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A Brief Chapter In My Impossible Life
ISBN: 9780385746984
Author: Reinhardt, Dana
Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books
Published: 2006-02-14
Retail: $15.95    OUR PRICE: $2.99
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Binding Type: Hardcover
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Annotation: Simone’s starting her junior year in high school. Her mom’s a lawyer for the ACLU, her dad’s a political cartoonist, so she’s grown up standing outside the organic food co-op asking people to sign petitions for worthy causes. She’s got a terrific younger brother and amazing friends. And she’s got a secret crush on a really smart and funny guy - who spends all of his time with another girl. Then her birth mother contacts her. Simone’s always known she was adopted, but she never wanted to know anything about it. She’s happy with her family just as it is, thank you. She learns who her birth mother was - a 16-year-old girl named Rivka. Who is Rivka? Why has she contacted Simone? Why now? The answers lead Simone to deeper feelings of anguish and love than she has ever known, and to question everything she once took for granted about faith, life, the afterlife, and what it means to be a daughter. Ages 12 and up.
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Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2006 Fall)
Simone is sixteen when her birthmother, Rivka, contacts her. Hesitantly, they begin to forge a relationship; then Simone learns Rivka is dying of ovarian cancer. Reared as an atheist, Simone organizes a Passover seder to celebrate Rivka's life. First-time author Reinhardt deftly raises questions of family and friendship, identity and self-expression, and faith and religion, without offering any easy answers. Copyright 2006 Horn Book Guide Reviews.
Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2006 January #1)

In a moving first novel, Reinhardt uses a sure but gentle hand to explore the relationship that develops between an adopted teen and her biological mother. Simone Turner-Bloom, 16, has always known she was adopted but has avoided asking questions about her past. She thinks of Rivka, the woman who gave her up at birth, in abstract terms: "Rivka became just a word to me, one with geometric shape, all angles and points. Somehow I've managed to keep myself from attaching it to a face." Thus it comes as a shock when Rivka calls to suggest that the two of them meet. Reluctantly agreeing, Simone is unprepared for the profound impact the reunion has on her life. During the next several weeks as she becomes acquainted with her biological mother, Simone learns of her Orthodox Jewish roots and is introduced to a new culture. As Rivka's tragic history gradually unfolds, Simone finds herself questioning things that have previously seemed irrelevant: the circumstances of her adoption, the possible existence of God and the meaning of family. At the same time, she enters her first serious relationship with a boy, who acts as both guide and confidante during Simone's "chapter" of self-discovery. Besides offering insight into the customs of Hasidic Jews, this intimate story celebrates family love and promotes tolerance of diverse beliefs. Readers will quickly become absorbed in Simone's quest to understand her heritage and herself. Ages 12-up. (Feb.)

[Page 63]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2007 October #1)
"In a moving first novel, Reinhardt uses a sure but gentle hand to explore the relationship that develops between an adopted teen and her biological mother.... Readers will quickly become absorbed in Simone's quest to understand her [Orthodox Jewish] heritage and herself," wrote PW in a starred review. Ages 12-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2006 March)

Gr 7 Up -Simone, 16, has always known she was adopted but has never had any real desire to meet her birth mother despite the fact that she knows her parents keep in touch. Her family is perfect the way it is, thank you. Sure, she looks different and has different talents from her parents and younger brother, but that has never mattered. That all changes when Rivka calls and wants to meet her. What had begun as a normal school year changes as Simone must come to terms with who she is and how she fits into both families. When she then learns that Rivka is dying, it becomes a year that challenges her belief in God, a belief she did not know she had. It becomes a year that strains the bonds of friendships and family ties, both old and new. It becomes a year of her first boyfriend, and a year in an impossible life. Reinhardt's first novel is superbly crafted and has compelling and strong characters. It asks the big questions, about love, about faith, about what it means to be a daughter. It also has strong subplots that deal with friendship; with boyfriend/girlfriend relationships, both good and bad; with standing up for what one believes is right; and with struggling to keep up with academics and fit in at school when things seem to be falling apart on a personal level. The novel deals with big issues without being preachy or sappy. It is a great read.-Janet Hilbun, Texas Woman's University, Denton, TX

[Page 228]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.