Publishers Weekly Review
For the audio edition, voice actor Fortgang adds realism to the mother-daughter dynamic at the center of Schwartz's debut novel. Aspiring artist Nora, age 17, is thrilled to be accepted into a prestigious summer program for young artists in Ireland, and even more thrilled when her grandfather, a well-known professional artist, pays for her to take a trip around Europe in the weeks leading up to the program. In addition to looking forward to immersing herself in art, Nora can't wait to get away from her mother, who is unsupportive of her art and has been negative, nagging, and argumentative since Nora's father left her and recently remarried. Unfortunately for Nora, at the last minute her mother decides to join in on her dream vacation. Reader Fortgang captures both the youthful frustration of a teenager yearning to be independent and the jadedness of a middle-aged mother whose life did not turn out the way she'd hoped. She is most impressive during the many arguments between mother and daughter, who they bicker their way through Paris, Amsterdam, and Ireland. Fortgang bounces back and forth between characters so effortlessly that it sounds as if two actors are providing the dialogue. Fortgang is also adept at accents, creating distinctive voices for Scottish, Irish, and Australian characters. Her lively and entertaining narration makes this fun story even more of a treat to listen to. Ages 12-up. A Razorbill hardcover. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Library Journal Review
Gr 9 Up-Seventeen-year-old Nora Holmes earns a spot at a prestigious Irish art program and sells her fan art on Tumblr to raise money for herself so that she can really enjoy her European excursion. Chock-full of teen angst over a first love, parental control, and long-distance friendship, this tale depicts Nora's excitement as she prepares for the best summer of her life. But when she is at the airport about to go through baggage check, her mother rushes up to her, making a last-minute decision to accompany her daughter. The novel could have delved more deeply into some of the side plots-why her grandfather, a world-renowned artist, is paying for her to travel to designated countries and requires a drawing from each visit, or why her best friend is now dating her ex-boyfriend, or why she is so bitterly antagonistic toward her mother. The potential is there for a great story, but it comes up short in connecting the threads in the end. VERDICT Despite its flaws, this is an entertaining book and a solid summer listen. ["The protagonist's ever-present worries and frustrations are nicely balanced with dry humor, delightful description, and a little bit of naughty pleasure": SLJ 5/17 review of the Razorbill book.]-Sheila Acosta, San Antonio Public Library © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Booklist Review
Nora Parker-Holmes just wants to make art, whether it's commissioned fan-art cartoons or portraits at design school. When she's accepted into the selective Donegal Colony for Young Artists, she celebrates even as she worries that it's the reputation of her grandfather, a notable modern painter, that gave her the chance. Said grandfather encourages Nora, sending her off on a European tour before she begins her program in Ireland. But Nora's plans for an independent, art-filled summer also a chance to forget the boy who broke her heart are derailed when her divorced, less-than-supportive mother decides to come along for the ride. How is Nora supposed to tap into her wild, artistic side when she's supposed to bond? Observer writer Schwartz, known for several Twitter parody accounts, brings her trademark dry wit to her first novel. Nora's European adventures, very real fears, and endlessly entertaining narration keep this exploration of what it means to be a creator, a friend, and a daughter firmly grounded, and readers will be happy to come along for the ride.--Reagan, Maggie Copyright 2017 Booklist