Library Journal Review
Three New York City teenagers struggle to come of age amid the chaos and aftermath of September 11. Peter's, Claire's, and Jasper's lives weave together as they come to terms with a new reality. A welcome addition to any YA fiction collection where there are few examples on the topic. (SLJ 9/09) (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
Levithan (How They Met, and Other Stories) successfully takes on the task of writing a 9/11 novel that captures the heartbreak of the events of that day through the eyes of three teenagers. Claire, in school that morning, finds herself drawn to late-night walks downtown. Her classmate Peter, waiting outside Tower Records to purchase the new Dylan album, watches the towers fall. And college student Jasper, who had previously met and planned a date with Peter, spends the day collecting papers that have blown into Brooklyn from the World Trade Center ("Something as mundane as two sheets of paper from an office file could provide the final evidence of how vulnerable we are"). Over the next weeks and months, they slowly and tentatively connect with each other, engaging in a healing process parallel to the one New York City itself experiences. Levithan renders the three distinct voices of his characters convincingly, and if some stylistic gambits (notably a 12-page paragraph conveying Peter's post-9/11 uncertainty) miss, more often than not Levithan brings genuine emotion to his portrayal of three broken teenagers helping each other heal. Ages 12-up. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Booklist Review
Levithan's stab at the great 9/11 novel captures the intersecting angles of fear, confusion, rage, and compassion that clashed in the wake of the attacks. We see the horrific morning through the eyes of three New York teens: Claire, dutifully at school; Peter, standing outside Tower Records to snag Dylan's latest album; and Jasper, asleep for the first wave. Their immediate reactions differ, but together they express a common yearning for a reprieve from media-drenched paralysis and endless what-iffing, without wanting to duck the full jet of emotion cauterizing the city. A romance between Peter and Jasper claims the bulk of the narrative weight, as Claire becomes mostly an injection of purity who helps brings the two together. There's no question that this is powerful stuff, honestly felt and deeply conveyed. Yet the story may resonate more with those who were teens or even adults at the time of the attacks rather than the intended audience, whose memories and feelings may not align with the characters. Ultimately though, this novel's multiple levels of emotion, trauma, and recovery nail many of the simultaneously personal and universal sentiments unleashed after 9/11.--Chipman, Ian Copyright 2009 Booklist