Monday, May 11, 2009

Taking Tuscany by Renee Riva - REVIEWED

About the Book:

A. J. Degulio loved the idea of a visit to the Old Country . until her family decided to stay.

Now it's 1972 and she's turning fourteen in a crumbling castle on a hill in Tuscany, wishing she were back in Idaho with her beloved dog, Sailor. In Italy, her fair complexion and blonde hair makes her stick out like a vanilla wafer in a box of chocolate biscotti, and she's so lonely her best friend is a nun from the local convent. What's worse, her grandma's losing her marbles and Mama's going crazy over Uncle Nick's ugly blue villa, which she can see from every window.

The challenges of roots and relatives are nothing new to A. J.-you can read about the summer she turned ten in Saving Sailor-but factor in language, culture shock, and a bad case of homesickness, and A. J.'s going to need more than the famous Degulio sense of humor to survive. Can't anyone see that Italy isn't really home? It will take a catastrophe-and a few wise words from a friend-for A. J. to understand that sometimes the only thing you can change is your perspective.


"Meraviglioso! Marvelous." (p. 153)

Rinee Riva has captured my heart with her novel, Taking Tuscany! This story may be marketed for young adults, but there is much here for adults to enjoy as well. Taking Tuscany is a precious story of growing up, family dynamics, friendship and much more!

A.J. finds herslef turning fourteen in the hills of Tuscany. With lots of family, but few friends her own age, A.J. finds most of her companionship with a horse names Ceasar and a dog named Napoleon. When she befriends some nuns in a nearby abby, A.J. begins to learn some of life's lessons in a very unique way. And by the time her mom goes head to head with a girl who seems to thrive on tromenting A.J., things have gone way beyond interesting!

I absolutely adored this book! A.J. reminded me a lot of myself at that age, and I laughed and cried with her as she tried to find her way in a very foreign environment. I especially loved her version of Hounds of Heaven! Brilliant! Now I am more than eager for the next book Heading Home!

If you have teen readers, you MUST introduce them to Renee Riva! Purchase Taking Tuscany today!


Renee Riva has been writing humorous stories since she won a writing contest in second grade. Her two previous titles Izzy the Lizzy and Guido's Gondola both published by WaterBrook Press in May of 2005 and met with instant success—over 4000 sold in four months.

Additionally, Riva is a former greeting card verse writer as well as a speaker for women's groups and Young Authors. She and her husband reside in Richland, Washington with their three daughters.

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