|This would make a good story someday|
Author: Levy, Dana Alison
Although not thrilled when her summer plans are upended for a surprise cross-country train trip with her family and embarrassed because one of her moms is writing a tell-all book about the trip, twelve-year-old Sara Johnston-Fischer finds herself changing along with the landscape outside the train windows.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.70
Points: 10.0 Quiz: 189084
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 5.60
Points: 14.0 Quiz: 70944
Kirkus Reviews (03/15/17)
School Library Journal (03/01/17)
Booklist (+) (03/15/17)
The Hornbook (00/05/17)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 03/01/2017 Gr 5–8—During the summer before seventh grade, Sara's writer mom wins a monthlong cross-country train trip for the family, the purpose of which is to take notes for a new book. Sara, who had planned to spend her summer break with her friends, is furious. But she has no choice. Sara, older sister Laurel, 20; Laurel's boyfriend Root; younger sister Li, six; and both of Sara's mothers are off to see America. In retaliation, the tween decides not to share her thoughts about the places they visit (she doesn't want to be in the book; her mom's parenting blog is embarrassing enough) or be nice to anyone. The family members are soon joined by the other winner of the trip, an author from Texas; his son, Travis, who is the same age as Sara; and Travis's great-aunt and her friend. Sara escapes by writing in her journal. The story is by turns funny and sad, with a lot of life lessons. The plot drags in the middle as Sara's sulking quickly gets old. Also included are notes and postcards from various characters. Some of the ephemera are confusing; it's not always clear which character is the author of which notes. VERDICT Moody tweens will identify with prickly Sara. Purchase where the author's previous books are popular and for middle school collections in need of fiction featuring realistic family drama.—Nancy P. Reeder, Heathwood Hall Episcopal School, Columbia, SC - Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 03/15/2017 *Starred Review* Sara Johnston-Fischer had plans for her pre-middle-school summer break. It was going to be a vacation of improvement—until her moms announced she’d instead be joining them and her sisters on a cross-country train trip. Being stuck in close quarters with her lovable but loud family doesn’t stop Sara from trying to improve herself, sometimes in ways she never could have predicted. Levy’s novel is charming but not fluffy. Peppered among Sara’s journal entries are her big sister Laurel’s thoughts on issues ranging from world hunger to the Black Lives Matter movement. Levy doesn’t shy away from looking at tough topics through Sara’s eyes, either, cleverly contrasting the railway’s official “fun facts” with the “not so fun facts” she learns about the cities she visits. Sara has a truly unique tween voice, with her concerns about big-picture issues never diminishing the importance of her need for a new hair look or a burgeoning friendship with a fellow traveler. The novel features plenty of family drama and silliness, reminiscent of Amelia’s Are-We-There-Yet Longest Car Trip (2006), by Marissa Moss. Though the book can feel a bit disjointed at times, its engaging main character makes it a truly memorable read. - Copyright 2017 Booklist.