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Are We There Yet? Hardcover – Bargain Price, July 12, 2005
This month's Book With Buzz: "The Lying Game" by Ruth Ware
From the instant New York Times bestselling author of blockbuster thrillers "In a Dark, Dark Wood" and "The Woman in Cabin 10" comes Ruth Ware’s chilling new novel, "The Lying Game." See more
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From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up -Danny Silver, 23, is a workaholic advertising executive; his laid-back, 17-year-old brother, Elijah, absolutely drives him wild with his untied sneakers and lack of focus. The teen, who once idolized his sibling, now feels that he would never want to be Danny. The brothers are tricked by their parents into vacationing together in Italy. They both dread the experience, believing that they have little in common. Once abroad, they tiptoe around one another, connecting when they're in museums together, a reminder of childhood occasions spent similarly with their mother and father. They both doubt that there is enough between them to rekindle a bond. And then Elijah has a chance encounter with a college dropout with whom he falls head over heels in love. When he introduces Julia to Danny, she finds that she's attracted to him, too, and that catapults Danny into a situation in which he has to determine his priorities. The insightful and gently humorous narration alternates between the thoughts and experiences of the two brothers. Teens will relate deeply to Elijah and gain insight into Danny's attitudes as well. Levithan, author of Boy Meets Boy (2003) and The Realm of Possibility (2004, both Knopf), gets better and better with each book. This novel will appeal to a broader audience than the earlier titles and is a priority choice. References to sexual behavior and marijuana and acid use are included.-Susan Riley, Mount Kisco Public Library, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Gr. 10-12. Elijah and Danny are brothers who have grown apart. Elijah is a mellow, kind, live-in-the-moment, pot-smoking teen who likes to wonder about things and to wander without a plan. Danny, six years Elijah's senior, is a young up-and-comer with a prestigious New York law firm, who dresses meticulously and exerts a rigid control both on his own life and on the lives of those around him. In an attempt to draw their sons back together, the boys' parents arrange a vacation to Italy. But the appearance of a girl who may have the power to separate the two brothers even further means the trip may not reach its intended goal. Levithan's latest is a stylized, pensive, almost mournful piece that outwardly travels through three of Italy's most famed cities but is focused almost exclusively on the interior landscapes of two uniquely sympathetic young men. At times overly self-aware, the book's literary complexity and minimal action make this a title for older readers attracted to mature psychological and philosophical perspectives. Holly Koelling
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top customer reviews
Read it! And then share it with your brother/sister/best friend!
It wasn't funny like the summary of the book had claimed, but it was a book worth reading if only because it was one that made you think and one that will probably be remembered
Then it's different. My sister and I had nothing much to do with each other as children but the death of our mother reunited us.
In this story, the elder brother cares for his younger brother but they grow apart until their parents send them n on a holiday together, which they are both dreading.
On this holiday they drift even further apart until another person reunites them again.
I read this book in virtually one sitting. I wanted to get to the end to see what happened but I also did not want to get to the end because I didn't want to part with the characters.
They say that `all roads lead to Rome.' Like one of the brothers in this book, I met an old friend in Rome, from whom I'd drifted apart. I've heard other people tell the same tale.
It's a bit like those pilgrimage observations where you have to travel a long distance to get back to the place where you first started.
In an attempt to get the two siblings to communicate again, their parents send them on a tour of Italy. An impressionistic blend of novel, travelogue and poetry, ARE WE THERE YET? is about the brothers' travels through Venice, Florence and Rome. Travel, particularly in a foreign country, has a disorienting quality that makes things seem simultaneously immediate and very faraway. David Levithan captures this paradox, as well as the strange coincidences and people the two brothers encounter along the way. He covers the major sites of each city, along with minor sites important to each character.
Notably, Levithan writes about the remnants of once-thriving Jewish communities in each city. When the brothers visit the infamous Jewish ghetto in Venice, immortalized by Shakespeare's Shylock, they read that 8,000 Italian Jews were sent to concentration camps during the Holocaust. Only eight returned. Later, a guide notes that the Venetian Jewish community now numbers about 600 in a city of approximately 63,000. Doubly an outsider, as an American-Jew in an Italian city filled with some of the most famous Christian artwork in the world, Danny starts to question his place in the world, and a system of values that has left him largely alone.
When he and Elijah fight about a woman Elijah meets at the scene of an accident, the brothers separate, leaving them both truly alone in a foreign country. Slowly each comes to realize that despite the pleasures and autonomy of being alone, "it's good to share a life." Elijah realizes that he isolates himself through casual relationships and does not express his feelings for the people he truly loves. Danny sees that his work has come between him and the people who love him most. The brothers reunite in Rome. They share a serendipitous sunrise at the Parthenon, followed by a tour of all the sites in the movie Roman Holiday, which they are surprised to discover they both love.
In a conversation between Danny and one of his childhood friends, Levithan touches on the difficulty of being brothers, when the process of growing up interferes with the bond they once shared:
"Brothers are not like sisters. They don't call each other every week. Will you be there for him if he needs you? Of course. Should you love him without question? Absolutely. But those are the easy things. Do you make him a large part of your life, an equal to a wife or a best friend? At the beginning, when you're kids, the answer is often yes. But when you get to high school, or older? Do you tell him everything? Do you let him know who you really are? The answer is usually no."
ARE WE THERE YET? not only explores the dynamic of accumulating distance between brothers, but also looks at the way Danny and Elijah begin to close the gap as they gain maturity. The optimism that is part of Levithan's other novels saturates this book, offering the following advice for relationships: "Don't go for normal. Go for happy. Go for what you want it to be instead of settling for what is."
--- Reviewed by Sarah A. Wood
Most recent customer reviews
Levithan brings his great humor in like always, but the characters, though...Read more