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High Dive by Tammar Stein
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High Dive

by Tammar Stein

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Arden Vogel is 19 and an Army brat, moving every few years. She last lived in Germany and now attends Vanderbilt University in Nashville. Her mother is a nurse, deployed to Iraq. Her father was killed in an auto accident three years earlier. Arden's only contact with her mother is two 15-minute phone calls a week and their daily e-mails. In between those communications, she doesn't know whether or not her mother is alive.

During their honeymoon, her parents bought a vacation home on the island of Sardinia. With her father's death, her mother decided to sell the house because it doesn't mean what it used to mean. Since her mother is overseas, it is left to Arden to clean out the house. On her flight to Italy, she meets up with three girls attending the University of Texas who are touring Europe for the summer. They invite her to join them in France, which, uncharacteristically she does.

Since her father's death, Arden has become more withdrawn, not making friends as easily as she did prior to his death. During her stay in France with Lola, Kate and Madison, she feels more and more of an outsider. After an argument with Lola, Arden departs for Sardinia without saying goodbye.

Stein, author of the well written Light Years, has tackled the topic of children whose parents are deployed in war zones. Readers will feel Arden's uncertainty and fear for her mother, especially since her father died. They can understand her solitude, her feelings of being an outsider but wanting friends and love and family. Stein does a nice job of illustrating that all people have issues of one sort or another, inlcuding the three Texans, who appear to live ideal lives. The characters and diologue are realistic.

Tammar Stein is an author to watch and whose books should be on school and personal reading lists. ( )
  EdGoldberg | Aug 24, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375830243, Hardcover)

Arden has a plane ticket to Sardinia to say goodbye to her family’s beloved vacation home after her father’s sudden death and her mother’s deployment to Iraq as an army nurse. Lonely for her father and petrified for her mother’s safety, Arden dreads her trip to the house in Sardinia—the only place that has truly felt like home to her. So when she meets a group of fun, carefree, and careless friends on their summer break, she decides to put off her trip and join them to sample the sights and culinary delights of Europe. Soon they are climbing the Eiffel Tower, taking in the French countryside on a train chugging toward the Alps, and gazing at Michelangelo’s David in Florence, all the while eating gelato and sipping cappuccino. Arden tries to forget about the danger her mom faces every day, to pretend she’s just like the rest of the girls, flirting with cute European guys and worried only about where to party next.
But the house in Sardinia beckons and she has to make a choice. Is Arden ready to jump off the high dive?

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:37:52 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

With her mother stationed in Iraq as an Army nurse, Vanderbilt University student Arden Vogel, whose father was killed in a traffic accident a few years earlier, impulsively ends up on a tour of Europe with a group of college girls she meets on her way to attend to some family business in Sardinia.… (more)

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