This coming-of-age teen novel by a Canadian first-time author is the unique tale of Ellie Gold, an Orthodox high school student in Toronto in the late 1980’s. Ellie is completely happy with her observant lifestyle, until she meets another young woman over the summer at her grandmother’s cottage. There is an instant attraction between them. Ellie feels forced to choose between her community and her sexuality. At the same time her sister Neshama is plotting to leave the fold, while their mother struggles to find her own place. Ellie is a well-developed character, whereas the others are not as believable and are more stereotypical. She has a close relationship with her non-observant grandmother, who is there to support the two sisters in any way they need her to be. The reader will find the writing style compelling. Some teenage readers may be uncomfortable with the fact that Ellie directly confronts the lust she feels toward this new friend. The topic of teens grappling with feelings of homosexuality within the Orthodox world is an unexplored topic in young adult novels. Recommended reading audience is high school age.
Shelly Feit has an M.L.S. and a Sixth-year Specialist’s Certificate in information science. She is the library director and media specialist at the Moriah School in Englewood, NJ.