Reviews for Are We There Yet?
Booklist Reviews 2005 May #2
Gr. 10-12. Elijah and Danny are brothers who have grown apart. Elijah is a mellow, kind, live-in-the-moment, pot-smoking teen who likes to wonder about things and to wander without a plan. Danny, six years Elijah's senior, is a young up-and-comer with a prestigious New York law firm, who dresses meticulously and exerts a rigid control both on his own life and on the lives of those around him. In an attempt to draw their sons back together, the boys' parents arrange a vacation to Italy. But the appearance of a girl who may have the power to separate the two brothers even further means the trip may not reach its intended goal. Levithan's latest is a stylized, pensive, almost mournful piece that outwardly travels through three of Italy's most famed cities but is focused almost exclusively on the interior landscapes of two uniquely sympathetic young men. At times overly self-aware, the book's literary complexity and minimal action make this a title for older readers attracted to mature psychological and philosophical perspectives. ((Reviewed May 15, 2005)) Copyright 2005 Booklist Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2006 Spring
Tricked by their parents into going to Italy together, brothers Danny and Elijah are forced to reexamine their damaged relationship and overcome their differences. Childhood flashbacks combined with alternating narratives provide some backstory and chronicle how things fell apart. An honest and moving tale with a vividly real setting, this is Levithan's most accessible novel yet. Copyright 2006 Horn Book Guide Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2005 July #1
Danny and Elijah are brothers who seem to have nothing more in common than parents and gender. Elijah is a free-spirited thinker heading into his last year at a private coed high school, and Danny is a type-A, up-and-coming ad executive. In an attempt to warm their relationship, their parents trick the two into taking a trip to Italy together. Elijah falls for-and beds-an older woman who is really more interested in Danny. Danny toys with the idea of pursuing her, but he becomes completely turned off by the way she treats his brother. Heartbreak, a walk down memory lane and a shared Jewish heritage bring the boys together to a believable degree as they return to their lives in the States. Levithan works his magic creating two real and round narrators in a series of poetic vignettes. The alternating point of view not only fleshes out the brothers and their relationship, it also keeps the simple story moving. Obviously written or at least set before the Iraq war, this beautiful glimpse of fraternal love will be at home in any public library's YA section. (Fiction. YA) Copyright Kirkus 2005 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.
Library Media Connection Reviews 2005 August/September
Elijah has no plans for the summer before his senior year until his mother calls. She and his father cannot use their tickets to Italy, so Elijah and his brother Danny will have to go. Danny, the 23-year-old wonderkid of a mid-town marketing firm, is being forced to take vacation time anyway, so he might as well use his parents' tickets. But how will two very different brothers who can barely hold a conversation together over dinner survive traveling together? Danny, concerned with missing something, plans to arrive "well Frommered," while for Elijah, discovery of the unexpected is the joy of traveling. While the two brothers try to compromise, each also feels strongly enough about what he wants to see to strike out on his own. When Elijah discovers Julia, he hesitates to tell Danny. And when the two brothers' differences come to a full boil, it is to Julia that Elijah escapes. And in that vacuum without his brother, Danny is forced to examine how they have grown so far apart and whether his own career rise has caused him to sacrifice what he values. While the brothers' relationship is strained, it is a fundamental misunderstanding of how these two brothers approach the world that is fueling the conflict, not a lack of love. Levithan's insights into traveling lyrically describe many travelers' experiences of discovery and adventure. Suggestive romance and marijuana use as well as contextual references of art and religion place this title for more mature teen readers. Highly Recommended. Melissa Bergin, Library Media Specialist, Niskayuna (New York) High School © 2005 Linworth Publishing, Inc.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2005 August #4
It is clear in this novel that Levithan (Boy Meets Boy ) knows at least two things well: tourist spots worth visiting in Italy and the dynamics of fraternal relationships. Soon-to-be-high-school-senior Elijah and his successful businessman brother, Danny, have been tricked by their parents into taking a trip to Italy by themselves. The brothers, who have become distant over the years, dread the prospect of spending time together overseas. Elijah, who has an aversion to growing up, doesn't want to leave his boarding school friends, and Danny, who is becoming a rising star in advertising, doesn't want to miss work. Nonetheless, the boys agree to embark on a nine-day tour of Venice, Florence and Rome. As the book progresses, flashbacks from childhood juxtaposed against awkward moments abroad offer insight into how the brothers view each other, why they drifted apart and most importantly, offers proof that the bond between them still exists and becomes strengthened during the course of their travels. Elijah meets, loves and loses a girl from Canada; Danny reunites with a childhood friend. These two events prove to be pivotal in forcing both brothers to take stock of where they have been and where they are going with their lives. Introspective, moving and honest, this book expresses many dimensions of journey and love. Ages 14-up. (Aug.) [Page 66]. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal Reviews 2005 July
Gr 9 Up-Danny Silver, 23, is a workaholic advertising executive; his laid-back, 17-year-old brother, Elijah, absolutely drives him wild with his untied sneakers and lack of focus. The teen, who once idolized his sibling, now feels that he would never want to be Danny. The brothers are tricked by their parents into vacationing together in Italy. They both dread the experience, believing that they have little in common. Once abroad, they tiptoe around one another, connecting when they're in museums together, a reminder of childhood occasions spent similarly with their mother and father. They both doubt that there is enough between them to rekindle a bond. And then Elijah has a chance encounter with a college dropout with whom he falls head over heels in love. When he introduces Julia to Danny, she finds that she's attracted to him, too, and that catapults Danny into a situation in which he has to determine his priorities. The insightful and gently humorous narration alternates between the thoughts and experiences of the two brothers. Teens will relate deeply to Elijah and gain insight into Danny's attitudes as well. Levithan, author of Boy Meets Boy (2003) and The Realm of Possibility (2004, both Knopf), gets better and better with each book. This novel will appeal to a broader audience than the earlier titles and is a priority choice. References to sexual behavior and marijuana and acid use are included.-Susan Riley, Mount Kisco Public Library, NY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
VOYA Reviews 2005 August
Seventeen-year-old Elijah and twenty-three-year-old Danny are brothers who have grown apart. Their lives are so different that they simply do not communicate anymore. Elijah enjoys the social aspects of high school, surrounded by friends and invited to all the parties. Danny is a loner, driven to succeed in a competitive work environment. To please their parents, they grudgingly agree to spend nine days together in Italy. From the moment that they board the plane, Danny and Elijah almost unwillingly begin to rediscover each other as well as the magic of Italy. Then Julia arrives on the scene, and the tenuous bond between the brothers is tested Levithan demonstrates a gift for storytelling as he writes with grace and style about intelligent characters and situations. Elijah and Danny are clearly smart and talented; the reader is engaged from the first page by their perceptive observations. Levithan's use of present tense and alternating voices of both main characters create a fluid narrative. There is also a sense of adventure in these pages. The joys of losing oneself in a city; the indescribable power of Rome's Pantheon; and the wonder of Venice are all experienced vicariously through Levithan's skillfully chosen words. Older teens will find it a literate, thoughtful novel. The drug and sex references are appropriate for the story and are authentic to the characters. This novel is unique, fresh, and a pleasure to read.-Judy Sasges PLB $17.99. ISBN 0-375-92846-4. 5Q 4P S Copyright 2005 Voya Reviews.