Siena Bernstein is leaving her yoga mat behind for a semester of study abroad in Munich. She’s thrilled with the prospect of a German adventure (her horoscope is encouraging as well), but she hopes to make more than just her dreams come true while she’s there. Siena’s dad, who passed away when she was a baby, kept a "Carpe Diem" list—sort of his top-ten adventurous things to do. He completed all but one of the tasks—going to Germany to thank the man who helped smuggle his family past the Berlin Wall. Amidst her adventures in biergartens, Alpine skiing, and a rigorous course load, Siena is on a quest to complete her father’s list. But she’s also set on having the best possible time while she tries. With the help of two new best buds and a handsome RA in her dorm, she’ll surely succeed.
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Grade 6-10–Siena's deceased father was an East German refugee. When the free-spirited 17-year-old American has a chance to study in Munich, she embraces the opportunity to try to do what he wanted to do himself: locate and thank the man responsible for his freedom. The task proves harder than she thought when his very common name, a demanding course load, a relationship with a Eurohottie resident adviser, and a considerable language barrier threaten to impede her progress. Yet, with two new friends to keep her in check, Siena's faith in good karma finally pays off, and she meets her objective. Emotion-filled trips to Dachau and the Berlin Wall help her understand that some things are worth taking a chance for (e.g., liberty, morality, and justice). Siena makes lasting friendships, enjoys a little romance, and finds a missing part of herself. With likable characters and a plot that is as straightforward as it is swift, this installment will please fans of the series.–Erin Senig-Schirota, Bronxville Public Library, NY
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