I apologize for the lack of picture here, and I'll add one as soon as I'm back on my own computer. In the meantime, you can find the book here.
by: Sharon Creech
published in: 2001
In Dinny's first life, her family followed her father all over the country, searching for the right "opportunity". Dinny's older brother and sister get in more trouble with each move, until her brother ends up in jail and her sister has a new baby. Without warning, Dinny is carted off to Switzerland with an aunt and uncle she's never met before. Her uncle is the new headmaster of an international boarding school there. Among students from many different cultures, Dinny finally finds a place she belongs--but that doesn't stop her from wishing she could return to her family.
This isn't the first time I've read this book. In fact, we listen to an old audiotape of it every summer. It's influenced my children's lives enough that my daughter has listed "Lugano, Switzerland" as her hometown on facebook, and when we're really excited, we suddenly break into Italian: "andiamo" and "Sono libero!" You come away loving people so much, and with an understanding of different points of view. Dinny's new friends discuss deep topics like war and arranged marriage from the point of view of many different cultures. It would have been so easy to make Dinny's family seem like the villains in this tale, but instead, Sharon Creech takes the time to make them all sympathetic characters, and you really understand why it's so hard for Dinny to stay away.
My favorite character: Guthrie, the boy who looks out the window and only sees the sky, and feels no qualms telling his friends that he is an "invisible eyeball" and "sono potente." Love him!
I give this book 5 stars. It's entertaining enough for the whole family, though my younger children were a little upset by an avalanche scene near the end. Still, I'm glad we read and discussed it as a family. Even my teenage boy enjoyed the story, though I'm not certain he would have picked it up on his own.