June Book Group Read: Lea Dives In

Hello everybody! I hope you all are enjoying your summer so far. I realize that summer doesn’t officially start until next week, but tell that to Mother Nature. It’s been very hot here for the past few days and supposed to stay that way for a few more. Much more like July weather instead of June. But rather appropriate since we are talking about a book set in Brazil!

I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this book, but truthfully, I enjoyed it way more than I ever thought I would. First off, Lea is into photography, an area that is very close to my heart! And she was heading to somewhere in South America, and I’ve had a fascination with Mexico, Latin and South America ever since my 6th grade history course where we studied it in depth. So right off the bat, things were heading in the right direction.

First, we’ll start off with the things I didn’t like. I’m still not fond of the fact that we have these kids trekking off to foreign destinations all the time when there is so much within the United States that they could see and do, plus it would be a good way to learn some more history of our country. I was also very annoyed with American Girl initially promoting her as being a girl from Brazil, but when the book came out, we learn she is only 1/8 Brazilian. I’m a larger percentage of Irish than that, yet I don’t go around identifying as such! I’m hoping if American Girl has learned nothing else over this past year, they will quit trying to sweep ethnicity under the rug. I don’t understand why, especially with the GOTY line, they are so afraid of trying to show some diversity. This was a poor excuse of trying to be ethnically aware if you ask me.

The other thing that bugged me was the professions of her parents. Her mom is an architect and her dad is a college professor. Ring any bells???? I immediately thought of Lanie, same scenario exactly! Why they had to recycle this when it really had no bearing on the outcome of the story is beyond me. Can’t anyone come up with anything original anymore?

The good parts–right off the bat I was thrilled that we didn’t have to start off with an antagonistic character in the book. In fact, there wasn’t one period, other than the issues with her brother. And I loved how that was all handled, very realistic. As a youngest sibling, I can relate to how it feels when an older one leaves home and you feel left behind. I also loved how the story tied present time events with the things she read in her grandmother’s journal. I thought it was a great way to bring everything full circle with the compass and the camera. I also loved her description of the ocean as it was spot on. I remember being completely in awe of the turquoise color of the Caribbean last year when we went to Mexico.

My favorite part was her blossoming friendship with Camila and how they ended the book with the two of them with the dress and then later at the festival. I haven’t read the other books yet, so I don’t yet know how much more we see of Camila in this series, but I much preferred their interaction over some of the other Girl Of The Year books.

Overall, I really liked the book, and was pleasantly surprised with how it all turned out. We had conflict, but not so much nastiness and hatred like Isabella. We had an exciting event and Lea discovering all sorts of challenges that she needed to overcome. I won’t give anything away just in case you haven’t read it yet, but I would definitely recommend this book over some of the other GOTY ones I’ve read. This book is slightly longer than other American Girl books which gave more opportunity to expand the story which was a big plus. And to think I wasn’t a huge Lea fan initially!

Did you like Lea Dives In? Can’t wait to hear everyone’s opinions.