Title: Like No Other
Author: Una LaMarche
Release Date: July 24, 2014
Source: ARC from Publisher
Fate brought them together. Will life tear them apart?Devorah is a consummate good girl who has never challenged the ways of her strict Hasidic upbringing.Jaxo is a fun-loving, book-smart nerd who has never been comfortable around girls (unless you count his four younger sisters).They’ve spent their entire lives in Brooklyn, on opposite sides of the same street. Their paths never crossed…until one day, they did.When a hurricane strikes the Northeast, the pair becomes stranded in an elevator together, where fate leaves them no choice but to make an otherwise risky connection.Thought heir relation is strictly forbidden, Devorah and Jax arrange secret meetings and risk everything to be together. But how far can they go? Just how much are they willing to give up?In the timeless tradition of West Side Story and Crossing Delancey, this thoroughly modern take on romance will inspire laughter, tears, and the belief that love can happen when and where you least expect it.
Sometimes there are some books that sound really interesting and make me want to read them, without necessarily seeming like they are something extraordinary. But then I read those books and find myself being completely blown away by what I read. Una LaMarche’s Like No Other is one of those books. It completely blew me away.
Devorah has always been seen as a good girl. And most of the time, it’s not just appearances. Never in her sixteen years has she set foot out of line. She has always followed her parents’ rules and lived following the strict Hasidic values of her community. But when she gets trapped in an elevator with Jaxon, things start to change for Devorah. She finds herself wanting to know more about this boy, even though doing so would be going against everything she is and what her family stands for. When he finds himself in an elevator with Devorah, Jaxon wants to make her feel safe. Where he normally gets tongue-tied around girls, Jaxon finds himself talking to Devorah like talking to girls is something he does all the time. The two feel a connection, but can that connection survive outside a stalled elevator? Everything is working against them, but Jaxon and Devorah can’t deny that they want to be together. But will they be able to make it through everything that is standing in their way?
To make a really bad joke, the title kinda says it all when it comes to this book. Una LaMarche’s Like No Other is unlike any other book I’ve read recently. Sure, when your first look at it, it sounds like any other story about teenaged star-crossed lovers—two people who are fighting to be together when everything is trying to stop them from doing just that. But Like No Other is about so much more than that. For starters, this story is about people who don’t often get the spotlight when it comes to YA romance novels. Devorah is form a strict Hasidic Jew community. Jaxon is from a West Indian family. That alone makes the story interesting. But what makes the story so captivating is how well-written it is, and how both cultures are weaved into the story in a way that makes it seems like it’s nothing out of the ordinary. When I was reading, I knew that Devorah was Hasidic and that she lived in a Hasidic community, but it didn’t feel like that was her defining character. It was just part of the bigger story. The same goes for Jaxon being West Indian. What I appreciated was all the elements of the Hasidic culture that were weaved into the story. I am not Jewish (or much of any religion for that matter) and I don’t claim to know much of anything about Hasidic Judaism, but I could tell as I was reading that Una LaMarche really did her research in order to present as realistic a portrayal of that world. Those elements of the story were interesting to read about and even made me seek out more information on that culture. Beyond that, Like No Other was a love story and we all know that I can’t resist a good story. I loved seeing this story play out and though I understand why it had to end the way it did and even if that ending was satisfying and felt right, the hopeless romantic in me couldn’t help but want a different outcome. I love where the characters ended up at the end of the story, but I wanted more.
It might be obvious given everything I’ve already said about Like No Other, but Devorah and Jaxon were unlike any other characters I’ve read about in YA recently. Beyond being a girl who lives in a Hasidic community, Devorah is a just a girl trying to figure out where she fits in the world, trying to figure out how to make her faith and her desires for her future line up with one another. I loved how she started challenging and questioning everything she had ever been told after she met Jaxon. It made her seem like a real person. And Jaxon was just a hopeless romantic. I loved reading this story from his perspective, seeing the lengths he would go to try and make things better for him and Devorah even if everything seemed to be standing in their way. At the end of the day, I loved that these characters were good for each other. They helped the other realize what they wanted and do something about it. They may not have had the easiest time being together, but when they were, they were good for each other.
Una LaMarche’s Like No Other was a very different read than what I thought it was going to be. It has the romance that I love in all the contemporary stories I read but it also made me think about everything that can stand in the way of two people who want nothing more than to be together. Like No Other is simply one of those books that everyone should read.