he makes her sizzle! Ellie is determined to win--until she discovers that the scholarship's private benefactor has negative feelings towards Jews. Will hiding her true identity and heritage be worth a shot at her dream?
My thoughts: I really, really enjoyed OyMG. It was funny, it was witty; it was lighthearted and fun and unique.
First of all, I need to acknowledge all of the wonderful characters. Ellie was a realistic protagonist who was struggling between hiding her true identity to fit in (and therefore disappointing her family), and revealing her secret, which could ruin her dream. I felt that the situations Ellie found herself in were relatable. She had a great, energetic voice, and her story really spoke to me, even though I'm not Jewish. I feel like any teen can relate to her situation. Zeydeh, Ellie's traditional Jewish grandfather, was absolutely endearing--his words of wisdom really stuck with me, and provide a strong, positive message for the book.
I loved the humor in the plot--the witty banter between Devon and Ellie lightened up some of the heavier issues that the novel brought to the table, such as modern-day anti-Semitism and accepting who you are.
Although this story was about so much more than going to a speech camp, the setting of the camp was a fun addition, and gave the story a unique edge (and really helped boost the dramatic ending!).
All in all, OyMG gave me that warm, and satisfying feeling, like I had just eaten a bowl of hot, homemade matzo ball soup. A great debut for middle-grade readers!
Must-Read! Check it Out! Don't Bother!
*** Thank you to Kate Lied and Bloomsbury Children's Books for giving me the great opportunity to participate in this blog tour!