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Young Adult Fiction Lgbt


by (author) Leanne Lieberman

Orca Book Publishers
Initial publish date
Nov 2008
LGBT, General (see also headings under Social Themes), Jewish
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Nov 2008
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Oct 2008
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 12 to 18
  • Grade: 8 to 12
  • Reading age: 12 to 18


Ellie Gold is an orthodox Jewish teenager living in Toronto in the late eighties.

Ellie has no doubts about her strict religious upbringing until she falls in love with another girl at her grandmother's cottage. Aware that homosexuality clashes with Jewish observance, Ellie feels forced to either alter her sexuality or leave her community. Meanwhile, Ellie's mother, Chana, becomes convinced she has a messianic role to play, and her sister, Neshama, chafes against the restrictions of her faith. Ellie is afraid there is no way to be both gay and Jewish, but her mother and sister offer alternative concepts of God that help Ellie find a place for herself as a queer Jew.

About the author

LEANNE LIEBERMAN is the author of five young adult novels, including The Most Dangerous Thing, Gravity (Sydney Taylor Notable), The Book of Trees and Lauren Yanofsky Hates the Holocaust (Sydney Taylor Notable and Bank Street Best Book). Her adult fiction has been published in New Quarterly, Descant, Fireweed, the Antigonish Review and Grain. She’s a schoolteacher in Kingston, Ontario.

Leanne Lieberman's profile page


  • Commended, CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens, starred selection
  • Commended, American Library Association (ALA) Rainbow Book List
  • Commended, Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL) Sydney Taylor Book Award - Notable Books

Excerpt: Gravity (by (author) Leanne Lieberman)

"All through dinner a silent rage courses through me. Judaism says I am an abomination, yet God and His commandments are supposed to be good. Mrs. Lowenstein says I can change, but I've tried and it didn't work. Neshama says God is just an idea made up by stupid men who say women can't love other women. What is God anyway? Some big guy in the sky? The creator? Creator of what? I know dinosaur bones are older than the Torah."

Editorial Reviews

"This novel explores the world of Orthodox Judaism...[a] powerful book."

Resource Links

"Heartfelt - a must for Jewish and GLBT collections."


"Lieberman's confidence is impressive. She is in complete command of her material. Her work is like origami, in which meanings gently unfold. She treats Ellie's emerging eroticism with taste and delicacy."

The Globe and Mail

"A page-turner in which vivid description furthers the development of character and plot…In advocating for a heightened ecological emphasis in Judaism, Ellie displays genuine caring and shows that conscious, rather than automatic, responses are what keep any practice alive."

Canadian Literature

"Thoughtful, quirky, and moving."

Tablet Magazine

"Ellie is a memorable protagonist...any teenager, particularly girls whose family life centres on religion of any sort will connect with Ellie's story."

CM Magazine

"How [Ellie] copes with the internal conflicts is beautifully and compellingly written by first time novelist Leanne Lieberman. Ellie's character is well rounded and refreshingly different from many female teen protagonists...As a Canadian novel focusing on coming out as a lesbian, this book should be included in a high school library collection."

The Bookmark (BCTLA)

"There are few books that deal this frankly with the inner conflict of a religious teen trying to come to terms with her or his sexuality."


"Presents us with several questions that we all have about growing up, and so, we make connections even if we are not Jewish...One searches for books like these in which one turns each page to find answers to age-old questions."

Tri State Young Adult Book Review Committee

"Lieberman successfully develops her characters, and does not shy away from the lust commonly experienced by teenagers...An excellent work."

"A remarkably sensitive and credible portrait of a girl whose faith collides with her sexuality, and who refuses to compromise either."

The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"A complex and sensitive read for mature teens."

The StarPhoenix

"Gravity is a compelling, well-written story that... leaves readers wanting more - and, rightly so, leaves them to draw their own conclusions about whether orthodoxy and homosexuality can coexist."

The Jewish Independant

"Lieberman writes her protagonist seamlessly, in a first-person voice that is so raw and awkward and confessional that it's hard to imagine it isn't a memoir, let alone fiction."


"Gravity is so spot-on in plot, character and motivation that it could be both a novel and the screenplay it's very likely to become. This is a fascinating book - provocative, accessible and taking you where you probably haven't gone before."

CD Syndicated

"In Gravity we ascend dizzying orgasmic heights and descend to the depths of adolescent agony. It is a novel one can only hope will find its synchronistic way into the hands of the many young people, especially gays and lesbians, who struggle in silence to reconcile their spiritual faith with their hearts' desire."

The Rover

"Lieberman is a unique author who ably accomplished writing about a topic that isn't easy to discuss...The book was very appealing and I found it hard to put down."

What If? Magazine

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