In this genre-bending debut YA novel combining elements of horror, magic realism, and realistic fiction, Rebecca Waldmann’s sheltered life as an Orthodox Jewish teen in Toronto is shattered when her father moves them to Edmonton, where she is plunged into the worldly life of a public high school.
Ordinary teenage angst is complicated by Rebecca’s lack of experience with a culture of wearing cool clothes, swearing, talking back to teachers, and other aspects of secular teen life. Things take a darker turn when Rebecca encounters antisemitism and discovers a secret about the long-ago death of her mother that her father has been hiding from her.
Rebecca doesn’t just defy the strictures of her ultraorthodox religion by wearing tight jeans and flirting with a non-Jewish boy. She discovers to her horror that she has undergone a change that makes puberty look easy—she’s been transformed into a golem! When this mythical clay creature from Jewish folklore takes her over, body and soul, she’s helpless to resist—or almost. Is it because she’s so furious with her father, is that why she is sometimes a girl with a cute boyfriend, and sometimes a very earthy, ugly monster?
In this new and very disturbing back-and-forth existence, Rebecca fights off the attention of a predatory schoolmate and her father’s determination to force her into an arranged marriage. She struggles to name her own desires and speak her own truths, and still be true to her own beliefs. But it’s hard to know your own beliefs when you are in a battle for your existence as a human…