13 May 2013

Review: Are We There Yet? by David Levithan

Are We There Yet? by David Levithan

12 July 2005 by Knopf

Pages: 215 (hardcover)

Genre/s: Contemporary, YA, Travel

Source: Own library


Sixteen-year-old Elijah is completely mellow and his 23-year-old brother Danny is completely not, so it’s no wonder they can barely tolerate one another. So what better way to repair their broken relationship than to trick them into taking a trip to Italy together? Soon, though, their parents’ perfect solution has become Danny and Elijah’s nightmare as they’re forced to spend countless hours together. But then Elijah meets Julia, and soon the brothers aren’t together nearly as much. And then Julia meets Danny and soon all three of them are in a mixed-up, turned-around, never-what-you-expect world of brothers, Italy, and love.

My Thoughts

My David Levithan obsession continues! After reading and adoring Every Day, I went out and bought four more David Levithan books, Are We There Yet? being one that really intrigued me. Much is made of the relationships between sisters, but I've certainly not read many books about the relationships between brothers. And never having been a brother myself (but having three of them), I wasn't quite sure what to expect.

Born seven years apart, Danny and Elijah are complete opposites - Danny is a workaholic advertising guru and Elijah is a high school student who is more interested in chilling out and getting stoned than really being engaged with the world. And their relationship is incredibly strained - they have very little in common and are sent on holiday together by their parents but aren't really interested in spending any time together.

I found both of them frustrating, but Elijah in particular was quite likable, despite his pretty laid-back attitude towards life. I do wish there had been more about Julia's past as I found it quite hard to understand her behaviour, which wasn't really wierd but rather quite random. What I did like though was that there wasn't a huge focus on the relationships between Julie and the brothers, instead it was more of a hint of what could have been.

Although the relationship between the brothers changes during the course of their journey, I found it quite hard to pinpoint exactly when it evolved, which is both a positive and a negative - a positive because there's nothing worse than the blatant 'let's love each other now' moment, and a negative in that I didn't really understand why their relationship changed and they became closer.

The setting of Are We There Yet? immediately grabbed me - Italy is one of those countries that is right up there on my Must Travel list, and through the course of the book Danny and Elijah travel through Venice, Florence and Rome, and their experiences in the three cities are very different but also very similar.

Overall I did enjoy Are We There Yet? - it was a quick, fun read and although I didn't really get everything that I'd hoped for, I loved that it was about the relationship between brothers, and there was more than enough travel references to satisfy my travel bug.


  1. Oooh, even though this mostly doesn't sound amazing, I really want to read it, because I've been to all of those places in Italy! Travel-squee!

    1. There's almost nothing as awesome as reading books set someplace you've been!

  2. I really need to read another Leviathan book. I've read Every Day and I don't know which one to go after next so I keep looking at all the reviews. I like the sound of this one and I haven't read too many books set in Italy so that might be a nice change of pace. I'm glad you enjoyed it even though the characters were frustrating.

    1. I've read four of his books now, and they are all so well written - Boy Meets Boy is fabulous!



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