• Review
February 26, 2013
Rachel’s once hap­pi­ly mar­ried par­ents are fight­ing all the time. Her once best friend, Alex­is, is remote and unfriend­ly. And when Rachel turns for guid­ance to Rab­bi Cohn, a role mod­el and some­one she’s always con­sid­ered just about per­fect, she is shat­tered to over­hear him hav­ing sex IN THE SYN­A­GOGUE SANC­TU­ARY with a woman who is not his wife. Rachel’s world crash­es down around her and she spins out of con­trol, mak­ing bad deci­sions and doing things she’d nev­er have thought her­self capa­ble of (think drugs and sex). Heilig­man has a pitch-per­fect ear for teenage con­ver­sa­tion (both inter­nal and exter­nal), from its angst to its cyn­i­cism and black humor, and the teenage char­ac­ters in the nov­el are par­tic­u­lar­ly rich­ly drawn. Their volatile, hor­mone-dri­ven see­saw­ing feels authen­tic. But at the book’s end, every­thing is pret­ti­ly tied up (dou­bly so in an epi­logue which takes place years lat­er) — mak­ing for an unre­al­is­ti­cal­ly neat res­o­lu­tion. Read­ers may feel under­es­ti­mat­ed by the author’s wish to make every­thing right again. Rec­om­mend­ed for ages 14 and up.

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