Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Life and Opinions of Amy Finawitz

Toffler-Corrie. Laura. The Life and Opinions of Amy Finawitz.
Roaring Brook Press, 2010.

Amy is having a difficult year because her best friend Callie is spending it away from their New York City home living in Kansas with an aunt and uncle. Amy has a crush on John, but is irritated to the extreme with her remaining friends. She finds an unusual ally in Miss Sophia, a neighbor who was a librarian for 30 years and is now interested in helping Amy with a school project involving the diary of an immigrant girl. Miss Sophia also brings along her nephew, Beryl, who is from a Hasidic family and is very conservative and uncomfortable in Amy’s presence. The three do a lot of research on Anna and her times, and end up making a fairly large discovery. Amy thinks for a while that Beryl might “like-like” her, but they end up being good friends, and even though Amy is not particularly nice to John, he seems interested in her as well.
Strengths: Lots of good details about Jewish life in New York City, and fairly funny. This reminded me a bit of some Paula Danziger books, or A Begonia for Miss Applebaum. (I really was expecting Miss Sophia to die!)
Weaknesses: Amy was not particularly likable, although she did improve, and the format was confusing. Some of it reads like letters,(to Callie) but some is almost in text message format without Callie’s replies. This might be why it put me in mind of older titles. Even though this is only two years old, I know very few students who communicate by e mail, and certainly none of them write letters!

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday is the brain child of the lovely and talented Shannon Whitney Messenger. Hope over to Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe to see this week's round up of middle grade reviews.


  1. Thanks for stopping by my blog last week. The book sounds interesting. Although, comtemp stories aren't usually my thing. Not crazy about the cover though. lol Agreed about letters! (Fellow MMGM blogger)

  2. Interesting review, especially since you didn't find the main character very likeable. I like some of Paula Danziger's books, so I can appreciate the comparison.

    My younger son does nothing but text, so I figure that's the norm! My older son is old enough to actually use email, though he does plenty of texting too.

  3. After all you've said, I think the cover is perfect for the book. :)
    I find teens who still write letters, old fashioned and they usually hold a very good conversation (not saying those who don't aren't capable. Just my experience here). The ones I've had the chance to talk to anyways. :)
    Thanks for the feature.

  4. Anonymous10:58 PM EDT

    I am going to for sure give this one a read. Second or third (?) review I've the likeability could be an issue for kids. But, I like the pluses you've mentioned. Thanks.

  5. Anonymous9:37 AM EDT

    interesting that she was unlikeable. i wonder if that was so she could grow as a character, and become likeable?