Monday, May 31, 2010

WISH YOU WERE HERE, LIZA by Robin Wasserman

Vacations with family and friends seemed like lots of fun back when Liza was little, but now she's older and there are better things to do than hangout with family and visit the World's Biggest Ball of Twine or some Mega Route 66 gift shop.  Unfortunately, when you're in seventh grade you have to do what the family does even when you have better plans of your own.

Liza's family is flying from the east coast to Chicago.  They will be joining two other families and traveling in three cars across the rest of the U.S.A. to California.  The plan is to follow Route 66 and any other off-beat paths as they take the entire summer to explore the country. 

What follows is mile after mile of torture and one seedy motel after another.  Liza finds herself stuck with Dillie, an odd girl who wears crazy clothes and alien creature earrings and Caleb, a soft-spoken geek.  She is sure she would have more fun if she could get the attention of a hot guy named Jake.  Spending endless weeks away from cell phone reception and any internet connection with her friends from home result in total frustration for Liza.  Can she find any possible happiness on this crazy adventure?  Will she find any way to have a good time?

WISH YOU WERE HERE, LIZA by Robin Wasserman is perfect summer reading for the middle grade crowd.  Wasserman captures what it is like to be that in-between age when being with the family is the only option, but wishing you were somewhere else is the constant dream.  Liza's story is filled with tourist attractions and typical family vacation moments that will have readers nodding in agreement as they recall their own similar experiences.  Overall, it's a fun, fast read.

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