A 2011 Sydney Taylor Notable Book for Teens



In fifteen-year-old Alyssa Bondar’s Russian-Jewish culture, having a few drinks is as traditional as blinchiki and piroshki. So when her mom’s midday cocktails turn into an all-day happy hour, it seems like Alyssa’s the only one who notices—or

cares. Her dad is steeped in the nightly news—and denial—and her best friend Lana is too busy trashing their shared Russian heritage so she can be popular.

Alyssa would rather focus on cross-country meets and her first kiss with her running partner, Keith, but someone has to clean up her mom’s mess. But who will be there to catch Alyssa when her mom’s next fall off the wagon threatens to drag her down, too?


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The story is both hilarious and heartbreaking, […] the situations are universal. […] The story, especially the ending, is honest and unsentimental about the difficulties Alyssa faces.”
Booklist Magazine

Gelbwasser realistically portrays the shifting emotions of a teenager navigating complicated situations and conflicting loyalties. This is a complicated drama of people sinking to the lowest common denominator and rising to their best selves to do the right thing.
Alyssa’s story is a refreshing take on the YA problem novel, one that refuses melodrama and favors instead the powerful significance of the smaller moments of life-a smell, a look, a flash of a memory.
School Library Journal

Written with deep feeling, fully developed characters, a riveting plot, and an authentic depiction of the speech and interests of many contemporary teenagers, Inconvenient concludes realistically—with some hope but no happy ending.
The Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL)