Nell Golden has been waiting for this moment for two years. She’s finally about to start high school with her beautiful older sister, Layla. Nell and Layla have always been close, and Nell is sure their bond will only grow deeper once they attend the same high school parties and play on the school’s varsity soccer team. But as soon as the school year starts, Nell feels Layla pulling away. She has some suspicions about what’s going on with her older sister, but she can’t talk about them with anyone, especially not the one person she needs the most—Layla herself.

As Nell makes her way (and sometimes stumbles) through her freshman year, she feels as if she’s missing the mentor and guide she assumed Layla would be. Meanwhile, she is dogged by her fears for Layla and haunted by the memories of two brothers who were destroyed by their own secrets. Ultimately, Nell must decide what would be the bigger betrayal: revealing Layla’s secret or keeping it.

Dana Reinhardt excels at creating complex, realistic family relationships and placing strong, provocative themes in the midst of engaging coming-of-age stories. We Are the Goldens is no exception; it’s a superbly crafted story that feels emotionally honest and expansive despite its tightly written style.

 

This article was originally published in the June 2014 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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