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NOTHING by Robin Friedman


by Robin Friedman

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-7387-1304-5
Publisher: Flux

A quiet, lyric look at the price of perfection. Parker Rabinowitz “doesn’t look Jewish” and lives his life with two goals: getting into Princeton and making his father happy. As a result, his schedule leaves no room for Parker, and little sister Danielle is neglected in equal measure. Danielle’s free-verse poems provide a counterpoint to Parker’s first-person narration of his downward spiral of binging and purging and lying. Added to the pressure is the tension of Jewish cultural identity: There’s no need to keep Kosher, but dating non-Jews is frowned upon. Parker’s parents’ involvement in Jewish charity work means they are never home and refuse to let anyone know about Mr. Rabinowitz’s cancer. Parker’s negative body image and need for control will be familiar to teen readers, but the callous dismissal of his few attempts to discuss his worries says worlds about social expectations for teen boys. Despite the many issues it tackles, this is a fast, well-written read, and while the conclusion is a bit too easy, the story is nonetheless moving. (author’s note) (Fiction. 12 & up)