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Heading Home [Paperback]

Renee Riva
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

April 1 2010
For eight years, A J Degulio has been itching to get back to her beloved Indian Island. It's home. But a lot has changed. Sailor moves slower, Danny has grown into a man ... and AJ has a promise to keep, but it doesn't include Danny. When Danny discovers the truth, he's shocked and hurt. But he won't stand in the way of what she really wants. Can they work it out? It will take compromise and laughter before Danny and AJ figure out that home is more than a place on the map. It's a place in the heart.

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4.0 out of 5 stars Did not disappoint Nov. 20 2010
Format:Paperback
Review by Jill Williamson

After eight years in Italy, A.J. is coming back to Indian Island, Idaho. She can't wait to see her dog Sailor and her old friend Danny. Sailor acts as if nothing has changed, but Danny--oooh. He's grown up into a six-foot-tall real-life cowboy. He seems interested in A.J., but she has a promise to keep that doesn't include Danny. What's a girl to do if she wants both?

Okay. So I loved Saving Sailor, and I LOVED Taking Tuscany. So when I saw that Heading Home was available, I had to buy it. It did not disappoint. I'm a closure-happy ending kind of girl, and though A.J. sure does have a tendency to make a mess of things, Renée Riva has a great way of putting it all back together. A.J.'s Italian/Greek family is hysterical. This book was funny, heartwarming, and delightful. These three books were a fabulous coming-of-age story that takes place in the 1960's and 1970's. I highly recommend them.
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  25 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AJ strikes again.... Feb. 1 2011
By M. Jane Weaver - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
if you have not read the 2 previous novels in this trilogy (saving sailor and taking tuscany), do it! you will not regret it!

heading home is the book in which the fairy tale ending occurs, but with a twist. AJ returns to indian lake to pursue her vetrinary degree, and to reunite with her dog, sailor. her plan is to get her degree and marry Danny, her long-time sweetheart. but over the corse of this crazy end-of-summer-into-fall, a few things get in the way of her dream:

1) herself. AJ cannot seem to decide what is God's will for her life: to marry Danny, or become a nun? (if you've the previous books, you'll ask the same question i did: AJ? a nun?)

2) an aquaitance/dork from her childhood(saving sailor). Rodney Gizmode, who has turned into an even dorkier character, seems to think they belong together. obviously, AJ (and Danny) has other ideas.

3) her family. what will danny think of her roman/catholic/italian family? not to mention nona?

4) if they do get married, what will they be? this provides quite a dilemma, for both AJ and danny, because AJ is roman/catholic/italian and Danny is southern baptist.

5) if they do have a wedding, AJ's in-laws, the greeks will have to be invited. this poses the problem of how to tell nonna that her daughter (AJ's aunt) married a greek, which will surely, to say the least, upset nonna!

6) where do they get married? AJ's mother is convinced that nothing will do but that AJ be married in a catholic church, but Danny is not sure about being married in a catholic church. once they decide to get married in a greek orthodox church, they also have the problem of convincing nonna. (!)

7) her mother. need i say more?

in the end, all of AJ's problems resolve themselves, and the happy ending is complete. however, the way these confilicts are resolved is VERY amusing! Renee Riva does a masterful job of adding humor into the scenes; much of this humor will make you laugh out loud!

anther point in this books favor is that it is a clean book. no cussing, no racy romance, and no booze(except for at the wedding, and there it is only briefly mentioned).

all-in-all, this book is a great read! appropiate for all ages, it will provide a wonderful rainy-afternoon's read. because it is told from AJ's view-point, it may appeal more to teen girls. i give it 6-out-of-5 stars!
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tender, Warm and Funny May 4 2010
By Glynn Young - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I don't normally read Young Adult (YA) novels. Not that I have anything against them; I just haven't been a YA for a long time, although I remember with great fondness always being directed by any church we attended to the class for young couples. But even then we would have been too old to be classified as YAs.

Renee Riva's "Heading Home" is the third novel in a YA trilogy, preceded by "Saving Sailor" and "Taking Tuscany" (yes, I noticed the alliteration in all three of the titles). It's the story of 18-year-old A.J. Degulio, who returns home to the Pacific Northwest after eight years in Italy with her family. The family remains in Italy; she's coming back to see her dog Sailor, renew her friendship with her childhood friend Danny Morgan, and to start college, where she intends to study veterinary science. Sailor remembers her, Danny turns out to have become something of a hunk (A.J.'s words, not mine), and vet studies might have to take a back seat to A.J.'s intent to become a nun.

A nun?

How about a would-be nun who gets jealous when Danny begins dating someone else?

It's complicated. The lives of YAs are always complicated.

Here's what I learned from this well-written, fast-paced YA novel.

The audience is not YAs; the audience is most likely YA females.

Someone reading this book would not be embarrassed if her mother or father found her reading it. It's clean. For whatever reason, I was reminded of reading the Hardy Boys mysteries when I was slightly younger than a YA.

It's funny. Riva writes humor well, and there are scenes (including one involving blackberries) that first provoke a smile and then a laugh. Once the family arrives from Italy, and then the extended family from all over, the story moves into an ongoing series of funny scenes.

And "Heading Home" is touching, including one scene between A.J. and her father that's happened a million times in fiction but here seems fresh, tender and real.

"Heading Home" is not the kind of fiction I usually read, but it's aimed right at its target audience. The target audience's parents (and grandparents) won't mind reading it, either.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Did not disappoint Nov. 20 2010
By Novel Teen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Review by Jill Williamson

After eight years in Italy, A.J. is coming back to Indian Island, Idaho. She can't wait to see her dog Sailor and her old friend Danny. Sailor acts as if nothing has changed, but Danny--oooh. He's grown up into a six-foot-tall real-life cowboy. He seems interested in A.J., but she has a promise to keep that doesn't include Danny. What's a girl to do if she wants both?

Okay. So I loved Saving Sailor, and I LOVED Taking Tuscany. So when I saw that Heading Home was available, I had to buy it. It did not disappoint. I'm a closure-happy ending kind of girl, and though A.J. sure does have a tendency to make a mess of things, Renée Riva has a great way of putting it all back together. A.J.'s Italian/Greek family is hysterical. This book was funny, heartwarming, and delightful. These three books were a fabulous coming-of-age story that takes place in the 1960's and 1970's. I highly recommend them.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic trilogy!! Aug. 12 2012
By TLT - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
I hope Nia Vardalos works her magic and turn these books into a wonderful movie! I thoroughly enjoyed A.J.s story! A great read for teenage girls on being a fun, stong young woman.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heading Home Aug. 8 2012
By Kate - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is another good novel by Renee Riva. I thoroughly enjoyed this story as a follow up to 'Saving Sailor'. Good,easing reading!
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