This is the perfect book for the teens (and grown-ups) who are waiting for the new Joan Bauer, Deb Caletti or Sarah Dessen. With this first novel, Dana Reinhardt has catapulted herself directly onto my list of must-read authors. I'm going to badger the YA librarian until she orders it for the library, and then I'm going to recommend it like crazy.
How could I not?:
School started last week. So you can probably imagine what it's like. There's a feeling like the year can go any way you want it to: teachers don't know you yet, your clothes are new, your hair is freshly is freshly cut and styled, and also Cleo's boobs got really big over the summer. I had suspected this all summer long and mentioned it to her on more than one occasion, but you know how it is hard to notice changes when they're happening right in front of you. So when we got back to school and a few of our other friends said something to her, she started to realize that maybe it really was true and maybe she should actually go to one of those old, heavily perfumed ladies in the women's intimates department at Filene's and get herself measured for a new bra because, as I've mentioned, I'm pretty good at math, which includes geometry, and I can tell you with confidence that she is no longer a 32B. And then today, Conor Spence, who's a total jerko jock but is also kind of hot if you like guys like that, which neither of us does, stopped and said, "Nice tits, Warner" to Cleo as we walked by him in the hallway, and she was totally mortified but also, I imagine, a little bit thrilled.
I've read gazillions of female YA coming-of-age novels that deal with family and friends and first love and everything else that comes with that time, and I've read a decent number of books that deal with adoption, but I've never read one that deals so well with faith. Simone begins her journey as the staunch atheist daughter of an ACLU lawyer and a political cartoonist, close-minded in that way that anyone can be when they don't understand (or won't accept) that there are other ways of looking at things. Then, Rivka, her biological mother -- a woman that was raised as a Hasidic Jew -- enters the scene.
It's just wonderful. Lots of thumbs up.