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St. Ursula's Girls Against the Atomic Bomb
Raine, a wildly eccentric 18-year-old, is making her second try for senior year at St. Ursula's school on Manhattan's Upper West Side. Her guidance counselor is Al, who lives next door to Raine's wealthy, intellectual family and has seen Raine playing the bagpipes in her garden or befriending homeless people. Obsessed with "humanity's cruel streak," Raine prefers to organize antinuclear protests and to keep scrapbooks on the Holocaust rather than study, upsetting her high-achieving parents. But her idealistic, "crazy, jangling" conversation is filled with truths that soothe Al, whose marriage is disintegrating, and he finds himself unwillingly pulled toward his student. Mixing sharp dialogue, lyrical narration, and Raine's yearning, intelligent diary entries, first-novelist Hurley explores her characters' complicated, intersecting lives with an affection that's contagious, even as she asks deeper questions about how to live bravely and survive betrayals, both global and personal.
Readers won't easily forget Raine, who, despite her apocalyptic fears and flights of fancy, recognizes the world's "astonishing things."
St. Ursula's Girls Against the Atomic Bomb
Book / by Valerie Hurley / Paperback: 272 pages / Plume (November 30, 2004)
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