A summer in paradise. That's all Marne wants. That's all she can think of when she asks her parents permission to spend the summer in Hawaii with Aunt Carole and her family.
But Marne quickly realizes her visit isn't going to be just about learning to surf and morning runs along the beach, despite the cute surfer boy she keeps bumping into. For one thing, 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.
This rich novel is a window into a different life and gets to the very heart of faith, identity, and family ties.
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Sonia Levitin is the author of many popular books for young readers, including Journey to America, The Return, and The Singing Mountain. She lives in Los Angeles, California.From School Library Journal:
Grade 7-10–While her parents travel for business, Marne, 15, looks forward to spending the summer in Hawaii with her aunt and her family. She's not quite sure what to expect, since her mom has been estranged for several years from Aunt Carole (now Chaya) due to Carole's extreme beliefs. Marne views the trip as an opportunity to expand her horizons, get a tan, run on the beach, and meet cute boys. What she encounters is another world, not just because Hawaii is an island community, but because Aunt Chaya, her rabbi husband, and their seven children are Hasids. Marne's secular Jewish upbringing hasn't prepared her for the strong level of religious devotion and the constant hard work that her aunt embraces with love every day. Marne slowly discovers the deep joy that this lifestyle brings as she helps with the children and becomes an integral part of the selfless community of women. When her best friend arrives for a vacation, Marne is stunned by Kim's shallowness; she realizes that she isn't the same person she used to be, and that her experiences have helped her to accept the terrible tragedy that devastated her family five years earlier. It's rare to find such well-developed characters, empathetic and sensitive religious treatment, and carefully crafted plotlines in one novel. Levitin's strong portrayal of a young woman who is trying to find her own beliefs and develop a sense of family makes this novel a real winner.–Susan Riley, Mount Kisco Public Library, NY
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Book Description Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2007. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110375837515
Book Description Knopf Books for Young Readers. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0375837515 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.0118545