Published by Putnam Juvenile on 21 April 2015
Genres: Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Parents, People & Places, Road Trip, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Place(s) Traveled To: Athens, Greece // New York, New York // Heraklion, Crete, Greece
First Line(s): Just before the clock ticks over into a brand new year, one that is going to be completely different from any I’ve experienced before, my dad and I get on a plane – my first overseas flight – heading to Greece.
Whenever I plan a trip somewhere I love to read books that are set in location when I can so it was very fortuitous that not long after I started making plans to go to Greece I was asked to review Meredith Zeitlin’s Sophomore Year is Greek to Me. The book is told from the POV of Zona who is a Sophomore in high school and who is being cruelly uprooted from her friends and home to travel with her father to Greece to finish up the school year. Zona’s father is a journalist and is going there to work on a story and also to help build a bridge between Zona and her mother’s family. At first Zona is a bit of a brat about the whole thing but she does quickly come around and grudgingly tries to make the best of the situation.
Sophomore Year is Greek to Me can be considered a companion to Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters (goodreads) as there is some character cross over but you don’t need to read it in order to enjoy Sophomore Year. For the most part I liked the narrative of Sophomore Year is Greek to Me and often found Zona to be a smart and funny character. I did get annoyed with the mock articles that were peppered throughout the story as Zona was a budding journalist like her father. I also liked the addition of her Greek family and those sections of the story. Where this one kind of lost me was the lack of a real romance to the book. There was a love interest for Zona but it was never developed much and just sort of fizzled. Which in some ways is understandable as Zona was only in Greece for a few months but often times its the romance that seals the deal for me in a book.
The romance wasn’t the only story line that fizzled out during the course of this book and so that made for a bit of a disjointed story. Things were started but then just sort of dropped in order to move on to other events. Then there was this big dramatic thing that totally took away from the light-heartedness that was begun over the first part of the book. There was just so much that was tossed into Sophomore Year is Greek to Me but none of it was ever fully allowed to develop so the whole story just feel a bit flat for me. Everything was just rushed and so I was left feeling a bit unsatisfied with how it all ended.
That said, I did like Zona’s journey over the course of the novel. I like how she really discovered things about herself, her mother, and where she came from. I liked the relationships that she built with her Greek family and I loved the strong bond that she had with her father. Its always nice to see a strong, healthy parental relationship in a book and Zeitlin does an amazing job with that.
Sophomore Year is Greek to Me was a bit of a slow start for me but the pages did go quickly when I sat down and focused on it. This isn’t a book that I think I’ll ever re-read but it wasn’t a terrible book. I liked the setting and enjoyed seeing Greece through Zona’s eyes. I liked Zeitlin’s writing style and do plan to read Freshman Year at some point. In some ways, I think that Sophmore Year is Greek to Me might appeal to younger audiences but older readers may struggle a bit as I did.