- Age Range: 9 - 12 years
- Grade Level: 4 - 7
- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: A Yearling Book-Bantam Doubleday Dell; 2nd edition (September 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0440415330
- ISBN-13: 978-0440415336
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.4 x 7.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 50 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,575,395 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Year My Parents Ruined My Life Paperback – August 10, 1999
From Publishers Weekly
Away from her native California, 12-year-old Kate Sommers comes up against some unnerving twists of fate. "The author plants enough surprises to keep readers alert and satisfied," said PW. Ages 9-12. (Sept.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
Grade 5-7. Sixth-grader Kate Sommers is convinced that moving from Isla Nada, CA, to Belletoona, PA, is ruining her life. From the moment the family arrives at their new home, the weather turns cold and snowy. At school Kate encounters Tiffany and her friends, who sneak cigarettes in the girls' room and go out of their way to taunt her. Lonely and unhappy, Kate writes to her best friend about returning to California to live with Molly's family. After Kate is unfairly accused by the principal of smoking, she takes her baby-sitting money and runs away to California, believing that Molly's parents have said she could stay with them. Her trip reveals the shallowness of Molly's friendship, and Kate discovers that what matters is her family and not her former way of life. The author captures the dilemma faced by young people when they must leave behind people and places they know and love. The main character is likable and her interactions with the people around her keep the story moving. Her father's enthusiasm about returning to his boyhood home provides a sometimes amusing contrast to the frustration felt by the rest of the family. Kate's letters to Molly, filled with reactions and thoughts about her "exile," are especially effective and help to create a well-told story.?Carol Schene, Taunton Public Schools, MA
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Kate has a little sister who has never seen snow before, so when she sees it, she is very excited and dances around the house pretending that she is a "dancing-ballerina-snowflake princess." A rather annoying dancing-ballerina-snowflake princess, at that.
In addition to her annoying sister, on the day they moved in, the moving van got stuck in the ice, causing a major multi-vehicle incident, because the moving van was so wide that people could not see the stop sign on the corner in time to stop. A person in that incident was Kate's new principal, Mr. Payne, frequently referred to as Mr. Payne-in-the-neck, due to the fact that he has a lawyer as a relative in Philadelphia (he is suing them for "big buck$") and that he has a neck brace because of a neck injury. It turns out that his neck is fine afterwards and that he was simply "faking it," and that Kate's family could have sued him right back, but Kate's mother would not allow them to be hated even more my Mr. Payne-in-the-neck.
School started for her on a Wednesday, because that Monday was the first day of deer-hunting season (they had no idea that school was of for that reason) and on Tuesday, it was cancelled because of the snowstorm (a record November snowfall). When school finally starts, she is shown around by a girl named Tiffany, who apparently smokes in the first grade girls' restroom during lunch.
Other than Tiffany and her other smoking friends, Kate is supposedly the only person who knows about this activity. Almost immediately after Tiffany grabs a cigarette out of her purse, a staff member, aptly named Mrs. Ketchum, comes in to the girls' restroom. Rather quickly, Tiffany hides the cigarette back in her purse and gets away without being caught. However, Mrs. Ketchum does know about the activity, and tells Kate that "Tiffany...has always been too smart for her own good."
All the while, Kate is staying in touch with her former friends back in Isla Nada, California, and asking Molly, a friend from California, about "Operation Defrost," a plan which involves Kate earning money for a plane ticket back to Isla Nada to stay with Molly's family until she graduates.
One day in mid-January, Kate becomes incensed when she finds out that, as revenge for allegedly tattling on Tiffany (who was suspended because Mrs. Ketchum "caught 'em"), Tiffany's friend slipped a package of cigarettes in her purse. When Kate is in the first grade girls' restroom washing her hands, Mr. Payne-in-the-neck walks in and Kate asks what is he doing there? Mr. Payne-in-the-neck asks what is she doing there? He asks to see the purse, and Kate gives a sigh of relief, because, of course, there is nothing in there that would get her suspended. But alas! There is! And it isn't hers! Of course, Mr. Payne-in-the-neck doesn't know that and asks her to come to his office. After arriving at the door to the principal's office, Kate thinks, passes it by, and walks right out of the school, running home as quickly as she can.
Looking at her watch, she realizes that she can still call Molly before she goes to school, due to the time difference. By 6:30pm Eastern Time, Kate is on a plane from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Isla Nada, California. Arriving in Los Angeles at 8:30pm Pacific Time, feeling very tired due to jet lag, Molly picks her up along with her former boyfriend.
How long will Kate be staying in Isla Nada before she is told that she must go back? Will it be the planned six and a half years? Six months? Or less than six minutes? Find out by reading the book!
Kate doesn't want to leave her best friend so she runs away. When she finds out that her cool surfer boyfriend is dating her bestfriend, she gets really mad.
I would recommend this book to anyone who has a sense of humor, especially if you are moving or have recently moved your family from one state to another. I moved from CA to MA (kind of like Kate) and found this book to be really funny because it kind of described some of the emotions I went through.
But I made it just fine (like Kate does) in the end.
Best of reading to ya!