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Posted June 30, 2012
I was given an Advance Copy. As an educator who is always lookin
I was given an Advance Copy. As an educator who is always looking for new YA lit, I read it.
I give Moriarty two stars for character development and accurate historical references to 1900 New York and tenement living. The story moved at a fine pace and was somewhat engaging. The remaining 3 stars?
1. The story ended abruptly - too abruptly for my liking. While I do believe that the genre of YA lit always needs to grow, this book does NOT have a universal quality that I could give to any reader.
2. While the tribute to Moriarty's son and culture is heartwarming, without the realization of deeper name play and an accurate knowledge of history, this book will be lost on many, if not most readers. I shudder to think that the average kid will get a few pages in and drop it because of the cultural references and bigger words, moreover that some children will construct the name play as reality.
I do believe there is a shortage of Jewish literature in America for children (not just Jewish children), however this novel does nothing to fill that need. I do realize that sci fi can be a form of speculative fiction (which this novel clearly is), but I sincerely believe the author needs to quit trying so hard. Not everyone is J.K. Rowling.
3. What I truly found offensive though, was the inaccurate portrayal of Yiddish lore throughout the book. While kitchy and cute (knishes that will bring boys), etc., as a Jew, I feel Moriarty did more damage to her culture and her faith than anything. Any book that feeds negative cultural stereotypes is off my list and that of classroom recommendations.
Will I read the other books as they come out? Of course, for it is my job to be a well-informed educator. I can only hope they improve in tone and social acceptance.
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