How to Ruin My Teenage Life (2007) is the second book in a trilogy about teenager Amy Nelson Barak from Simone Elkeles.
From the publisher:
In this sequel to How to Ruin a Summer Vacation, EVERYTHING in sixteen-year-old Amy Nelson Barak’s life is going wrong! Her mom got married and moved to the suburbs, and now they are going to have a baby. Amy moves in with her dad in Chicago and signs him up for an online dating service. His first four dates are that night . . .
What else? Her dog Mutt impregnated her grumpy neighbor’s prized poodle, so Amy will actually have to get a part-time job to pay for half the veterinary bill. And there’s this totally annoying boy, Nathan Rubin, who just moved into her apartment building. Luckily, Amy has a cute boyfriend named Avi. Only he’s more like a non-boyfriend considering Avi is in the Israeli army for the next three years.
What’s a girl to do when everyone is conspiring to ruin her life?
While not quite as interesting as watching Amy's culture shock during her visit to meet her father's side of the family in Israel in the first book, there's definitely more room for new learning and growth in this book due to Amy's adjustment to life with her father. And Elkeles definitely brings a great deal of charm and warmth to Amy's perspective on living through the teen years!
A bit of a warning to fans of Elkeles' Perfect Chemistry, though, in that the "Amy books" are vastly different from the books about the Fuentes brothers. This series lacks the edginess, yet also covers serious ground while remaining fun. Amy's perspective is much lighter, yet no less real.
Posting coming soon on the final book in the trilogy, How to Ruin My Boyfriend's Reputation, with Amy heading back to Israel.
My overall personal rating of How to Ruin My Teenage Life is a B.