Like No Other by Una LeMarche
Recommend this to readers who love contemporary tales of star-crossed lovers, first loves, and stories of teens standing up for themselves against family and community. With delightful prose and authentic teen voices, the story culminates in a bittersweet ending that feels both authentic and true.
Diverse content: Devorah and Jaxon actually live on the same street but have never met before the start of the novel. Devorah is from a Hasidic sect, Jaxon is West Indian; they are from two different worlds that border each other in Brooklyn. The author is not Hasidic, but interviewed a number of people. Nevertheless, some Hasidic commentators have refuted certain aspects of the story as not based in fact. The West Indian cultural context feels less well-drawn. Jaxon’s circle of friends from his public high school is very diverse.
Study this for a winning tale of love-at-first-sight. Although both teens get POV chapters, the book is clearly the girl’s story; her stakes are higher and the culture seems more thoroughly realized on the page. The imbalance doesn’t necessarily mar the reading experience, but it is something to consider when delving into not one but two distinct cultures. Does it help or hurt the story that Jaxon’s world feels less researched, less detailed?