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Sophomore Year Is Greek to Me    by Meredith Zeitlin order for
Sophomore Year Is Greek to Me
by Meredith Zeitlin
Order:  USA  Can
Putnam, 2015 (2015)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Meredith Zeitlin has chosen to set Sophomore Year Is Greek to Me in Greece, which adds depth that breaks it out from other YA contemporaries. Yes, it has all the hallmarks of a typical YA contemporary, but it also has something more, and that is what makes it compelling.

Zona Lowell has never met her mother's side of the family, or even knew her mother who died after childbirth. Her whole life, it has just been her and her journalist dad living a typical New York City lifestyle. Everything changes, though, when her father accepts a six-month assignment to write about Greece's crumbling economy and Zona has to spend the second half of her sophomore year halfway across the world from her best friends.

If moving away from her friends and starting a new school at semester were not bad enough, Zona's dad wants her to connect with her mother's family who basically disowned Zona's mom when she left. Zona's move does become life-changing, but not in any way she expects.

Zeitlin really gets things right with this story. Zona is very much a typical teen who is not too much of any stereotype, and neither are her friends. Yes, some do have problems, but Zeitlin handles everything with a healthy dose of realism. The characters and plot all come across as completely genuine, and that makes this an endearing read. What also elevates it from typical YA contemporaries is the inclusion of Zona's thoughts written as newspaper articles instead of the conventional diary or journal entries.

Sophomore Year Is Greek to Me is just as much fun yet as complex as its setting. Meredith Zeitlin knows how to pen a YA contemporary that stands out from the pack.

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