An electrifying follow-up to her bestselling I Was Amelia Earhart, Jane Mendelsohn's Innocence is a modern gothic coming-of-age story, a devastating X ray of American culture, and a piercing exploration of the inner life of a teenage girl growing up in New York City. Narrated with incisive wit by fourteen-year-old Becket, the novel traces her relationship with her widowed father, her encounters with the intimidating Beautiful Girls at school, her attraction to the mysterious and dangerous school nurse, her attachment to the raffish Tobey, and a series of devastating nightmares that threaten Becket's life as she moves from girl to woman.
Mendelsohn has written an allegory about the precarious state of the American teenager in a culture that sucks the life force out of its young, who are nurtured by movies and fantasy and narcissism rather than by values such as honesty or love. This is a world as startlingly original and hauntingly familiar as our dreams, where the line between fantasy and reality, between sanity and insanity, is razor-thin. Playful, frightening, profound, and gripping, Innocence is that rare thing-a page-turner with the depth of poetry and the immediacy of cinema.
"Mendelsohn is an exquisite crafter of prose.... Brilliant ...is not too strong a word."-Newark Star-Ledger
They were all dead. I was the only one left.
They'd done something awful with a pink plastic razor, two of them on the bed and one on the floor. The music was still lapping on the player. I think I mouthed the words.
Outside, it was one of those sunsets that nobody looks at, a red and orange and purple massacre, spilling its guts out above the city.
I don't understand why nobody notices. Those sunsets, they bleed all over.
I ran. I ran as fast as I could through the park as the sun set. First the sky turned gray, like smudged newsprint-there seemed to be words up there-and then it all faded to blue. The leaves on the trees went from green to purple. The street lamps turned on. As I ran out of the park behind the museum, night fell. I could hear it. Everything became quieter. The cabs stopped honking and slid by with their secret passengers. Lights arrived in the buildings like stars. Traffic moved in one wave downtown. It was Friday night. The sky went ...
If you liked Innocence, try these:
In this debut gothic novel mysterious visions, dark family secrets and a long-lost diary thrust Gemma and her classmates back into the horrors that followed her from India. (Ages 12+)
A magnificent meditation on a pivotal decade in our nation's history, is in every way different from the profane and sclerotic antihero of Sabbath's Theater.
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