Synopses & Reviews
Rachel thought she was grown up enough to accept that no one is perfect. Her parents argue, her grandmother has been acting strangely, and her best friend doesn't want to talk to her. But none of that could have prepared her for what she overheard in her synagogue's sanctuary.
Now Rachel's trust in the people she loves is shattered, and her newfound cynicism leads to reckless rebellion. Her friends and family hardly recognize her, and worse, she can hardly recognize herself. But how can the adults in her life lecture her about acting with kavanah, intention, when they are constantly making such horribly wrong decisions themselves? This is a witty, honest account of navigating the daunting line between losing innocence and entering adulthood—all while figuring out who you really want to be.
"This witty but unsettling coming-of-age story from National Book Award finalist Heiligman (Charles and Emma) traces 15-year-old Rachel Greenberg's fall from innocence after a series of betrayals leaves her angry and confused. Rachel's life is in upheaval: her parents' once-solid marriage is dissolving and her best friend is experimenting with drugs and sex. But Rachel is hit hardest when she catches her hero, Rabbi Cohn, having sex in the sanctuary with a young bride-to-be. Feeling like she has no one to turn to, Rachel enters a downward spiral of her own. She begins a tentative romance with a childhood friend, but she isn't fully able to sort matters out until she starts focusing on tikkun olam, the concept of repairing a damaged world. Although the onslaught of disasters that pile up for Rachel get to be a bit much, and her final confrontation with the rabbi comes off as slightly artificial, Heiligman nails Rachel's reeling emotions as she tries to restore her faith and find answers and redemption. Ages 14 up. Agent: Ken Wright, Writers House." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
DEBORAH HEILIGMAN's most recent book, Charles and Emma, won numerous awards including a Printz Honor and received five starred reviews. She lives in New York City with her family.