Summer is the perfect time for travel novels, and Levithan's is one of the best. He takes us to Italy with once-close brothers Elijah and Danny, who have been tricked by their parents into travelling together as a way to reconnect them.

Danny, a workaholic in his 20s, and Elijah, a laid-back teenager, can't believe they're actually related. Although they were close when they were younger, the boys seemingly have nothing in common now. Elijah just wants to be happy and absorb life, while Danny believes success comes from a career path.

The tension quickly builds between the brothers on their first stop, Venice, and only gets worse. Julia, a Canadian Elijah meets, makes things even more complicated. When they arrive back in America, the change isn't immediately apparent, but both will begin to learn what it is they want—and need—out of life.

Levithan writes wonderfully about Italy, even giving us great bits of lessons along the way. Danny is a sad character that many of us can recognize—that one person we all know who thinks that life is work. Elijah is a lovable teen who just wants to be and can't understand why everyone can't do the same. This is a wonderfully complex story of brothers, girls and life. (Jul., 224 pp., $17.99)
Reviewed by: 
Taylor Morris