Reading this book, and the thoughts of our protagonist, Nomi, I can't help but be reminded of the dialogues and jokes I held with my sisters and friends when I was in high school. Sarcastic, self-deprecating, silly, and just overall teenage. (I'd like to think that's a permanent phase for me that I'll never "grow out of." Although I really wouldn't call it that, it's more like "lose" your teenage rather than grow of out it.) There are times when, reading this book, I was really reminded of my highschool life; how everything was felt so fiercely, and that was for things both bitter and wonderful. I remember how fiercely I felt about this boy named Nathaniel in high school. Sometimes, we would sit in his car at night and talk about deep and profound things that are probably now laughable, and that’s when we would kiss. That was the beauty of teenage, everything was so very sad, stupid, angry but hopeful. I just wanted to be free and experience all that I could. Be an artistic person, be a smart person, be somebody cool, but how? Still trying to figure that out.
Nomi, a sharp and intelligent girl, was born and raised in a conservative religious atmosphere that pushed her mother and sister away, leaving her and her dad on their own. Through her life as the Mennonite girl who often dreams of living New York with her entire family, she shows us the conflict between circumstance and love, rebellion and finding a particular faith, not in religion, but acquired through the disappointments she's faced. Nomi's voice, always with that teenage wit, slight-helplessness and uniquely teenage way of making this world always seem sweet and sad, leads us through this journey from start to end about a girl who has endured grief and confusion but all along she has kept all the memories and love alive with hope.