Release Date: May 10, 2011 (today!)
Source of my copy: publisher
Synopsis (from Goodreads--click on cover)
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.
OyMG is the story of Ellie Taylor, who desperately wants to attend Benedict's Conservatory of Arts and Academics, a private school that has the best speech program in the country. Her ticket there is impressing Doris Yeats and winning the scholarship awarded by Mrs. Yeats every summer at Christian Society Speech and Performing Arts summer camp. Ellie knows she's good at her oratory event and can argue with the best of them, she just needs to show Mrs. Yeats what she's capable of. But when she finds out that Mrs. Yeats is prejudice against Jews, Ellie finds herself in a dilemma. She may be half Christian in her dad's side but she's raised a Jew and to win the scholarship she finds herself hiding her heritage from Mrs. Yeats. Is hiding one's true identity worth it when it comes to realizing your dreams?
OyMG is the debut novel of Amy Fellner Dominy and she is an author to look out for in the future. I really enjoyed OyMG because not only are we treated to relatable themes, humor, characters and situations but I love the author's writing and the overall readability of the novel--it flowed well and the author has an easy style of writing that appealed to me. I was sucked in by Ellie's predicament and I totally related--there were many times especially when I was younger (and even now when I'm older) where I hid something important about myself in order to fit in and felt guilty afterward. Really, I think everyone has been in Ellie's situation once or twice in their life. I like the different relationships in the novels, from Ellie and her zeydeh (Jewish grandfather) to Ellie and Devon (the love interest and Mrs. Yeats's grandson)--little romance between them is sweet and cute. And I like that the end is not tied up neatly, which made the novel realistic, but it was satisfying.
Overall, I really enjoyed this OyMG--it's a quick read with great characters, plot and writing. Ellie is very relatable and her character will appeal to middle-grade readers and older. I think it's a great conversation starter about religion, questions of identity, family and following one's dreams at the expense of identity. I pretty much devoured this book in one day, it's fantastic and I highly recommend it! 4 out of 5 stars