Sophomore Year Is Greek To Me

Dare I say this young adult novel can be both entertaining and educational?  Sophomore Year Is Greek To Me is Meredith Zeitlin’s second young adult novel.  Though the first one is titled with a reference to “Freshman Year”, this is not a sequel.  In this story young Zona Lowell is leaving her beloved New York City lifestyle to be a new student in an international school in Greece while her father does research to write a book.  Zona herself is an investigative writer for her school newspaper, and while she has to let that be maintained by her friends back in the states, Zona throws in plot moving newspaper article inserts throughout the book.  Reading them is mandatory to make sure one doesn’t miss interesting plot points and character insights.  Zona will adjust to life meeting new friends, chasing after a “crush” who wasn’t all that, and settling into a friendly happiness with a boy that just gets her.  But the connection to Greece is not just by chance.  Zona’s departed mother was Greek and Zona has never met her mother’s side of the family. The whole climax of the story involves Zona going to stay with her Greek relatives by herself for the two week Easter holiday break from school.  Not only is this educational and foundational for Zona, but readers can learn a thing or two about Greek Orthodox Easter celebrations and Greek family structure.  I’d be curious what research path Zeitlin took because this reader would have liked to have tagged along.  A charming 15 turning 16 year old, coming of culture novel that girls as young at 7th grade might enjoy.  This stand alone is probably an additional purchase for most school libraries.