For ages 8 to 12
Simon and Schuster, 2006, 978-1469-0906-4
Amelia, her mother, and her big sister Chloe are driving from their home in Oregon to the Grand Canyon, stopping along the way to see a ghost town, Death Valley, Manzanar, Mono Lake, and Yosemite. Though Amelia is looking forward to seeing these places, perhaps most of all she is looking forward to visiting her friend Nadia, who lives in California. Amelia will be staying with her for a few days on the way home.
The first few days of the trip are a trial. Being in close quarters with Chloe is a challenging under the best of circumstances. Being in close quarters with her when she is being car sick is almost unbearable. Amelia cannot help wishing that Chloe was somewhere else, anywhere else in fact.
Despite Chloe and her annoying habits there are a few bright moments during the journey to the Grand Canyon. When they stop for dinner at a diner, Amelia not only gets to eat some fantastic food, but she and Chloe have fun listening to real records that are being played on the old fashioned juke box. Staying at motels is fun too, but all the driving is driving Amelia “crazy.” Can the Grand Canyon be worth all this boredom?
Amelia soon discovers that the Grand Canyon is definitely worth visiting. She is amazed at how huge and how beautiful the place is, and she makes friends with a nice boy from Japan who is visiting America. She buys gifts for her friends and sends them postcards.
One thing that Amelia cannot help worrying about is whether Nadia will still be the Nadia that Amelia was best friends with a year ago. What if Nadia has changed, and what if they don’t have anything in common anymore?
In this splendid Amelia journal, Marissa Moss gives her readers a perfect picture of Amelia’s summer vacation road trip. We get to experience the high and the low moments. We share in Amelia’s enthusiasm for the things she sees, and the anxiety she feels about her upcoming reunion with her former best friend.
Written in the chatty vernacular of a ten-year-old, the journal is handwritten, and it is packed with Amelia’s drawings and doodles, many of which are amusing.