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Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good ... More

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Author: Catherine Clark

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Publisher: HarperTeen, a Division of HarperCollins Publishers,

Material: hard cover

Summary: Ariel Flick is ready for summer, but not the summer her mother has planned. As if her mother's idea of surprising her with a bus trip wasn't bad enough, she's spending two weeks on a bus with her younger sister Zena, her grandparents, an uncle, a bunch of senior citizens, and no published destination. She and Andre strike up a friendship, based on the fact that they're close to the same age and together they might be able to escape! As Ariel and Andre plod their way from event to event and plot their get-away, they learn that life is about the journey ... flat tires and all. Story and postcards combine to create this teen travelogue.

Type of Reading: family reading, independent reading, read aloud book, remedial reader

Recommended Age: read together: 10 to 12; read yourself: 12 and up

Interest Level: 11 and Up

Reading Level: 4.1

Age of Child: Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™

Young Reader Reaction: I didn’t really enjoy reading Wish You Were Here, mainly because the main character prevailingly moans and complains about minor things. However, it also mirrors how teenagers act and shows that they need to change how they act towards their parents and family members. This book would be a great gift for teenagers.

Adult Reader Reaction: Ariel is the main attraction (and narrator) for this story. She is a fairly stereotypical teenager, with her share of quandaries and embarrassing family moments. Although they are unique to the story, most of Ariel's reactions are fairly predictable. The best parts were the postcards. The style reminds me of Anne Tyler (The Accidental Tourist, et al), but this doesn't grab me like they did.

Pros: Teen girls will relate to Ariel's life and easily find themselves comparing notes about who has it harder/tougher/worse.

Cons: Nothing specific, it just didn't grab me.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow. Ariel is witty and has a way of adding humorous thoughts about life. They aren't the pithy wisdom that teens will carry with them, though.


Educational Themes: With a lot of stretching, you could talk about divorce, family dynamics, phobias, teen friendships, and growing up. This is a novel that's really meant for recreational reading.

Literary Categories: fiction - family, friendship, grandparents, life lessons, middle grade, young adult

Date(s) Reviewed: June 2008, April 2009

Other Reviews:


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