Twelve-year-old Skyler is in for a summer of adventure in Venice, Italy, as she pursues a dream opportunity in this hilarious MIX novel that’s a companion to The BFF Bucket List.
Skyler is about to go on the biggest adventure of her life. Her mother has been relocated to Venice, Italy, and there is the possibility it could be a permanent move. While there, Skyler will be blogging and writing about the city as part of an informal internship that could lead to bigger things for her if all goes well.
One of her fellow interns, Logan is cool, cute, and Australian. But the other intern, Zara, isn’t quite as nice, and seems determined to sabotage all of Skyler’s suggestions. And with a big assignment coming up, Skyler is stumped as to what to write about.
Skyler wishes she has someone to talk to, but the first person who comes to mind isn’t even on the same continent: her BFF, Ella. Skyler knows that Ella would probably have to solution to a lot of her problems, especially the writer’s block, but they didn’t leave on the best of terms after a bucket list went a little awry. Thanks to technology, Skyler and Ella slowly begin to talk like old times.
But when one of Skyler’s blog posts gets replaced with one she never intended anyone to see, she isn’t sure if she can ever belong anywhere. With the help of some Italian magic and her oldest friend, can Skyler learn to love her new city?
Postcards from Venice ONE I can’t wait one more second to see the Floating City in real life.
Rushing past my mom, I push open the glass door of the train station.
The pavement and roof make a frame outside the terminal, surrounding a beautiful panoramic shot of Venice. It’s like I’ve stepped right into a painting.
People are everywhere. They’re sitting and standing and pulling suitcases. They’re taking photos and selfies and talking on cell phones. They’re speaking in a million different languages.
I run down the steps and don’t stop until I reach the Grand Canal. Mom finally catches up.
We stand still, not saying a thing. I have no words for what’s in front of me.
I’m really here.
There’s a stone building with a big green dome taking over the scenery and a big bridge to my left that crosses over the canal. I wonder what’s on the other side, behind all the buildings.
Boats of different sizes go by one after another, leaving small waves behind them.
I’ve spent six incredible days touring Italy with my mom before she starts her new job. And now for the rest of August, we’ll be living across the lagoon from Venice while she works.
“We don’t have a whole lot of time, Skyler,” says Mom. “I do need to get to the office at some point today.”
Mom wanted to stay at our new apartment on the mainland and then swing by the office, but not me. No way. I convinced her to take the quick train ride into Venice for some sightseeing first. I’ve been waiting my whole life to experience this place.
“Can’t you start work tomorrow?” I ask. I don’t mean it, of course. Six days is already way more than Mom has ever taken off work.
She takes out her phone. “I’m sorry, Skyler, but they’re expecting me at the office in a bit. We can come into Venice every day for the next four weeks if we want.”
I’m not surprised she’s dangling this amazing city in front of me only to get started working. I guess I shouldn’t expect things to be different right off the bat.
Mom taps her phone screen a few times. “And if this trial period with the company goes well, we can come into Venice every day for the next year.”
She’s right, of course. “Okay, but that bridge is totally calling my name right now,” I say. “Plus, Dad’s stuck back home while we’re here having this grand adventure. I have to send him some pics. So, we can explore a little, right?”
Mom looks at her phone again, but when I give her my puppy dog eyes, she slips it back in her purse.
The first step on the bridge is magical, like I’m entering a new world. Not quite the wardrobe to Narnia or the train to Hogwarts, but close. Seriously close.
I’ve dreamed of going to Venice since I was a little girl. And here I am, standing in the middle of a bridge, looking out over the Grand Canal. Officially in Venice.
“That’s a pretty big smile on your face,” says Mom. “What do you think?”
I smile even bigger . . . if that’s possible. “I love it already,” I say. “Like, one million percent love it.”
Mom and I stand here, taking it all in.
I’d have to say that my favorite thing so far had been watching the sunset from Piazzale Michelangelo in Florence. You can see the whole city from up there.
But this place instantly takes over the number one spot.
“So, what are the chances we’ll actually stay for the year?” It’s the same question I’ve asked every day since we got here. The more I see of Italy, the more I don’t want to leave it.
“Same as yesterday, honey,” says Mom. “We’ll know more once I start working.”
It won’t be all fun and gelato, though, since she insists I be productive and “learn a little something” while we’re here.
I’m distracted from the conversation when a beautiful gondola appears from under the bridge.
“For the record,” I say, “I really think it would be in our best interest to stay.”
Mom laughs. When her phone goes off with a text notification and she doesn’t grab for it, I wonder if she’s actually stopping to enjoy the moment.
“Also for the record,” she says, “I think it would be in our best interest to find a café that sells pastries.”
And I thought this day couldn’t possibly get any better.
Dee Romito is an author and former elementary school teacher. Her middle grade books include The BFF Bucket List, No Place Like Home, Postcards from Venice, and coauthored Best. Night. Ever. Her debut picture book, Pies from Nowhere: How Georgia Gilmore Sustained the Montgomery Bus Boycott received a starred review from Booklist. She blogs about writing at WriteforApples.com and is coadvisor of Buffalo-Niagara Children’s Writers and Illustrators. While she does her best to be a grown-up most of the time, giggling with her BFFs is still one of her all-time favorite things. You can visit her website at DeeRomito.com.