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AND WE'RE OFF by Dana Schwartz


by Dana Schwartz

Pub Date: May 2nd, 2017
ISBN: 978-0-448-49381-7
Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Seventeen-year-old Nora Parker-Holmes has only one obstacle to her upcoming European grand tour: her mother, “five foot three inches tall, newly minted paralegal, and parental nightmare.”

The white teen’s artist grandfather has prepared a treasure hunt for her with clues to various artworks in different European cities. Nora is excited to go abroad for the first time and to pursue her dream of becoming a great artist, but her enjoyment is cut short by her mother’s insistence on accompanying her and micromanaging her every move. Her mother regards art as a disposable hobby and strongly discourages Nora from pursuing it—which makes Nora more determined than ever to succeed. She finally comes into her own during an intensive art course in rural Ireland, where her social life perks up considerably when she meets a charming Irish white boy and his friends. Rapprochement between mother and daughter comes in Florence, in front of a painting of her grandfather’s that incorporates Nora’s fan-fiction cartoons. In a satisfying conclusion, Nora’s ambition is vindicated in her mother’s eyes, and mother and daughter learn to appreciate each other for who they truly are. Nora’s first-person narration does not particularly stand out from the crowd, but her artistic bent gives her character some individuality, and it’s hard to beat a European holiday for vicarious fun

The up-to-the-minute details about travel in Europe make this an engaging, enjoyable, and even informational read.

(Fiction. 14-18)