Fate brought them together. Will life tear them apart? Devorah is a consummate good girl who has never challenged the ways of her strict Hasidic upbringing. Jaxon is a fun-loving, book-smart nerd who has never been comfortable around girls (unless you count his four younger sisters). They've spent their entire lives in Brooklyn, on opposite sides of the same street. Their paths never crossed . . . until one day, they did. When a hurricane strikes the Northeast, the pair becomes stranded in an elevator together, where fate leaves them no choice but to make an otherwise risky connection. Though their relation is strictly forbidden, Devorah and Jax arrange secret meetings and risk everything to be together. But how far can they go? Just how much are they willing to give up? In the timeless tradition of West Side Story and Crossing Delancey, this thoroughly modern take on romance will inspire laughter, tears, and the belief that love can happen when and where you least expect it.
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What works: I love the voice of this coming of age story. Set in NY, two teens from different cultures find themselves trapped in an elevator during a hurricane. Devorah is a Hasidic Jew who is forbidden to speak to any males other than family. Jaxon isn't Jewish. Sparks ignite between them and they find that they have to continue to see each other even when it's forbidden. Along the way each question everything they've known. Fearing the unknown but willing to take a chance at love.
I'm a total sucker for a bittersweet love story and this one delivers. Think modern day WEST SIDE STORY with an engaging voice and two characters that you hope will somehow overcome the odds against them. And the odds are huge for this couple.
Saying that, this is more a coming of age story which has Devorah question everything, including her faith. There's a lot thrown their way: opposition, cultural differences, and even fear toward those who dare to question a way of life. Devorah starts out as the 'good' girl and at first tries to ignore the feelings she has whenever she's around Jaxon. Kind of like Romeo and Juliet without the tragic ending.
I loved whenever Devorah and Jaxon did get together. Devorah is stronger than she thinks. Jaxon is kind of like a goof ball but one thing about him is his determination to follow after something, in this case his feelings toward Devorah, even when his peers and others tell him otherwise.
The dual point of view worked here too. Readers are able to see what's happening through both characters. LaMarche does a great job giving readers a glimpse into the Hasidic world. I enjoyed seeing Devorah's family in action and their reactions to finding out about her feelings toward a goy, someone who isn't Jewish.
A perfect summer read for those who love a good bittersweet tale. Also kuddos for having a diverse cast of characters.