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A. J. Degulio loved the idea of a visit to the Old Country—until her family decided to stay.

Now it's 1972 and she's turning fourteen in a crumbling castle on a hill in Tuscany, wishing she were back in Idaho with her beloved dog, Sailor. In Italy, her fair complexion and blonde hair make her stick out like a vanilla wafer in a box of chocolate biscotti, and she's so lonely her best friend is a nun from the local convent. What's worse, her grandma's losing her marbles and Mama's going crazy over Uncle Nick's ugly blue villa, which she can see from every window.

The challenges of roots and relatives are nothing new to A. J. but factor in language, culture shock, and a bad case of homesickness, and A. J.'s going to need more than the famous Degulio sense of humor to survive. It will take a catastrophe—and a few wise words from a friend—for A. J. to understand that sometimes the only thing you can change is your perspective.

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