Jersey Tomatoes are the Best by Maria Padian
Knopf Books for Young Readers, March 8, 2011
Read for A-Z Reading Challenge
Summary from Goodreads:
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 dance floor.
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.
This was a very moving novel. Of course I picked it up because it's a NJ teens read, and it's one I definitely want to add to the booklist I created for my library. But, it's not a light, fluffy novel...this is powerful stuff. This is a novel about the tests and triumphs of friendship. Henry is in tennis camp in Florida for the summer and Eva is at a dance academy in New York. The pair realizes that the separation will strain their relationship, but are confident that their friendship will endure. When Eva's health starts to deteriorate as she strives to become the perfect ballerina, however, the girls' friendship begins to crack. Will they be able to repair it before it shatters completely?
I felt this was a very touching novel dealing with family and boys, yes, but friendship above all else. You'll be rooting for Henry and Eva from the first chapter.
Borrowed book from the library.
Enjoy your reading!