Like No Other by Una LaMarche
Jaxon and Devorah grew up in the same neighborhood in Brooklyn, but may as well have lived on two different planets. Jaxon comes from a tight-knit black family, attends the local public school, and crushes on the cute Indian girl from homeroom. Devorah is from a Hasidic Jew from the Chabad-Lubavitch sect. She lives in a world dictated by rules, but also surrounded by close friends and family. This unlikely pair meet in an elevator on the night of a hurricane, and their romance quickly takes off. But how can teenagers from very different worlds both respect their own values and be together?
I had a hard time with the premise of this story. I know it was necessary for the characters to meet in some unlikely way, but it was hard for me to suspend my belief about their romance. That being said, I liked their friendship a lot.
I loved Devorah – her voice, her internal struggle, and her decisions. It’s important to remember that feminism means making your own choices, even if those are not the choices others (readers) would have made. I want to be friends with someone as caring, thoughtful, and brave as Devorah.
Both characters were multi-faceted and very, very real. I was blown away by the truth of the dialogue. One line, in particular, kept me up at night: “Some people don’t notice anything but an almost-six-foot-tall black man. After Trayvon Martin got shot in Florida, Mom wouldn’t let me wear a hoodie for six months.” My only concern is the portrayal of Devorah’s family. I understand that Hasidic Jews are very strict, but I think there were some stereotypes introduced – including the idea that they will resort to violence to protect their traditions.
Overall, the story was interesting and I loved all of the internal dialogue. We need more stories with unique voices, and this certainly is one of them.
Devorah – Her internal struggle between her family and her outside life was really interesting. I really liked that she wasn’t just a rebel – she made rational choices about what she wanted with her life in her particular circumstances.
“Chabad-Lubavitch is one Hasidic sect” I say. “There are many”. And then – because I can’t resist – I add, “What, we all look the same to you?”
Is this worth a book hangover?
Yes. The plot is fast-moving and the dialogue compelling. Definitely check this book out.
Fun Author Fact
Una LaMarche’s blog has an awesome name: The Sassy Curmudgeon
Read this next:
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
Post Author: Anisha
Anisha adores YA romance – and thinks that all love stories should start on the beach and end with the first kiss. Jess is helping her expand her horizons with more diverse, interesting books from newer authors.