Sunday, March 12, 2006

Light Years, by Tammar Stein

Maya leaves Israel to come study in Virginia, but she is leaving more than her homeland, she is leaving behind the place where her first love, Dov, was murdered by a suicide bomber. Unable to cope with the grief from that loss (and her role in causing it), she retreats into nightly runs and her love of astronomy.

An almost certainly autobiographical look at being a foreign student in the US and coming to terms with a homeland that offers both beauty and pain (whether the dead boyfriend actually happened or not is irrelevant), Stein creates a world that is probably unknown to most Americans. The chapters that take place in Israel, in particular, portray a world that will be fascinating to anyone who has never been there.

My major reservation is that I don't think this is really a YA book. It will probably be most of interest to younger adults, but most likely in the 18 and up category. That doesn't mean that kids shouldn't read it (and won't enjoy it), but as a story that begins when Maya is already 18 and out of school, people will enjoy this book as an adult book.

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