Dani Bensimon is from Argentina, a country that has never quite been the same after July 18, 1994, the day a Jewish community center in Buenos Aries was bombed and Dani's aunt and unborn baby were killed. Nine years later the country of Argentina and Dani's family are still feeling the effects of this. Dani's family was once middle class; her father owned a clothing store and life was good. After the 1994 bombing much in Argentina changed. The economy faltered and Dani's family lost the store. With her father sinking further into depression, it doesn't seem that there is much hope for Dani, especially because Roberto, her boyfriend, is moving to Miami with his family. As a last resort, Dani's mother convinces her father to move to the United States. Dani, her younger sister Sarita, and their parents make their home in New York. The change is the easiest on Sarita, who at the age of seven, is excited about her new friends and is easily able to assimilate into the American way of life. I found Dani's ability to fit in quite amazing as well, yet she struggles a bit more. She misses Roberto, has a hard time understanding American slang and idioms, and finds some of the girls at her school to be mean and cliquish. When she befriends Jon, a classmate with Aspergers things get a bit more interesting as Jon's sister is one of the girls who had initially made fun of Dani.
While "real life" may not have ended with such a nice resolution, I did like how things end up for Dani and her family. Littman also includes some other interesting plotlines in this novel: Jon and his sister who seem to have everything, are still reeling from the loss of their father who was killed in 9-11 as he worked in the Twin Towers. Dani is able to truly understand what they are going through because of the experience of losing her aunt. Family loyalty, young love, and perseverance are also themes that are explored.
This is another wonderful read by Littman. I have loved her two previous novels, Confessions of a Closet Catholic and Purge as well. This novel is somewhat different because it is loosely based on an actual event that took place in Argentina. I was instantly intrigued by this aspect in the novel and quickly did a little research on my own to determine if Littman was creating a fictional event or one that really had taken place. Sadly, 87 people were killed and more than 100 injured in the terrorist bombing Littman writes of.