ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Renee Riva writes humorous stories with a message, for both children and adults. Having been raised in a large Italian family with a great sense of humor, she has much to draw from for developing quirky characters.
She loves sharing her secrets for story starters at Young Author events, helping to spark the imagination of young minds. Renee and her husband live in Richland, Washington, with their three daughters, a dog, a cat, and until recently, her beloved hamster—may she rest in peace.
ABOUT THE BOOK
A. J. Degulio loved the idea of a visit to the Old Country... until her family decided to stay. It's 1972 and she's turning fourteen in a crumbling castle on a hill in Tuscany, wishing she were back in Idaho with her beloved dog, Sailor. In Italy, her blonde hair makes her stick out like a vanilla wafer in a box of chocolate biscotti, and she's so lonely her best friend is a nun from the local convent.
The challenges of roots and relatives are nothing new to A. J., but she's going to need more than the famous Degulio sense of humor to survive. Can't anyone see that Italy isn't really home? It will take a catastrophe - and a few wise words from a friend - for A. J. to understand that sometimes the only thing you can change is your perspective.
If you would like to read the first chapter of Taking Tuscany, go HERE
The whole time I was reading this, and loving it, I felt like it was reminding me of another wonderful and delightful book. Then it hit me: This book is a delightful coming-of-age story that reminds me of a bit lighter version of I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith.
I whipped through this book quickly. It was very difficult to put down! I truly, truly enjoyed it. It was delightful, laugh-aloud funny, and poignant. It has a lovable, likeable protagonist, letters, a dog (and a horse), quirky family members, and even a few nuns.
This is the first CFBA book I'll be passing along to my daughter, who will be thirteen in the fall. I think she'll find a lot to relate to in this lovely novel.
I have never read any of Renee Riva's books before. This book is a sequel to Saving Sailor, but I was not lost without reading the first book. (I will, however, be reading it when I can get my hands on a copy!)