Genre: YA Realistic Fiction
Pub. Date: April 21, 2015
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads says, "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."Zona Lowell lives in New York City with her journalist father. Zona is an aspiring journalist herself and she often thinks about her next headline, but she doesn't see what is coming when her father tells her they will be spending her sophomore year of high school in Greece, thanks to his new assignment. Plus, there's the fact that Zona's mother's family, whom she has never met, lives over there and wants to meet her. Zona's mother died in childbirth, so she hasn't had any communication with that side of her family. Except Zona isn't willing to forget the simple fact that her mother's family disowned her when she married her father and she can't let that go, even though they desperately want to move on past it. While living in Greece, Zona learns more about the family she never knew and learns even more about herself. Meredith Zeitlin's Sophomore Year is Greek to Me had me laughing out loud one minute at Zona's antics and the next minute desperately wanting to pack my bags for Greece.
Zona is such a fun main character in Sophomore Year is Greek to Me. She reminded me a bit of Tallulah in Withering Tights in the way she could make me laugh out loud or shake my head at her shenanigans. She is an opinionated and determined protagonist, which I loved; plus, she's an aspiring journalist. It's truly her passion, so in the middle of drama, the narrative might wander off to a headline that she created in response to the current situation. I thought this was really funny, snarky, and one of the best parts of the novel.
What I enjoyed about Sophomore Year is Greek to Me was the fact that Zeitlin portrays travel as being a powerful learning experience. Not only can you learn about other cultures, but through travel you can learn more about who YOU are. I think this novel does a great job of illustrating that very point. Also, Greece is almost a secondary character in this novel and I loved the descriptions of the people, the nightlife, the markets, etc. It was all very well done.
Sophomore Year is Greek to Me felt a little young to me though (I mean she is only a sophomore); so, older YA readers may roll their eyes at Zona and not fully appreciate her story.
Nonetheless, if you are looking for a fun travel book this summer, definitely check out this one. It will have you planning your next vacation to the beautiful island of Greece.