Author: Amy Fellner Dominy
Publisher: Walker &amp; Company
Pages: Hardcover; 256
Release Date: May 10, 2011
Intended Reading Group:
4 Keys to My Heart
Jewish girl. Christian camp. Holy moly.
Ellie Taylor loves nothing better than a good argument. So when she gets accepted to the Christian Society Speech and Performing Arts summer camp, she's sure that if she wins the final tournament, it'll be her ticket to a scholarship to the best speech school in the country. Unfortunately, the competition at CSSPA is hot-literally. His name is Devon and, whether she likes it or not, being near him makes her sizzle. Luckily she's confident enough to take on the challenge-until she begins to suspect that the private scholarship's benefactor has negative feelings toward Jews. Will hiding her true identity and heritage be worth a shot at her dream?
Debut author Amy Fellner Dominy mixes sweet romance, surprising secrets, and even some matzo ball soup to cook up a funny yet heartfelt story about an outspoken girl who must learn to speak out for herself.
What first interested me about Amy Fellner Dominy's book was its ties to speech and debate. I'll admit it. I was the girl in high school who joined the club, lived at mock trial, spent her days arguing for or against anything they asked me to! I loved the high stress atmosphere and the good natured competition that came along with it. So when I saw that OyMG was about Ellie's life as an orator, I knew I was in. Plain and simple. Little did I know that I'd be sucked in ever further. This book is so much more than it seems to be!
From the beginning I was drawn in by Ellie's wit and ability to talk her way through anything that came her way. She is the perfect mixture of sweet, sensible, and downright fierce when it comes to competition. I loved how she was so driven to accomplish her goal of getting into the school she wanted. Despite her age, Ellie knew what she wanted and she was going for it. I so respected her for that. Then when Devon comes on the scene, things get cute and I was even more invested. Ellie is my kind of girl!
However I was only in love with Ellie at that point. The story was fun and sweet, but that's all it felt like to me. An enjoyable read. Until the second half of the book that is. Enter Devon's grandmother and her antiquated views. Without spoiling anything, I'll let you know that she drove me mad. I know that is what Dominy intended, but wow. Anyhow Ellie's struggle from that point on is what really really made me like this book. I saw the two halves of her life at war. The portion of her that knows what is right, warring with the part of her that is so goal driven. It was amazing. To see that struggle down on paper made me smile, because there are so many people out there who need to know that prejudice still exists, even today.
Lest I let Ellie overshadow the other characters, I'll fully admit that they are all fantastic! By far Ellie's zeydeh (grandfather) was my absolute favorite. Spouting Yiddish sayings, keeping Ellie thinking about the "right" path, he was such a vivid character. I think people from all religions and backgrounds will find a little of their own grandfather in him, and I loved him for that. He definitely made this book that much more fun for me to read.
I really enjoyed reading OyMG. I can't put my finger on what kept it from being a five rating for me, it could be as simple as the time I read it. However I can say that it was a book I thoroughly enjoyed and recommend! Ellie's wit, her zeydeh's humor, a little bit of romance, it all blends into a book that is a fun and meaningful read. I say give it a shot! Ellie might argue her way right into your heart.
FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.