Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Jersey Tomatoes are the Best: By Maria Padian



This is a hilarious and heartbreaking story of two teen girls and the summer when everything changes for them. Both Henry and Eva are New Jersey natives and excellent athletes: Henry's a master on the tennis court and Eva is a graceful ballerina. When opportunity knocks for both of them the summer before their junior year in high school they throw open the door: Henry sees freedom from her overbearing father and a chance to build her talents on the court. Eva sees the chance to be the best as well as even more pressure to be graceful, lighter, more perfect on the dancefloor.

Soon, Eva's obsession with physical perfection leads her down the path to anorexia, and her health issues overwhelm everything else. But through it all these two best friends know that Jersey Tomatoes are the Best, and nothing will come between them no matter the distance.


There’s a reason Maria Padian’s first novel Brett McCarthy: Work in Progress was chosen by the ALA and YALSA as one of the Best Books for Young Adults in 2009. Because she’s an amazing author. Now with her next book, Jersey Tomatoes are the Best, Padian takes on the issues of stage parenting, anorexia, and friendship. These may sound like huge issues, and they are, but Padian masterfully maneuvers through them, using each of these issues to spur on the growth of her characters and the story itself.

Of course while Padian does a fantastic job bringing up hard hitting issues, what was even more impressive to me were the characters. Henry and Eva are sensational protagonists. Padian has each of them grow and develop in such a way that it feels organic and natural. As if you’re just watching your own friends grow up and change. Not only that but the dialog and writing in general were fantastic. In my opinion, on par with some of the best in the business (John Green, Jordan Sonnenblick, Pete Hautman, ect.)

All in all the writing was fantastic, the characters well developed, and the story engaging and entertaining. I personally don’t think there’s much more that you can ask of a book/author. Therefore I would recommend this book to anyone (…well maybe not kids in elementary school). But it will certainly connect with audiences of all ages as readers come to love Henry and Eva just as much as I did.


10 out of 10


Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers

Published: March 8, 2011

Price: $16.99

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