Saturday, May 14, 2005

Light Years

Light Years by Tammar Stein is about recovery from grief, and starting over.

Maya is Israeli and has just started her freshman year at the University of Virginia. In flashbacks, we find out that Maya, like all Israelis, finished two years of compulsory military service, so Maya is older than her peers. She is also older because of her experiences in her home country: her boyfriend, Dov, was killed by a suicide bomber.

Like Sarah Dessen's The Truth About Forever, this is a story about loss and about how hard it is to survive the loss of a loved one. And what does survive mean? Is it enough to keep breathing?

Maya is an outsider at university, and it is interesting to see her perspective on America and Americans. Flashbacks reveal Maya's life in Israel, which is fascinating; the Palestinian-Israel conflict, which is treated in a surprisingly even handed fashion; and Maya's relationship with Dov. At the same time, as Maya dwells on the past, her future keeps happening, and we find out about her life in the United States and the people she meets.

Highly recommended. This is well written; rarely have I read something that handles the use of flashbacks so well; and I love that it is set at university.

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