Post­ed by Nao­mi Firestone-Teeter

Eliz­a­beth Percers debut nov­el, An Uncom­mon Edu­ca­tion, was pub­lished this past May by Harper:

Afraid of los­ing her par­ents at a young age — her father with his weak heart, her deeply depressed moth­er — Nao­mi Fein­stein pre­pared sin­gle-mind­ed­ly for a pres­ti­gious future as a doc­tor. An out­cast at school, Nao­mi los­es her­self in books, and day­dreams of Welles­ley Col­lege. But when Ted­dy, her con­fi­dant and only friend, abrupt­ly departs from her life, it’s the first dev­as­tat­ing loss from which Nao­mi is not sure she can ever recov­er, even after her long-await­ed accep­tance let­ter to Welles­ley arrives.

Nao­mi soon learns that col­lege isn’t the bas­tion of sol­i­dar­i­ty and secu­ri­ty she had imag­ined. Amid hun­dreds of oth­er young women, she is con­sumed by lone­li­ness — until the day she sees a girl fall into the freez­ing waters of a lake.

The event marks Naomi’s intro­duc­tion to Welles­ley’s old­est hon­or soci­ety, the mys­te­ri­ous Shake­speare Soci­ety, defined by secret rit­u­als and filled with uncon­ven­tion­al, pas­sion­ate stu­dents. Nao­mi final­ly begins to detach from the past and so much of what defines her, immers­ing her­self in this excit­ing and lib­er­at­ing new world and learn­ing the val­ue of friend­ship. But her hap­pi­ness is soon com­pro­mised by a scan­dal that brings irrev­o­ca­ble con­se­quences. Nao­mi has always tried to save the ones she loves, but part of grow­ing up is learn­ing that some­times sav­ing oth­ers is a mat­ter of sav­ing yourself.

Orig­i­nal­ly from Lan­cast­er, Penn­syl­va­nia, Nao­mi is the CEO of Jew­ish Book Coun­cil. She grad­u­at­ed from Emory Uni­ver­si­ty with degrees in Eng­lish and Art His­to­ry and, in addi­tion, stud­ied at Uni­ver­si­ty Col­lege Lon­don. Pri­or to her role as exec­u­tive direc­tor, Nao­mi served as the found­ing edi­tor of the JBC web­site and blog and man­ag­ing edi­tor of Jew­ish Book World. In addi­tion, she has over­seen JBC’s dig­i­tal ini­tia­tives, and also devel­oped the JBC’s Vis­it­ing Scribe series and Unpack­ing the Book: Jew­ish Writ­ers in Conversation.