Monday, May 02, 2011

Review: Jersey Tomatoes Are the Best

Jersey Tomatoes Are the Best
Maria Padian
2011; Knopf; ISBN 978-0-375-86579-4 (hardcover)

Summary: Henry and Eva are the best of friends, even though they have very different personalities.  Henry--don't call her Henriette--is a talented tennis player who wishes her dad/coach would ease up on the pressure.  Eva is a graceful ballerina who strives for control from her overbearing mother.  When they separate for the summer, for camp at a tennis academy and an intensive ballet program, these two Jersey tomatoes are determined for their friendship to remain strong even as they improve their skills.  While Henry finds her tennis game and her social life improving, Eva feels her future slipping away, especially when an accident reveals the lengths to which she has gone.  Eva needs her best friend more than she knows, and Henry will choose to value her friendship over tennis.

This novel in two voices showcases the strong personalities of Henry and Eva.  Henry's work to improve her tennis game by leaving behind trash talk is contrasted with Eva's desperate attempts to be the perfect, graceful, delicate ballerina.  Such contrast is done deftly, not descending into black and white simplicity.  Adding additional depth is the strong sense of place of the New Jersey setting and the authentic details of the competitive worlds of tennis and dance.  For fans of novels like A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend, point them towards Jersey Tomatoes Are the Best for another stirring friendship tale.

Other Reviews
Eve's Fan Garden:
Sarah Laurence:
Interview with Maria Padian at The Reading Zone:
My Words Ate Me:

1 comment:

MA said...

Hi Melissa,
Thanks for linking to my review on Eve's Fan Garden. I really liked Jersey Tomatoes Are The Best. I hope you and your followers will check out our site and we'll check out yours as well!