- Mass Market Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: Laurel Leaf (June 10, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0440239028
- ISBN-13: 978-0440239024
- Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 0.8 x 6.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,796,556 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Light Years Mass Market Paperback – June 10, 2008
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From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up - Haunted by the death of her boyfriend, a victim in a suicide bombing for which she feels responsible, Maya Laor struggles through her first year of astronomy studies at the University of Virginia. She misses Israel and her family and desperately tries to avoid connecting with anyone, including the handsome TA, Justin Case, who is working hard to get to know her. In chapters alternating between the Virginia present and her Israeli past, 20-year-old Maya tells her own story. She marvels at the unconscious privilege and seemingly unfounded fears of her college classmates, and remembers the excitement of her military service and her first love affair. These two cultures are light years apart. When her habit of running alone leads to a broken ankle, she realizes that she has made good friends who care about her and whom she cares about. This well-paced first novel, a moving study of grief and recovery, is also a love story that should appeal particularly to students interested in other ways of seeing the world and looking forward to their own college lives. - Kathleen Isaacs, Edmund Burke School, Washington, DC
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Gr. 8-12. Maya, 20, blames herself for the death of her boyfriend, who is killed by a suicide bomber in a Tel Aviv restaurant. Haunted by grief and guilt, she leaves Israel for college in the U.S., but although she makes friends, studies, and even begins to fall in love and have sex again, she can't forget. The first-person narrative moves eloquently back and forth between Maya's American present and her Israeli past: growing up in Israel, serving in the army, working in a Tel Aviv office, falling in love, and finally, losing someone in a shocking bombing. Most characters in this novel, one of the first about a contemporary Israeli young woman in a high-tech, secular world, are drawn with some complexity. Maya's "healing" seems a little preachy, but there's depth to her character: she's needy and angry, sarcastic and warm. She also loves her country, yet she doesn't talk politics. Though she considers the Palestinians as "those" people over the border ("They hated us"), she doesn't always focus on herself as living in a war-torn place. Of course, one book isn't enough to tell the whole story of the Middle East, so recommend this with books listed in the accompanying Read-alikes column, which speak from the diverse viewpoints of young Arabs and Jews caught up in the violence. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
Stein is a master of subtlety. Like in her other novels Light Years presents characters who sidle into the story, allow a glimpse into their troubled and hurt lives and walk out again. Like in real life we get an idea there are others whose stories are every bit worth telling but aren't told here. There's a hint of cruel, unfair everyday-reality in this and the courage to leave the reader with loose ends in this book as in others by the author.
Sadly, and that's the reason I didn't give four or five stars, Light Years doesn't hold on to this courage until the end. This end comes too soon and too fairytale. The story builds up towards the climax when her trauma is revealed not in a spectacular action but in words. Maya finally tells someone and, hey presto!, he is the right person and has the right words for her so she's healed and can go back home and everything is perfect, she just will tune out the news which may report another bombing. After all the psychologically convincing struggle with trauma, imperfection, jealousy, general insecurity about being a foreigner and a young girl, this healing comes too quickly and too finally. It may be a requirement for a YA novel to present the reader with an end that can boost their courage and I would have tolerated in every other author. But I know Stein can do better.
And it had a pretty happy ending, which I always like. :)
Told in a series of flashbacks, Maya's past in Israel is interspersed with her present in America. It's a captivating look at one side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It's also a glimpse into the difficulties of living in a new culture. This well-crafted story might appeal to older young adults or anyone interested in fiction about Israel or Palestine.