cover image Once More with Chutzpah

Once More with Chutzpah

Haley Neil. Bloomsbury, $17.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-5476-0709-9

White twins Tally and Max shared everything, until, in their senior year, Max was in a car accident that left the driver dead. Since then, he’s been depressed and distant, and Tally’s been busy worrying about him—as well as denying that she’s facing any trouble of her own, despite her sudden inability to write song lyrics. But she hopes that the interfaith siblings’ youth trip to Israel with their temple will reconnect them and cheer Max. As the group, which includes minor Ethiopian American and Black characters, sets off, Tally tries to fix Max up; the cute, funny tour leader opens her eyes to her own demisexuality; and she’s forced to confront the fact that the accident affected her, too. Debut author Neil addresses Israel’s “complicated” history sans a Palestinian point of view; better handled is the exploration of how Tally’s compartmentalization and anxiety let her hide her feelings not only from others but from herself. Ages 12–up. Agent: Lauren Spieller, Triada US. (Feb.)