Twelve-year-old Sarah Stein loves life in New York. Who wouldnÆt, growing up in a cool TriBeCa loft with an artist dad and a chocolate-maker mom, rollerblading in Central Park, hanging out with friends? That is, until the day her parents tell her theyÆre divorcing.
Forced to shuttle each day by bicycle between their separate residences on either side of the Brooklyn Bridge, Sarah soon discovers that the parents she thought she knew are as opposite as their new homes. She takes on a bizarrely split identityùone day sheÆs the daughter of the prim, social-climbing chocolatier, the next the streetwise, smart-aleck child of the downtown abstract painter. Sarah Stein becomes a stranger to herself.
But thatÆs not the only thing thatÆs strange.
Colliding with the cart of a homeless man one day while pedaling across the bridge, Sarah tumbles through a magical portal and into an upside-down world of double identities and second chances. Through her friendship with the homeless Clarence Wind, a disgraced fireman missing since 9/11, and the love of her grandmother, a wise Holocaust survivor with her own hidden past, Sarah unlocks the mysteries behind the strangeness that she and Clarence share.
In this witty, wonder-filled novel about broken homes and disconnected lives, with the majestic Brooklyn Bridge as backdrop and the legacies of the Holocaust and the Twin Towers as backstory, Sarah SteinÆs adventures prove both heartbreaking and heartwarming, an enchantment for readers of all ages.
Praise for Thane Rosenbaum's Second Hand Smoke
Rosenbaum creates a tone and a world that are quite extraordinary. . . . Larger than life, but true to lifeùa cracked fun-house mirror whose distortions are still always recognizable. ùNew York Times Book Review
An expansive, challenging novel. . . . Vivid, colorful, singular. ùBoston Globe