Freiman, Lexi. 


Ecco: HarperCollins. Jul. 2018. 368p. ISBN 9780062699732. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062699756. F

Fifteen-year-old Ziggy Klein is a new student at Kandara, a tony private girls’ school in Sydney, Australia. Smart, physically underdeveloped, and somewhat confused about her gender identity and sexuality, Ziggy falls in with Tessa and Lex, two other intellectual outsiders who school her in radical feminist theory and other ideologies they don’t fully understand or otherwise mold to suit their needs. First-time novelist Freiman gently mocks their confused, adolescent antics, as the girls try on and discard identities like layers of clothing, expounding on “transhumanist feminism” while face-swapping with celebrities on their phones. Ziggy’s Jewishness marks her as different at her WASP-y school, and her internalized self-criticism comes in the form of an interior monolog she calls “Hitler Youth.” In the end, Ziggy is a winning underdog surrounded by strong female personalities, including her mother, Ruth, an extroverted therapist specializing in the “sacred feminine,” and her spitfire Holocaust-surviving grandmother, known as “Twinkles” for her love of sequins. VERDICT A bold and heady coming-of-age tale with a biting sense of humor and a heavy dose of contemporary cultural critique; most readers will enjoy. [See Prepub Alert, 1/8/18.]

—Lauren Gilbert, Sachem P.L., Holbrook, NY