cover image How to Build a House

How to Build a House

Dana Reinhardt, . . Random/Lamb, $15.99 (227pp) ISBN 978-0-375-84453-9

Reinhardt artfully parallels the construction of a house with the reconstruction of a broken family in a work as intimate and intelligently wrought as her previous YA novels, A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life and Harmless . Shaken by the recent divorce of her father and stepmother and her separation from stepsister and best friend, Tess, Harper Evans jumps at the chance to participate in a summer program in a small Tennessee town, where she and other high school students will build a new house for a family whose home was destroyed by a tornado. Harper aims to bury herself in physical labor to forget about problems back in L.A., but gets sidetracked when she falls in love with Teddy, one of the house's intended residents. Weaving flashbacks of Harper's home life before and after the divorce into the romance between Harper and Teddy, Reinhardt builds a story within a story: one exploring reasons the heroine feels betrayed, the other focusing on how she learns to trust again. This meticulously crafted book illustrates how both homes and relationships can be resurrected through hard work, hope and teamwork. Ages 12-up. (May)