- Age Range: 12 and up
- Grade Level: 7 - 9
- Hardcover: 224 pages
- Publisher: Viking Juvenile (June 23, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0670036110
- ISBN-13: 978-0670036110
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.9 x 8.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 15 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,419,808 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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My Not-So-Terrible Time at the Hippie Hotel Hardcover – June 23, 2003
Fourteen-year-old Tracy Forrester is resigned to having the worst summer of her life. Her dad has booked her and her siblings into this weird place in Massachusetts, where divorced parents and their kids hang out with other split-up families. Its called Farnsworth House, but dubbed the "Hippie Hotel" by Tracys dad, mostly due to the fact that long-haired proprietor Sharon Farnsworth really believes in the healing power of togetherness. Tracy doesnt buy it. "I think the idea is that if you get divorced kids together with other divorced kids, they wont feel so bad about being divorced. So far it hasnt worked." Ever since her parents split, Tracy has gained 15 pounds and a terminal case of low self-esteem. At Farnsworth, shes terrified of Beka who smokes and only listens to punk, and her mother Lorraine, who seems to have designs on Tracys father. She likes Kelsey, whos also there with her dad, except shes so cute she makes Tracy feel even plainer by comparison. But things start looking up when she catches the eye of Kevin, a cute local, discovers that Beka is more bluster than bite, and that Kelsey really is as nice as she is pretty. Suddenly, the Hippie Hotel is actually "not-so-terrible"--in fact, its kinda great. A solidly written story disguised as a frothy summer read, debut author Rosemary Grahams gentle, funny tale about family life after the big "D" will be eagerly embraced by middle-grade fans of Judy Blume and Barthe DeClements. (Ages 12 to 16) --Jennifer Hubert
From School Library Journal
Grade 8-10-Set in the summer of 2000 on Cape Cod, Graham's first novel is the story of 14-year-old Tracy's coming to terms with her parents' divorce and experiencing her first romance. Tracy, her father, brother, and younger sister participate, along with two other single-parent families, in a "Together Time" retreat at Farnsworth House, also known as the Hippie Hotel, run by a tie-dye and Birkenstock-wearing woman who hopes to reinvent old-fashioned vacations for today's families. In the year since her parents' divorce, Tracy has stopped playing the piano and writing songs. She fills the emptiness inside by stuffing herself with sweets. When Beka, a private-school punk from Manhattan, and Kelsey, a California golden girl, arrive with their families, three quickly becomes the proverbial crowd. On a field trip to Plimouth Plantation, Tracy meets Kevin, an aspiring actor working in the blacksmith's shop, and a romance blossoms. She begins to think she is someone worth knowing, resumes her piano playing and songwriting, and begins to mend her relationship with her father. A subplot involving Tracy's mother is unresolved. Beka, medicated for depression, has a foul mouth, fights with her mother, and tries to buy a drink with a fake ID. There really is nothing new here; characters and issues are stereotypical, and the plot is predictable, but young people from divorced homes are likely to relate to some of the situations.
Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Showing 1-5 of 15 reviews
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I then read the book, and thought it was terrific - on a couple of levels. One, it was a fun read. The author wonderfully captures the thoughts and emotions of this young teenager, to the point where you feel yourself to be 14 again. On another level, the main character deals with some pretty important issues, and ends up on the right side of the fence - delivering some terrific lessons and food for thought in the process.
Bottom line, this was a great book. I loved it. My daughter loved it. And because of what it had to say to a young reader, I'm incredibly glad that my daughter read it.
The house is run by Sharon and her hottie son Paul. They cook for the families and even set up excursions to local attractions. Even though the house itself isn't too bad, Tracy's not having a great time. Beka, Lorraine's daughter and the first other girl that arrives, is a skinny dancer with an attitude problem and a nicotine addiction. They don't hit it off at all. When Kelsey, the tanned and friendly California girl, arrives, things start to look up.
Soon, though, Tracy is feeling left out again. Both Kelsey and Beka seem to be able to talk and flirt with boys without any problem. Tracy can barely make her mouth work to get a word out. When she meets Kevin and he seems interested in her, she is practically paralyzed.
I recommend this book for ages 12 and up. Told in Tracy's voice, the book is an easy and compelling read. Tracy's eating disorder (overeating for comfort) and internal conflict is dealt with honestly. Readers watch as she slowly begins to come out of her shell.
Overall, this is a very good read. My only complaint (and it's a small one, since the main focus of the book is Tracy) is that only some of the other characters are developed to any extent within the story. I didn't feel like I got to know any of the minor characters - in fact, it wasn't until I was writing this review and looking up references that I realized Lorraine had three kids. I only recalled Beka and Sean from the story. That's a small issue, however, and definitely not one to dissuade you from picking up this fun book.
Tracy is being dragged off over the Summer to the "Hippie Hotel" in Cape Cod by her divorced father, for some "together time" along with other fractured families and single parents (Ugh.) She's dreading it (who wouldn't, described that way) and starts the book wondering how she's going to sneak into the pantry and eat five pounds of M&Ms overnight and how she'll get along with a difficult teenaged girl she's rooming with.
But she meets Kevin on one of the group outings, and a shy romance blooms, and Tracy blossoms with it, as she learns a surprising lot about life, the people around her, and herself. It's a great read.
Insecure Tracy finds friends in Kelsey and maybe even Beka. She even meets a guy! Maybe "Together Time" isn't as bad as she expected...Or maybe it is. If she can find it in herself to be confident, to actually go for a guy, maybe it'll happen, despite what she may think. Of course, if she keeps thinking that way, her summer's not going to be exactly stellar. In the end, it's all up to Tracy.
MY NOT-SO-TERRIBLE TIME AT THE HIPPIE HOTEL is a cute, predictable feel-good story. It's a well-written novel, populated with enjoyable characters.
Reviewed by: Jocelyn Pearce
Tracey comes to the "Hippi Hotel" suffering from a parental split, a loss of motivation, and an insecurity about her weight and herself. The young woman that emerges has gained some true perspective, which is refreshingly delightful. I'd recommend this book to young and old who like to see someone triumph over personal tragedy, parents who want to show their girls a strong role model, and teenagers who have lost faith in young adult novels- no matter what your age or situation is, you will be able to draw something from this dynamic debut!