Sunday, July 22, 2012

My Name is Olivia...and I Can't Do Anything About It by Jowi Schmitz

There are some big problems in Olivia's life. Her mother is dead. Her father isn't coping very well. They've moved away from her grandparents. They live on a boat behind her Dad's barbershop. It's a boat that's set up on land, not water. And...her name is Olivia. Life is not easy for Olivia, but she's determined to make things work.

There was something that stopped me from really getting into this book. I think it might have been the fact that it was a translation. I was very aware of barrier, invisible layers that kept me from connecting with Olivia and the other characters. The original language (Dutch) has a different pattern, phrases, and jokes than in English. While I didn't have strong feelings for the story, I could definitely appreciate it. Olivia is a smart, funny girl who is struggling with having to be a grown-up when she also wants to be the kid. She has to rely on herself, because relying on anyone else (including her father) would be too dangerous. This book just needs the right reader to make it truly come alive. I think with smart marketing (including the picture of a girl on the cover of the book, which immediately grounds it in reality) and handselling (in stores, libraries, and online) by people who really loved the book, it could definitely find an audience in North America.

I received a review copy from NetGalley courtesy of Lemniscaat USA.

Find it at IndieBound. 

Read it with:
Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
Love, Aubrey by Suzanne M. LaFleur
Milo: Sticky Notes and Brain Freeze by Alan Silberberg

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