Zoe Fishman‘s sophomore effort mirrors her own experience. “As a sassy, liberal and ragingly insecure Jewish girl amongst my overwhelmingly blonde and Baptist peers, I always felt like a bit of an outsider growing up. The novel reflects that perspective.”
This and more can be found in a USA Today interview with the author, which also discusses Fishman’s interest in exploring a brother-sister relationship as it evolves over time.
Adult/High School–After her first year of college in Michigan, Ruth Wasserman returns home to Alabama 35 pounds lighter but still carrying around all her old insecurities about her looks. She is met at the airport by David, her athletic, smart older brother who evades her questions about his own life in college. As Ruth meets up with old friends, soothes her parents’ fears about her new ultra-skinny look, and starts dating David’s old best friend, Chris, she returns to work alongside David as a lifeguard at the local pool. When David gets high just before work one day and a young black girl slips underwater, it is up to Ruth to be clear-headed and save her. Ruth begins to realize that things are not as they seem. Not only do David’s lies about his soccer scholarship begin to unravel, but she suspects problems in her parents’ relationship. When she is hired to help a young girl lose weight, she finally confronts her own issues so that she can help her young charge avoid a similar path to an eating disorder. This is a well written, quick read with wide teen appeal. Ruth is believable, and her dialogue with David is in true sibling form. The characters are not stereotyped, and the complicated racial tensions, along with Ruth’s concern about beauty and conformity, convey the unique culture of one small southern town.–Connie Williams, Petaluma High School, CA