Unexpected relatives complicate a teen’s life.
In his junior year at a private school in Manhattan, Nick’s biggest concern is finally getting the attention of Eden, a girl he’s known since kindergarten. Nick’s ordinary, stable home life is upended when his father gets a phone call from a stranger named Sam. After a tension-filled weekend, Nick’s father reveals that Sam is the son he and his girlfriend gave up for adoption 30 years ago. Nick feels betrayed by the enormity of the secret that his parents have kept, and his anger at them threatens to taint his new relationship with Eden. He can’t separate his emotions about his family from his feelings for Eden and abruptly breaks up with her after sleeping together. His best friend Stevie tries to point out that he’s probably afraid of making the same mistake his father made. It’s not until Nick meets Sam and learns the details of his non-Jewish father’s early life in small-town Ohio that he can come to grips with his family's new reality. Nick is lucky in his choice of girlfriend—Eden patiently waits for him to sort things out.
Sheinmel effectively uses a breezy, often humorous first-person voice that’s deceptively slight in its handling of deep issues, even as Nick does the hard emotional work to pull himself out of the depths of his self-pity. (Fiction. 12 & up)