Katherine Paterson, Jacob Have I Loved
insight into the teenage girl insecurity vortex
Right from the outset Sara Louise (a.k.a. Wheezy) is a lovable narrator — who wouldn’t sympathize with a girl who’s constantly overshadowed by Caroline, her perfect, beautiful, talented twin sister? Set in the 1940s on the fictional island of Rass in the Chesapeake Bay, Katherine Paterson’s 1981 novel follows Sara Louise as she navigates her small, seemingly stuck-in-time world. Though she dreams of going away to school, she ends up helping her father with his fishing business. In the meantime, her twin continues to steal everything Sara Louise values, including her best friend Call. Most hurtfully, their religious nut grandmother points out to Sara Louise that she’s like Esau, the unloved twin of biblical fame, while Caroline is like Jacob. Eventually, Sara Louise must find a way to leave Rass and forge a new identity of her own making. Paterson’s coming-of-age tale is both raw and poignant and her insight into the teenage girl insecurity vortex makes it a must-read for the ages.