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My Not-So-Terrible Time at The Hippie Hotel

My Not-So-Terrible Time at The Hippie Hotel

4.5 10
by Rosemary Graham

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Tracy's summer vacation couldn't start off any worse. Her father has dragged her to Farnsworth House, a.k.a. the Hippie Hotel, on Cape Cod. It's a place where divorced parents bring their children for quality "Together Time." Tracy dreads the whole idea, until she meets the other girls her age at the hotel. They seem friendly and fun. But they're also great at


Tracy's summer vacation couldn't start off any worse. Her father has dragged her to Farnsworth House, a.k.a. the Hippie Hotel, on Cape Cod. It's a place where divorced parents bring their children for quality "Together Time." Tracy dreads the whole idea, until she meets the other girls her age at the hotel. They seem friendly and fun. But they're also great at flirting, which Tracy definitely isn't. When Tracy meets Kevin, a cute, smart guy, she panics. With pretty friends like Kelsey and Beka around, how can Tracy possibly interest Kevin? Then again, maybe she is someone worth knowing, and maybe Kevin thinks so too. Filled with strong, appealing characters and heartfelt narration, this is a touching and memorable first novel.

Editorial Reviews

American Library Association
Gr. 6-10. Fourteen-year-old Tracy's father has dragged her to Cape Cod for "Together Time," a retreat for divorced parents and their children, run by a free-spirited single mother. Unlike the other two girls her age at "The Hippie Hotel," Tracy feels awkward, heavy, and shy, especially around boys. But gradually, as Tracy separates her preconceptions from the guests' real stories, she gains confidence and empathy, and to her great surprise discovers that she, too, is capable of friendship and romance. Written in Tracy's wry, self-aware voice, Graham's first novel finds comedy in the degrees of pain divorce brings. Sharply funny scenes, such as Tracy's sullen therapy sessions following her parents' split ("Bad. It feels BAD"), contrast with quieter moments revealing that the parents, as well as the children, struggle with simmering resentments, anguish, self-doubt, and confusion. Graham ties everything up a bit too neatly, but readers will immediately recognize themselves in Graham's spot-on dialogue and her subtle portrayal of family dynamics. A tender, funny debut.
The Washington Post
This novel works beautifully on two levels. Narrated in Tracy's wry, edgy voice, it pokes a lot of fun at adults and their self-help pretensions. At the same time, it portrays an anxious kid slowly figuring out how to get past her quick-draw preconceptions about people. Romance, happily, is one reward. — Elizabeth Ward
Publishers Weekly
In her first novel, Graham chooses a small canvas and fills it with panache. The narrator, 14-year-old Tracy, is having a family vacation of sorts; her dad has brought her, her older brother and her younger sister to Farnsworth House, on Cape Cod, for "Together Time," a summer program for divorced parents and their children. At first Tracy casts a baleful eye on the whole enterprise, beginning with the proprietor, Sharon, a "tie-dye-and-Birkenstock-wearing woman" with waist-long gray hair. A suburbanite, Tracy immediately feels intimidated by Beka, "one of those New York private school girls who's taken so many ballet lessons that she... walks with her feet permanently turned out in second position"; and she's suspicious of Beka's mom, who seems to be flirting with her dad. Berkeley girl Kelsey is much more simpatico, and in Kelsey's wake, Tracy finds herself attracting a charming first boyfriend, Kevin. Graham conjures up the intensity of a few weeks' forced intimacy and lets readers see Tracy at her best and worst. The audience will sympathize with Tracy's gaffes with Kevin, and they'll even understand when Tracy lashes out, unjustifiably and meanly, at easy-going Kelsey. Most of the developments are expected-everyone, from Sharon to Beka, is more complicated than Tracy has assumed, and most of the characters, especially Tracy, experience personal growth. But Graham charts her story with wit and sympathy, and it will be a rare reader who doesn't leave this book wishing for a stay at a real-life "Hippie Hotel." Ages 10-14. (June) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Teenager Tracy travels with her father, sister and brother to Farnsworth House, a.k.a. the Hippie Hotel, a resort for divorced parents and their kids run by Sharon Farnsworth Hopkins, a divorcee with a desire to help make things right with the world. Tracy dreads the trip but hopes the other girls in attendance will provide a source of friendship. Beka, a dark and angry New Yorker, doesn't seem to be good friend material, as she spends her time listening to her Walkman, altering her T-shirts with a marker, and cursing her mother. Kelsey seems like a better prospect. She is friendly and outgoing, especially when it comes to meeting boys. Tracy is nothing like Kelsey, however, and Tracy envies her new friend's beauty, style, and charm. Over the course of the vacation, Tracy learns to move beyond these impressions of herself and others. She sees the pain the others try to hide. She sees in herself something that she has forgotten or never realized was there�a kind heart, a talent for music, and a beauty all her own. Her increased confidence results, in part, from her relationship with Kevin, a local boy who chooses her over Beka and Tracy, as well as her realization that life after divorce does exist. Tracy's voice is believable and genuine, and her struggles are those of every teen, those with divorced parents or not. Graham's characters are vivid and unique, recognizable but defying stereotypes, and her story is both touching and funny. 2003, Viking,
— Wendy Glenn
This first novel is a rather sophisticated version of the ever-appealing ugly duckling tale. Tracy is the protagonist and narrator, an intelligent teenager devastated by her parents' divorce. She finds comfort in junk food and is gaining too much weight, and she also has given up her main interests, songwriting and playing the piano, just because she is feeling so low. She doesn't connect to others well and hasn't talked about her feelings to anyone, even the therapist her parents arranged for her. This is the ugly duckling that accompanies her father and siblings to a "hippie hotel," or a special inn that organizes vacations for families of divorce: the inn is located on Cape Cod. At this inn are several other families: a mother with her sullen teenage daughter Beka and unruly young twins; a father with his cheerful teenager Kelsey and a younger son. The owner of the inn is an aging hippie who went through a divorce and wants to help others in similar situations. Her son is part of the group, an attractive teenager who helps his mom run the inn. He has friends in town, who also become part of this story�in fact, one of his friends, Kevin, becomes a romantic interest for Tracy. The story has many elements of summer camp stories, with new friendships forming, jealousy rampant, naughty behavior prevalent, and so on. As you might imagine, as Tracy gains more confidence in herself by making friends with Kelsey and starting a relationship with Kevin, she loses interest in stuffing herself with forbidden food. She enjoys helping with the younger children and the field trips to Plimoth Plantation and Martha's Vineyard. She has some emotional crises, but in the end is able to let out a lot of heranger and fears that have arisen because of her parents' divorce, and she turns to the piano and a new song composition in a burst of creative energy. Voil��a swan. This story will have great appeal to YA readers. KLIATT Codes: JS�Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2003, Penguin Putnam, Viking, 214p.,
— Claire Rosser
School Library Journal
Gr 8-10-Set in the summer of 2000 on Cape Cod, Graham's first novel is the story of 14-year-old Tracy's coming to terms with her parents' divorce and experiencing her first romance. Tracy, her father, brother, and younger sister participate, along with two other single-parent families, in a "Together Time" retreat at Farnsworth House, also known as the Hippie Hotel, run by a tie-dye and Birkenstock-wearing woman who hopes to reinvent old-fashioned vacations for today's families. In the year since her parents' divorce, Tracy has stopped playing the piano and writing songs. She fills the emptiness inside by stuffing herself with sweets. When Beka, a private-school punk from Manhattan, and Kelsey, a California golden girl, arrive with their families, three quickly becomes the proverbial crowd. On a field trip to Plimouth Plantation, Tracy meets Kevin, an aspiring actor working in the blacksmith's shop, and a romance blossoms. She begins to think she is someone worth knowing, resumes her piano playing and songwriting, and begins to mend her relationship with her father. A subplot involving Tracy's mother is unresolved. Beka, medicated for depression, has a foul mouth, fights with her mother, and tries to buy a drink with a fake ID. There really is nothing new here; characters and issues are stereotypical, and the plot is predictable, but young people from divorced homes are likely to relate to some of the situations.-Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.78(w) x 8.62(h) x 0.87(d)
Age Range:
10 - 13 Years

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My Not-So-Terrible Time at The Hippie Hotel 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
When Tracy's father drags her along on a summer vacation designed for divorced parents and their kids, it turns out to be a lot better than she expected.

Insecure Tracy finds friends in Kelsey and maybe even Beka. She even meets a guy! Maybe "Together Time" isn't as bad as she expected...Or maybe it is. If she can find it in herself to be confident, to actually go for a guy, maybe it'll happen, despite what she may think. Of course, if she keeps thinking that way, her summer's not going to be exactly stellar. In the end, it's all up to Tracy.

MY NOT-SO-TERRIBLE TIME AT THE HIPPIE HOTEL is a cute, predictable feel-good story. It's a well-written novel, populated with enjoyable characters.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a fun summery read about a girl who goes on a vacation that she thinks is going to be terrible but turns out to be . . . well, not so terrible. Partly because of a boy but also because of what she learns about herself. I liked it and thought Tracy's experiences were very true.
Guest More than 1 year ago
im currently reading the book and have made the decision to stop reading it at around 150 pg. i got this yesterday so i read alot of it. why am i stoppping? im at a part of the book where the main char., tracy, gets all upset and starts crying and starts ignoring every1 throwing a fit and ever1 starts to hate. i just dont like books like that. sorry!!!! but i felt even though this girl wasnt ur cali- girl like kels, or the moody mystaerious other girl, she was a normal clumsy girl who apparently can play the piano. but evenb though she is someone people can relate to. i didn't like her character. i feel that the main char. should get your attention and you fall in love with them and the other char. like kevin ( who i hate!!!!!) i just think this book isnt worth it so i stop my reading here at page 154. to allof you who also agree and didnt like it look below at my fav. books. i promise ull love them!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a really good book (and it kept me occupied while I sat at a table for four hours). It had a realistic character who any teenage girl can relate to-and if not with Tracy maybe Kelsy or Beka.I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a funny and unique read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book so much! I've already read it twice, and can't wait to do it again. My friends and I are totally going to start a Hippie Hotel fan club. I just think if you want to read an awesome book this summer, then this is the one for you. The characters are so cool and interesting, and there is someone for everyone to relate to. Plus it's sooo funny. So get this book, get it for your friends, and read it a bunch because it gets better every time! I just hope there is another one soon...
Guest More than 1 year ago
As soon as I started reading this book I couldn't put it down. I loved everything about this book: the characters, the setting and the excitment. Graham gives us characters anyone can relate to. I'm praying that she comes out with another book soon. If you're looking for a great summer or any time read get this book asap.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was lucky enough to get an early copy of this book and I loved it, it was so great that I read it in three hours. I couldn't put it down. Throughout the whole story I found myself getting excited for and caring about the characters. I would recommend this book to all ages and I promise you will love it! Graham does at great job leaving her readers wanting more. I can't wait until she comes out with another book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I felt lucky to stumble across this book early, before it became a mainstream read of girls around the country. As a teenager myself, I have enjoyed reading the triumphs and tribulations of various teenagers, whether they are heroines or the common student. Sometimes, however, the author fails to grasp a true viewpoint of todays girl. Such was not true in Rosemary Grahams first novel, _My Not-So-Terrible Time at The Hippie Hotel. In the story, I was extremely impressed by how the author characterized her protagonist, Tracy. She possessed a strength within herself that influenced those around her, and was evident in her interaction with other characters, and her own musical expression. So often the grown author remembers the weaknesses that they themself probably felt in their adolescence, and instead of looking at stronger emotions, fills their character with uncertainty. While Tracy did have her own internal issues, as is important in the conflict of any story, she always pulled out of the low points in the end, showing courage, level-headedness, and being a role model that any teenager can emulate! This story was worth the highest rating I could possibly give it, and I would suggest it to anyone who is looking for a gripping tale with a believable heroine!
Guest More than 1 year ago
It took me a while to actually start to read this book. Once I picked it up, though, it didn't take me long to consume it and be left wanting more. I loved every bit of it! Even though my usual haunt is the sci-fi/fantasy section, I found this book one of the most interesting, entertaining and enjoyable reads I¿ve ever had. I loved Tracy, Kevin, and Kelsey the most, but every other character came in a close second. Tracy is the perfect idol for younger children, someone teens--including me--can relate to, and undoubtedly a fun reminder of past years for adults (though I wouldn¿t know, because I am only fifteen myself. I can see myself looking back and smiling at the memories it calls up, though.) I definitely recommend this book, no matter what age you are or what genre you¿re into.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was able to purchase this book before publication at the Virginia Festival of the Book. Though I am not in the intended audience age-range, I still love young adult fiction and devoured this book quickly. Tracy is a great heroine, and very true to life. She eats her stress away, is a talented pianist, very passionate about the things she loves, and has no ability to speak around boys, much less flirt. During a 'family vacation' with her divorced dad and brother and sister, she expects to have a lousy time. It seems that way at first, until another girl comes to the 'hippie hotel' and gets her to come out her shell. What I really liked about this novel was the voice of Tracy and that she seemed like a typical fourteen year old. I definately recommend this book.