Review / No Vacancy

20220924ma_1700Book: No Vacancy (2020)
Author: Tziporah Cohen
Genre: MG, Contemporary
Publisher: Groundwood Books

Opening lines from the book …
The green road sign goes by so fast I’m not even sure I read it right. “Seriously?” I say. “Did that sign say Population 510?” There are practically more people than that on the block where we live. Where we used to live.


1) Miriam and her family are the new owners of a small motel. And Miriam is not too happy to be there. She’d rather be back in New York City. So it was nice to see how she grows to learn how to enjoy the place where she’s living.

2) It’s fun to see the family set up a motel, complete with a swimming pool. Although Miriam doesn’t like to swim. Uncle Mordy is great! He comes to help the family as they work. I also like how he works on helping Miriam with her fear of swimming. Because, hello! They have a pool at the motel. 🙂

3) There are so many great characters that the family meets at the motel. Maria (what a great name, right?) helps clean the motel. I love how Miriam connects with her and wants to help her. And then there’s Mrs. Whitley who runs the restaurant next door. (Not to mention her grape pies!)

4) Miriam makes friends with Kate. They create some havoc in the community with their plan to bring guests to the motel. Yeah, it’s not something that’s really wise or good, but I like how the whole thing plays out.

5) There are some interesting discussions about religion. I like how this is not a divisive book, but that the different people are able to talk and work things out. And yet, it’s also realistic. (*Slight Spoiler: There’s a conversation in which Miriam tries to set up her Orthodox Jewish uncle with the Catholic Maria. He gently tells her that, while he’s happy to be Maria’s friend, because of their differing beliefs he doesn’t wish to pursue marriage because “We just believe in different things … It’s a lot harder to be married to, and raise a family with, someone who is different in these big ways. Not everyone feels that way, and that’s okay. But I do.” End Spoiler)


What a fun setting with the motel as a new home. And yes, now I want some of the famous grape pie.



Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Note: I’m posting this for Greg Pattridge’s Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday

7 thoughts on “Review / No Vacancy

  1. This sounds really good. What a culture shock to go from living in NYC to such a small town. Setting up a motel sounds like a lot of work, but it could be fun. Thanks for telling me about this book. I’ll be looking for it.


  2. Oh, my — what’s not to love about this book. Agree with Greg, there aren’t many books about hotels. I like the many themes in this story, especially how people can set aside their differences and work together. I’m curious where the guests come from. Thanks for sharing this entertaining book.

    Liked by 1 person

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