Addresses Issues/Diverse · Contemporary · YA

YA Diversity Book Club: Like No Other by Una LaMarche

ya diversity


Like No Other by Una LaMarche

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.

Jaxon 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.

Though their 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.


“We can quibble what to call it”

Diversity.  It’s there in our everyday lives so why aren’t we reading more of it?

If you’ve been anywhere on twitter or the blogosphere as of late you’ve heard about the “WeNeedDiverseBooks” campaign.  (Tumblr:  We Need Diverse Books )  This of course stirred up quite a few conversations, one of which I had with Sandie over @ Teen Lit Rocks about how she wished more diverse characters were highlighted. Now, I’m a small town southern girl and don’t exactly have the same opportunities as other areas in the country to experience diverse cultures first hand so I suggested we start a book club to broaden my horizons and help promote more diverse titles (win/win right?)  Sandie hailing from NYC and being from a diverse background herself was the perfect partner to help me better navigate in the new worlds that were open to me and she suggested adding a few fellow bloggers (Lucy over @ The Reading Date & the girls over @ We Heart YA) and here we are with our inaugural YA Diversity Book Club pick!

For our first pick, LIKE NO OTHER, I was given the choice of what kind of post I wanted to write and I thought what’s better than showing you guys what I learned in reading just one diverse book?  Let’s break down the different areas of diversity:


City:  New York City –  I’ve never been here but I can’t remember a time when I haven’t wanted to go.  THERE IS JUST SO MUCH.  Of what you ask?  EVERYTHING.  Though I haven’t made it there, every book I read that is set in NYC makes me fall a little more in love.  I have been to L.A., another large and diverse city, and loved every minute of it.  Being immersed in so many things at once is such a great experience and I sincerely hope to make it there one day to see for myself how big this world can be.

Neighborhood:  Crown Heights (see the wiki page for more info on the riots which are mentioned in the book and serve as the basis for the tension between the two sides of the neighborhood.)  It amazes me that a neighborhood could be split in half like this. . .you cross one street and that’s it?  I’m used to driving from one part of town to another and seeing a gradual escalation of wealth, or when driving home the opposite :P, but to literally be able to turn around and it be a “whole new world” is mind boggling.


Jaxon is of Caribbean/West Indian decent but what was most important about Jaxon to me was the strong family element that went against the stereotypical casting of a black family being a single mother with a dead beat dad.  There was none of that present here and I loved it.  Jaxon is smart, comes for a loving two parent household, and has a strong male influence.  He is the perfect diverse character to show you that stereotypes are made to be proven wrong.  His family was by far the biggest hidden gem of the book.


Devorah and her family are Lubavitch, a sect of Hasidic Judaism.  I will admit to you that I do not know a single Jewish person (we are a Catholic dominated area) nor do I know anything about Hasidim specifically other than there is a rapper who is (Matisyahu, he’s mentioned in the book too) so learning more about Dev, her family, and their traditions was really interesting.  Jaxon struck more of a chord with me but I found myself trying to picture how I would be if I had grown up in Dev’s culture.  Would I react the same?  Question the rules?  It takes a strong person to adhere to such rules that to someone not raised in that environment would think as a small act but in their community is a huge grievance against someone.  I admire their conviction in their faith, its something that isn’t common in today’s society as a whole.


I learned the best lesson you can from a diverse book.  Just because you can’t relate 100% with a character and their situation at hand doesn’t mean you can’t connect with them emotionally and by doing so learn something new about someone who is different.




Want to learn more about LIKE NO OTHER or Una LaMarche?  Follow the links!

We Heart YAQ & A with Una LaMarche

Teen Lit RocksBook Club Chat Excerpts

The Reading DateFive Greatest Hits

Thanks to Razorbill for sending us copies for review!


5 thoughts on “YA Diversity Book Club: Like No Other by Una LaMarche

  1. Yes yes yes, to your overall lesson! It’s so true. We’re so glad to be part of this book club with you. Can’t wait for more great reflections on more great diverse stories!

  2. Kristina, I love your post! I like that the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign really inspired you & brought you to the book club. I agree that the setting is so alive in this book and Like No Other wouldn’t be the same without it. And smiling at your Overall statement. Looking forward to more book club chats with you!

  3. LOVE this post. I can’t believe it took me this long to post a comment. I suck. Seriously, I am so happy you had this idea and are in this with me. And look at all everyone learned just from this one book. Great reflections and fabulous overall statement!

  4. I liked Jaxon in this book because he never gave up on Devorah and Devorah grows up fast in this book and found her own voice. This was a page-turner for me but I’m a complete sucker for forbidden love stories.

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