“The phone rings at an ungodly hour. Elijah looks at the blur of his clock as he reaches for the sound. Eleven in the morning on a Saturday. Who can be calling him at eleven in the morning on a Saturday? Cal, his best friend, stirs from somewhere on the floor. Elijah picks up the phone an murmurs a greeting.
‘Oh goodness, did I wake you?’ Elijah’s mother asks, her voice so much louder than the dream he’d been having.
‘No, no,’ he says, disguising his own voice to sound awake. ‘Not at all.’
‘Good, because I have some great news for you… ‘“
It’s safe to say that the only thing in common Elijah and Danny have is the same aprents and the same childhood home. Seven years separates them and thats an awful long time. There were a few years shared very early on that they can look fondly on but for most of their lives Danny has just been a grumpy older brother and Elijah the favourite child in his brothers eyes. Then a journey set up by their mother sweeps them up in the romance, wonder and breathtaking beauty of Italy and once there the two of them hit a fair few bumps. Can Italy remind the pair what it was like to be more than brothers and let them become friends once more?
As soon as you open Are We There Yet? you can see that the two characters have their own very unique lifestyles, unique from each other than is. Elijah is nearing his final year at High School whereas Danny is a well on his way up the career ladder in his advertising job in the city. Elijah stays up until early morning and sleeps until past noon whereas Danny is tucked up in bed for midnight, unless he’s in the office that is. So chucking them together for a holiday for nine days might not have been the best move and it kicks off a brilliantly enlightening story of growing up, growing apart and becoming something other than what you always thought you were.
I loved how much this book allowed us to see into the future, both main characters were on the cusp of something and I especially loved how this was a YA book that featured an older Young Adult. 23 isn’t old, it isn’t young either and its so easy to think, as a teenager, that you would have everything figured out by that age. Danny hasn’t got everything figured out, he concentrates too much on work and not enough on actually living, in that sense he can learn a thing or two from Elijah, if he let himself. Elijah is on the cusp of growing up once and for all, he has college applications but his life is good and he is living. In Danny he sees what he doesn’t want to be, a workaholic and a fusspot, but he also sees a good guy who does things for the best.
The writing in David Levithan’s books is always incredible and always takes me on a journey, I love the way he puts words together and how he links things. Are We There Yet? is no exception and there are a fair few lines which I thought were incredible, especially one section about living and life and how they are two different things.
The brothers learned a lot in this book and the character of Julia was a staple part of it. I have to admit I thought Julia was a little too floaty for either of them and I probably wouldn’t have liked her if she was a real person I met in the street. I could see the attraction from both of the boys’ points of view though and I loved how they both liked her for different things. I also liked the inclusion of other characters and even the very minor ones like the guy who owned the Venice restaurant, the bride in the Piazza Navona and the woman in the street in Rome, really brought something to those pages.
There was a lot I liked about this book, it read really well and set of my wonderlove for Italy in a major way. There isn’t a great deal of action but that makes it the perfect summer holiday companion and I can easily see how reading this on a plane would make for a great start to any holiday.
Are We There Yet? was first published in 2007 and has recently been re-published by MacMillan Children’s Books. My copy was sent from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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