Author: Deborah Heiligman
Where I got it: From NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review
Rachel thought she was grown up enough to accept that no one is perfect. Her parents argue, her grandmother has been acting strangely, and her best friend doesn't want to talk to her. But none of that could have prepared her for what she overheard in her synagogue's sanctuary.
Now Rachel's trust in the people she loves is shattered, and her newfound cynicism leads to reckless rebellion. Her friends and family hardly recognize her, and worse, she can hardly recognize herself. But how can the adults in her life lecture her about acting with kavanah, intention, when they are constantly making such horribly wrong decisions themselves? This is a witty, honest account of navigating the daunting line between losing innocence and entering adulthood—all while figuring out who you really want to be.
Rachel used to have a pretty perfect life. Her family was together, she had a great best friend, and loved her Rabbi and synagogue… But then things start to change. Her parents fight all the time. Her best friend has completely shut her out. And one night, she overhears something completely shattering in the synagogue while waiting for her class to start. This event begins a spiral of rebellion and acting out that hurts not only Rachel, but her family and friends as well. Can Rachel realize that no one is perfect, and that she’s still the one in control of her own actions, before it’s too late?
Intentions follows Rachel’s story as she goes through a pretty rough teenage rebellion, while blaming her actions on everyone around her. If her parents didn’t fight… If her friends were there for her… If her Rabbi wasn’t a liar… Things would be better. But over time, she realizes that the only one responsible for her behavior is her, and that she needs to take control of her life and make things right.
This is a really interesting “coming of age” type novel, made all the better because I feel like I learned something from reading it (I don’t know a whole lot about the Jewish religion). It’s so easy to identify with Rachel throughout the book, you really feel like you’re in her shoes – it totally is someone else’s fault that she’s acting out etc, because the character is so well written. And then as she begins to take ownership and control, the reader also experiences the guilt and relief from doing the right thing.
Definitely a great book for teens who are struggling with difficult situations, and awesome main character development. I would totally read this one again.