Review: My Family Sized Pizza by Josie Montano
Today on Out of Control Characters, we're hosting Josie Montano and her new YA book, My Family Sized Pizza. Josie is another Solstice author, and she has written a delightful book about what it's like to grow up in a very Italian family.
Josie is an award-winning author of over 40 books. She has been internationally published and writes fiction under the name of MONTANO and non-fiction resources on Asperger Syndrome under the pseudonym of SANTOMAURO.
From age nine Josie annoyed her librarian by shelving her self-published books for borrowing and being the most diligent library monitor there was! She then went on to receive her first rejection letter from Golden Books at age thirteen. But that didn't stop her, decades later - finally she has 'real' published books on those shelves!
Josie draws on her varied life experiences to help her with her writing, interesting experiences such as being involved in a bank robbery, working within the primary school environment, surviving cancer, growing up within an Italian community, winning the major prize on ‘Wheel of Fortune’ and as a volunteer member of the State Emergency Services.
She loves coffee, chocolate, amateur theatre, going to the movies, and being silly, witty and humorous.
Angela lives with her grandparents who run a restaurant, Fioruccis, rechristened Hoochies by the mega cool Rachael Blake and her wannabe groupies. How can Angela discover herself when she feels as if she's smothered in spaghetti sauce and drowning in olive oil? Add two scheming Italians with a grand matchmaking plan, Simon who wants to be more than friends, a controlling Nonna who won't let her wear jeans and Angela's sheer Italianicity- all getting in the way of her search for independence.
I got home from school one afternoon and there were heaps of cars parked outside Nonno and Nonna’s place. Something was wrong. Nonno hadn’t been feeling so good that morning.
I could hear moaning. Did I really want to go inside? I walked down the side to the backyard and found Nonno asleep on the garden chair. He was under his olive tree with a big bottle of vino on his lap. Phew! He was OK.
The moaning from inside sounded like chanting. Had Nonna joined a cult or something? I went in and found the house full of Italian women. They were on their knees praying …to a huge statue of Mary! Mumbling and fiddling with their rosary beads, but at the same time checking me out. Multi-talented women!
Oh no! It was Nonna’s monthly rosary meeting. But this time it was at our place. If I’d known I’d have gone to the library with Sarina.
“Angelina! Mamma Mia how you have grown!” Signora Romanelli was looking straight at my boobs.
“Oh, you look just like Elena, you mudder,” Signora Vesta did the sign of the cross and looked at me sadly. It’s not me that’s dead, you idiot.
“Madonna, is dis little Angelina? She’s a big gal!” Signora Della Something was looking at my bum. I needed a quick escape, but the statue blocked the way to my bedroom. There it was – halfway up the stairs.
“Angelina, vieni qua,” Nonna called. “Come on”. She had her arm around one of her friends.
“Dis is Signora Bertolini.” This lady I’d never met before grabs me by the cheeks with her fingers and thumbs.
“Quanda si bella!” She was shaking my face but half of my face was still in her hands. Yes. I’m beautiful, but I’m going to need plastic surgery if you don’t cut it out!
“You know who dis is?” Nonna asked. “Signora Bertolini. The Nonna of dat boy I tell you about.” She winked.
Ohhhh! Dat boy! The one you want me to marry.
Nonna and Mrs. Bertolini knelt at the bottom of the stairs and looked up at the statue. I looked at the statue of Mary, I looked down at Nonna and Signora Bertolini – two interfering grandmothers. What if the statue lost balance? The very heavy statue would topple down and … that would be the end of the matchmaking!
Review: My Family Sized Pizza by Josie Montano
Sixteen and never been kissed describes Angela Fiorucci, and she has no idea how her life turn out. She lives with her grandparents, and her nonna can't let her do anything cool. What's a girl to do? How will she get her first kiss? Worse, there's Nonna's matchmaking efforts to overcome. Or is that something Angela wants to overcome?
I was enthralled by this book from the very beginning. It's hilarious, breathtaking, so much like any teenager of any age growing up too fast with restrictions by those in charge. Josie Montano drags the reader into Angela's world immediately, with a sixteenth birthday party where Angela is wondering if she'll ever get her first kiss, or if she'll ever get away from being so Italian. The elements of a child orphaned at six coming of age in a home run by two old country Italians is very evident from the first page. Not that the elements are very different from any other home, but there is an element of bigotry from some of the elite girls at school, and name calling that brings home how cruel teens are.
Montano plots a fast paced novel about the perils of being half child and half adult. I laughed in places, and cried in others. In the end, I was cheering for Angela, as she becomes more in control of her future. This book is perfect for teens searching for their place in the world. I highly recommend it.
Note: I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are 100% my own.
I have to reiterate - This is a delightful book about a teenager coming of age in a very conservative home. Teens will love this book!
Thank you, Josie Montano, for stopping by today. We hope to see you many more times on Out of Control Characters!