Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-04-14
- Reviewer: Staff
Devorah is a Hasidic Jew, and her life is full of loving family, constant ritual, and avoiding outsiders. Jaxon is a smart, funny black teenager who has yet to see much success with girls. Both live in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, but it takes a stuck elevator during a hurricane for the two to share their first words. Despite Devorah’s trepidation, sparks fly. Intense first love unfolds fast and furious between this unlikely pair, and Devorah is terrified they’ll be found out, shaming her family and ruining her future within her community. Readers will fall for these two lovestruck teenagers as easily as they fall for each other. Devorah’s chapters are rich in detail about Hasidic Jewish life, both the pain its rigid rules bring her and the love it inspires in her. Jaxon’s big heart and romantic nature make him the perfect match for Devorah, who craves personal freedom and a chance to chart her own future. LaMarche’s (Five Summers) characters are authentic and fully realized, and the dire consequences that threaten this clandestine romance make the novel read like a thriller. Ages 12–up. (July)
First love, with complications
“Can we choose each other?” It’s a question without an easy answer: Jaxon is black, and Devorah comes from a strict Hasidic community. She’s not allowed to be alone in a man’s company before marriage, let alone date a non-Jewish boy, and marriage is arranged by one’s parents. These are the norms in Devorah’s world, and she’s never questioned them—until she and Jaxon find themselves stranded in an elevator during a power outage. How can Devorah and Jaxon choose each other, when to do so could ostracize Devorah from the only world she’s ever known?
Like No Other is a lighter, less intense version of Eleanor & Park, and is just as good. Despite the struggles Jaxon and Devorah face regarding their love, the story never loses its wit and humor. Devorah’s religious life is not without limitations, and though she loves her faith and her family, she hopes to go to college and enjoy the same freedoms as her non-Hasidic counterparts. Meanwhile, Jaxon worries that he won’t live up to everyone’s expectations. Smart, charming and responsible, Jaxon can select any college he wants, but he hasn’t found his passion yet.
Like No Other is a contemporary romance about finding first love, but just as important, it’s a story about finding oneself.
Kimberly Giarratano is the author of Grunge Gods and Graveyards, a young adult paranormal mystery.