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DNF Review: Sophomore Year Is Greek to Me by Meredith Zeitlin

Friday, April 24, 2015

Sophomore Year is Greek to Me
Meredith Zeitlin

Genre: Contemporary, Foreign Country
Hardback: 336 Pages
Publication: April 21, 2015
by Putnam

High school sophomore Zona Lowell has lived in New York City her whole life, and plans to follow in the footsteps of her renowned-journalist father. But when he announces they’re moving to Athens for six months so he can work on an important new story, she's devastated— he must have an ulterior motive. See, when Zona's mother married an American, her huge Greek family cut off contact. But Zona never knew her mom, and now she’s supposed to uproot her entire life and meet possibly hostile relatives on their turf? Thanks... but no thanks.

In the vein of Anna and the French Kiss, Zona navigates a series of hilarious escapades, eye-opening revelations, and unexpected reunions in a foreign country—all while documenting the trip through one-of-a-kind commentary.


The premise to Sophomore Year Is Greek to Me definitely holds potential for laugh-out-loud moments. After seeing the comparison to Anna and the French Kiss, I went and reread some of Anna. The tone of voice and situation of both girls seem similar, and I think that readers who enjoyed Anna may enjoy Sophomore Year as well.

Zona's voice is snarky, rebellious, and a total teenager. A common voice in YA lit. The plus is that readers who like heroines along Zona's vein will be able to connect with her. That said, there is another side to this coin. Readers looking for a unique voice will find it a struggle to get past the first pages. While I loved Anna when it first came out, I've since read a lot of novels with the snarky voice, and I think that I wouldn't enjoy Anna as much if I tried to reread it. Now, there's nothing inherently wrong with snark. The problem is when the heroine is made of only snark; then her character remains one dimensional. Zona is one such character.

Another element of Sophomore Year that caused the story to fall flat for me is that most of the story is told through dialogue and Zona's thoughts. While actions are mentioned, I couldn't see events play out. It just didn't feel like much attention was given to the going ons. Rather, the focus of the story is on what the characters say and what goes on in Zona's mind. Furthermore, the story is broken up by article clippings that contribute to Zona's story. This is a clever addition to the story because of Zona's (and her father's) interest in journaling. Personally, I didn't like it, but I'm generally not fond of newspaper talk.

Aside: I think that it's pretty neat that Meredith's first novel was about freshman year while this second novel of hers is about sophomore year. Perhaps her third one will continue the high school story and be about a girl's junior year?

A copy was provided by Penguin Random House for review

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** Content warnings are from the parts of the novel that I read and may not reflect the entirety of the novel **

4 comments on "DNF Review: Sophomore Year Is Greek to Me by Meredith Zeitlin"
  1. I'm sorry it didn't work out for you
    Ruty @Reading...Dreaming

  2. Sorry to hear this was a DNF for you. It's one that I'm looking forward to reading in the future, but I totally agree with the abundance of snarky voices in YA. I've had issues with it in a few books lately too. Great review.

    1. Thanks, Jillyn! It's great to hear that I'm not the only one that's been having issues with snarky voices!


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