Book Review Wednesday: Jersey Tomatoes are the Best


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The summer 2012 Olympics in London are only weeks away. After the opening ceremonies, with its choreography and flames, the athletes will get down to doing what they do best– playing their sport. For most of them, it has been a lifetime of preparation and training. Before my son completed school this year, their class read an article about the olympic athletes and the teacher asked, “Do you think that the training the olympic athletes go through is worth it?”

Maria Padian’s Young Adult novel JERSEY TOMATOES ARE THE BEST gives readers an inside look at the training of two high-level female, best-friend, teen athletes. Henry (Henriette) is a tennis champ and Eva is a ballerina.

The book is told in alternating first person chapters with spot-on dialogue and voice unique to each character. Padian keeps the story moving forward, a difficult task with two narrators. She also captures the nuances of each sport beautifully with details that reveal a well-researched story.

The book is emotionally honest and at times, heart wrenching as Eva struggles with anorexia, Henry struggles to rediscover her love of the game, and both girls try to define themselves as separate from their “obnoxious parents.” The book, with themes of body image, family, sacrifice, secrets, and first love, is a thought provoking, page turner.

An amazing summer read. Don’t miss it!

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