cover image We Are the Goldens

We Are the Goldens

Dana Reinhardt. Random/Lamb, $16.99 (208p) ISBN 978-0-385-74257-3

After the first chapter of this absorbing contemporary novel, readers will know two things about narrator Nell Golden, a high school freshman: she is extremely close to her sister, Layla, a junior at the same San Francisco school, and Nell is about to make an announcement that could drive the two of them apart. Written as a confessional, from Nell to Layla, the story goes on to tell how Nell’s idolization of her sister is challenged when rumors spread about Layla having an affair with the school’s hip art teacher. Stunned by the news, Nell is having her own romantic disaster, as well, falling for a boy whose lust she mistakes for love. Layla is quick to comfort her, but Nell has trouble offering reciprocal support. Reinhardt (The Summer I Learned to Fly) succeeds in capturing the full gamut of fluctuating adolescent emotions, including the intensity of first love, the disappointment of misjudgment, and the pain of losing one’s innocence. As Nell faces difficult choices, one of her emotions remains steadfast: her deep devotion to Layla. Ages 14–up. Agent: Douglas Stewart, Sterling Lord Literistic. (May)