Reviewed by Jocelyn Pearce for TeensReadToo.com
Pia Crossley is a pretty average seventh-grade girl. She lives with her mother and sometimes her older brother, Mario, in an apartment in a quiet neighborhood in Queens. Her life is fairly normal. Until she discovers a box of old papers in the basement, including one with her father's address on it.
Pia has never met her mysterious Italian father, and her mom doesn't talk much about him. However, she's gone almost thirteen years without knowing him, and she wants to know. So she writes him a letter, wishing on the odd elephant charm her brother gave her for him to write back. But what happens if he does?
That's not the only drama going on in Pia's life. Her best friend seems to have traded her in for the new girl. The boy she's got a crush on doesn't seem to notice her much. Her brother is sick. Her mom's got a new boyfriend. And her art teacher won't stop trying to convince her to submit something for the art show. What's a girl to do?
A PORTRAIT OF PIA is a fun, charming story about, most of all, what it's like to be thirteen. It's also about Pia's mysterious Italian father, but really it's about Pia's life, and how she's handling it all. It's a well-written novel, and Marisabina Russo has a gift for creating lifelike, interesting characters. This one is well worth reading!