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Are We There Yet?


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About the Author

David Levithan is a children's book editor in New York City. He lives in Hoboken, New Jersey.


Gr 9 Up-Danny Silver, 23, is a workaholic advertising executive; his laid-back, 17-year-old brother, Elijah, absolutely drives him wild with his untied sneakers and lack of focus. The teen, who once idolized his sibling, now feels that he would never want to be Danny. The brothers are tricked by their parents into vacationing together in Italy. They both dread the experience, believing that they have little in common. Once abroad, they tiptoe around one another, connecting when they're in museums together, a reminder of childhood occasions spent similarly with their mother and father. They both doubt that there is enough between them to rekindle a bond. And then Elijah has a chance encounter with a college dropout with whom he falls head over heels in love. When he introduces Julia to Danny, she finds that she's attracted to him, too, and that catapults Danny into a situation in which he has to determine his priorities. The insightful and gently humorous narration alternates between the thoughts and experiences of the two brothers. Teens will relate deeply to Elijah and gain insight into Danny's attitudes as well. Levithan, author of Boy Meets Boy (2003) and The Realm of Possibility (2004, both Knopf), gets better and better with each book. This novel will appeal to a broader audience than the earlier titles and is a priority choice. References to sexual behavior and marijuana and acid use are included.-Susan Riley, Mount Kisco Public Library, NY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

It is clear in this novel that Levithan (Boy Meets Boy) knows at least two things well: tourist spots worth visiting in Italy and the dynamics of fraternal relationships. Soon-to-be-high-school-senior Elijah and his successful businessman brother, Danny, have been tricked by their parents into taking a trip to Italy by themselves. The brothers, who have become distant over the years, dread the prospect of spending time together overseas. Elijah, who has an aversion to growing up, doesn't want to leave his boarding school friends, and Danny, who is becoming a rising star in advertising, doesn't want to miss work. Nonetheless, the boys agree to embark on a nine-day tour of Venice, Florence and Rome. As the book progresses, flashbacks from childhood juxtaposed against awkward moments abroad offer insight into how the brothers view each other, why they drifted apart and most importantly, offers proof that the bond between them still exists and becomes strengthened during the course of their travels. Elijah meets, loves and loses a girl from Canada; Danny reunites with a childhood friend. These two events prove to be pivotal in forcing both brothers to take stock of where they have been and where they are going with their lives. Introspective, moving and honest, this book expresses many dimensions of journey and love. Ages 14-up. (Aug.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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