Almost fifteen year old Fred's parents are heading for a vacation in Australia which means that they are packing him off to the US to stay with family friends. This doesn't thrill him until he meets Brit, Phil and Julie's daughter, and falls head over heels for her. As the days in the US pass, Fred meets Brit's friends, hears about a very troubling situation that Brit has kept from her parents, fights a bully, catches a special homerun ball at a Braves game, and becomes a true knight in shining armor.
The romance happens quickly with both Fred and Brit jumping in and committing their whole hearts much faster than any sane and cautious person would. But they are teenagers so although I remain a bit skeptical, it works. Fred's school project is equal parts fun and disruptive to the story. Seeing the word differences between the two countries sperated by a common language (George Bernard Shaw) can be entertaining but it sometimes gets a bit old. After the initial explanation, I found it distracting although since I read a lot of British literature, I am already familiar with most of the terms and their counterparts which may not be the case for everyone.
There was a lot going on in the book that wasn't as deeply developed and complex as I would have liked. The conflicts were fairly easily resolved. Fred was a bit too good to be believed. A few flaws wouldn't have gone amiss in his character development. Phil and Julie were perfect television parents: always understanding and wise. And there needed to be a closer editing. When I came to chapter 13 I went back and re-read chapter 12, confused by the repetition and Groundhog Day like repeat. The nitpicker in me would also like to point out that the American anthem, which Fred finds himself humming along to at the baseball game, is called The Star-Spangled Banner, not God Bless America.
Aimed at the YA audience, this might be better for young tweens than teens although the issue of inappropriate and unwanted touching makes that a tougher call. As I am in my dotage, I am clearly not the target audience but my daughter might be and I will probably pass it along to her if she's interested. Overall, I didn't love it and found some problems with it but it was sweet enough and it would probably appeal more to those for whom it was written.