Hoban's story of eleven-year-old Josie, dragged from suburban Connecticut to Jerusalem by her divorced, clichÃ‰-ridden modern mother, is one of that host of juvenile novels written in a Salingeresque first person but expressing a contrary, domesticated point of view. (When Mom consoles her about not yet needing a bra, ""I guess she's right. . . . I mean, people are children for such a short time. . . ."") Not knowing Hebrew, Josie is sent to a Christian school of foreigners, where she is tormented by a German boy and ignored by everyone else. Her mother, between declarations of love, is off and about with her current boyfriend, and Josie's only friend is Mira, an elderly, warm-hearted Russian emigre who arouses Josie's jealousy when she too gets a boyfriend. Mother at last decides to break up with Boris and go home--maybe to California; and Josie comes both to love Jerusalem and to understand Mira's need for Griska. On the airplane home she meets a cute boy. Meanwhile Josie's loneliness establishes reader contact, and the pleasures of the Russians' company and the Jerusalem setting have their moments.