A school trip to Barcelona is a big undertaking for someone like Ellen, who likes to be surrounded by schedules, routines, and familiar friends and family. However, with her best friend Laurel and her father, called Abba, on the trip with her, Ellen is determined to make the two-week experience work by using the rigid but safe framework of her life to cope with any challenges she might face. When her class arrives in Spain, however, she realizes her familiar routines will be disrupted with new friends, new experiences, and new obstacles, and she must work to expand her ideas about life, friendship, and family in order to grow and become a better, more complex version of herself.
THOUGHTS: The new friends Ellen makes throughout this book really allow her to explore many preconceived notions she has always held about the world around her. Ellen’s Jewish faith also plays a big part in the story, highlighting the way her parents support her as she navigates questions about what her faith means to her, how important her culture is to her everyday life, and how she handles the faiths and cultures of those around her. Barcelona is an interesting backdrop to this story and helps to illustrate the importance of new experiences in life.
Realistic Fiction Erin Faulkner, Cumberland Valley SD