Sunday, April 15, 2012

Book Review: OyMG by Amy Fellner Dominy

Title: OyMG
Author: Amy Fellner Dominy
Publisher: Walker & Company
Release Date: April 29, 2011
Rating: 4/5

Cover Impressions:  The cover is very cute.  Covered in doodles, it looks like it could have been pulled from Ellie's notebook.  I love the play on words in the title and hope that most teens would get it. 

The Gist: Ellie has one goal: to attend the Christian Society Speech and Performing Arts summer camp and win a coveted scholarship to St. Benedict's school, the posh school with the best debate team around.  As a Jewish girl in a Christian camp, Ellie feels a little out of place and her plans are threatened when she discovers that the school's benefactor, and her the grandmother of her crush and main competition, may be prejudiced against Jews.  Ellie must decide how much of herself she is willing to sacrifice in order to win.

Review:  OyMG is an enjoyable read about a young girl struggling to find her own identity in the face of what everyone else wants her to be.  The plot is a little expected and predictable, but the characters are fantastic.  Ellie is a strong and independent young woman who knows the value of a good argument and is willing to work hard for the things that she wants.  Her parents are loving and supportive - something that is often all too rare in YA novels!  The best friend has her own set of issues (can we have a book featuring Megan as the MC please?) the love interest is smart and interesting and the villain is realistic and complex.  However the stand out (and in close competition with Sage from The False Prince for the prize of favorite character thus far in 2012) is her Zeydeh (Grandfather).  He is so well written that I was convinced he was based on a real person (he's not - I asked) and determined to meet him.  Zeydeh has the best lines enhances this novel with a wonderful spark of humor.  It is not too often that I can "hear" a character speak, but I could hear Zeydeh, in fact, I am still hearing Zeydeh (right now he is telling me to finish my tappity-tapping so we can look up recipes for Motzo Ball Soup).  He is uncompromising, he is funny and he is the one person who demands that Ellie expect more from herself. 

Characters aside, the plot moves quickly and does not suffer from any lag.  There is no InstaLove and it does not paint the world (and the people in it) in black and white.  I am happy to add this to my Classroom Library and cannot wait to see if my students are able to draw any comparisons to their own lives.

Teaching/Parental Notes:
Age: 12 and up
Gender: Will probably be more appealing to girls
Sex: None
Violence:  None
Inappropriate Language: None
Substance Abuse:  None


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