Like No Other
by Una LaMarche
Razorbill, 2014. 347 pages. Young adult fiction.
Devorah is a strict Hasidic Jew. Jaxon is the son of first-generation Caribbean immigrants. Their paths would never have crossed if they hadn't found themselves trapped together in a hospital elevator on the day the power goes out in New York City as the result of hurricane-force winds. The friendship they develop has them breaking all the rules, sneaking out an arranging secret meetings just so they can be together. Will it only be a matter of time before they get caught? Can their relationship last in a world that only sees how they are different?
This book was a very realistic modern Romeo & Juliet story, with "star-crossed lovers" taking chances to be with the one they love. But what I like most about it is that LaMarche is very aware, the whole time, of the realities her characters face. This allows her to bring the book into not just a discussion of love and lust, but an understanding of freedom, and the difference between acting out of belief or faith, especially in religion, and acting out of blind obedience. I thought the ending was perfectly played out. There was some strong language, but for the most part it was a pretty clean read. This was a book that left me thinking, even after I turned the last page.