Lucy’s perfect life is falling apart. Her boyfriend has dumped her; her mother is across the country pursuing her new job; Lucy is now responsible for helping her overworked dad take care of her younger brothers; and, to top it all off, she is a high school senior worried about the looming deadline for college applications. Faced with all this pressure, she feels she has no life of her own and has put aside her life-long passion and talent for dance. Then, in a sudden burst of fate, Lucy manages to literally crash into Dov, a new senior who has just arrived from Israel. Dov seems sullen, and it looks like he’s happy staying that way. Lucy, fresh from her life-shattering break-up, wants nothing to do with him. After all, any relationship would be short-lived, since Dov is adamant about returning to Israel to join the army at the end of the school year. He struggles with feelings of honor and pride and carries a heavy family burden of his own: the death of his brother in an automobile accident a year ago. Caught up in her personal emotional roller-coaster, Lucy tries to ignore the growing attraction pulling them together. As their friendship reluctantly grows stronger, Dov helps Lucy find herself. She returns to the dancing she loves, stands up for personal space within her family, and begins to care about her future in a more thoughtful and serious way. Now, for their relationship to survive, Lucy must pull Dov out of the tightly woven cocoon in which he’s wrapped himself.
This is a book about choices. Senior year of high school is often a difficult and stressful time, and when family issues conflict with the freedom to choose the next step in life, the process can feel overwhelming. Lucy makes an unexpected and creative choice at the story’s end, one that demonstrates her growing maturity and satisfies her on every level.
Although the story is set in the United States, there is a clear focus on Israel, both what it means to Lucy based on her family history, as well as Dov’s determination to join the Israeli army — a mandatory rite of passage for all Israeli teens — in spite of his parents’ understandable fears. He is proud of being an Israeli and wants to serve his country like his peers.
Readers will identify with Lucy and the turmoil of feeling like your life is controlled by everyone else. The characters are well-rounded and have depth, notably, in addition to the protagonists, Lucy’s grandmother, an energetic senior citizen with a wife. This grandmother gives Lucy wise advice and helps ground her when her complicated life seems barely manageable. The high school world is expertly crafted and will feel familiar to readers, who will be hooked from the first few pages and reeled into the drama right along with Lucy, Dov, and their families.
Marcia Berneger is a retired teacher who lives with her husband and three crazy dogs. She taught both first and second grade, as well as special education. She currently teaches Torah school, in addition to her volunteer work in classrooms, libraries, and with various fundraisers. She lives in San Diego.