Friday's Finds - Strange Relations
After several failed attempts to find a cozy fun read for bedtime for me, I finally succeeded. I found Strange Relations by Sonia Levitin. This book will be part of the 999 Reading Challenge in two different categories, Young Adult and Jewish Authors.
Strange Relations is an engaging story about Marne, a fifteen year old girl, who goes to spend the summer with her Aunt Carole in Hawaii. Only Aunt Carole isn't even Aunt Carole anymore—she's Aunt Chaya, married to a Chasidic rabbi and deeply rooted in her religious community. Nothing could be more foreign to Marne, and fitting into this new culture—and house full of kids—is a challenge. But as she settles into her newfound family's daily routine, she begins to think about spirituality, identity, and finding a place in the world in a way she never has before.
In addition to the main story of Marne's adjustment to life in Hassidic community is an understory of pain and grief. Marne's younger sister was kidnapped many years ago but her parents haven't recovered and all of them are closed in with their own grief.
Sonia Levitin won a Sydney Award for this novel. There are very few novels for young adults which contain religious Jewish characters. Most of the Jewish characters in young adult novels are highly assimilated.
What are you reading in 2009?