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GRAVITY by Leanne Lieberman


by Leanne Lieberman

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-55469-049-7
Publisher: Orca

A religious girl struggles to accept a sexuality that she’s taught is sinful. Ellie’s parents are “reborn-Orthodox” Jews. The family prays many times per day, keeps strictly kosher and barely associates with non-Jews. At a lakeside cottage with her unreligious grandmother one summer, Ellie falls hard for a girl. They kiss, but Lindsay is tauntingly unfriendly and leaves without saying goodbye. Back in Toronto, Ellie yearns for Lindsay and wrestles in secrecy with the notion of sin. Attempting to change, she yanks hair from her scalp and bites her cheek bloody. In counterpoint, Ima (her mother) is banished for singing too loudly in shul; she’s particularly fragile, but her actions mortify the family even as the harsh punishment unsettles them. Ellie slowly realizes that for her, Judaism is the same as her beloved geology and oceanography: “When I pray, the words reverberate...They ground me, like bull kelp...rooted to the ocean floor, yet still moving, undulating in the waves.” At the end, Judaism and gayness meld, with a touch of sweetness. Heartfelt—a must for Jewish and GLBT collections. (glossary) (Fiction. YA)