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September 22, 1928, Massena, New York. Jack Pool's sixteenth birthday. He's been restless lately, especially during this season of more-times-at-the-synagogue than you can ...
September 22, 1928, Massena, New York. Jack Pool's sixteenth birthday. He's been restless lately, especially during this season of more-times-at-the-synagogue than you can shake a stick at. If it wasn't Rosh Hashanah, then it was Yom Kippur, and if it wasn't Yom Kippur, it was the Sabbath. But temple's good for some things. It gives him lots of time to daydream about a beautiful but inaccessible Gentile girl named Emaline. And if she isn't on his mind, then he's thinking about his music and imagining himself playing the cello with the New York Philharmonic. Yup, music is definitely his ticket out of this remote whistle-stop town—he doesn't want to be stuck here one more minute. But he doesn't realize exactly how stuck he is until Emaline's little sister Daisy goes missing and he and his family are accused of killing her for a blood sacrifice.
Blood Lie was inspired by a real blood libel that took place when a small girl disappeared from Massena, New York, in 1928, and an innocent Jewish boy was called a murderer.
"Vernick’s novel is a scathing indictment of anti-Semitism
it is an important book that reminds us of the imperative need to remember lest we find ourselves repeating the horrors of the past."
"Effectively mines layers of ignorance, fear, intolerance and manipulation."
Shirley Reva Vernick's interviews and feature articles have appeared in Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, Ladies' Home Journal, and national newspapers. She also runs a popular storytelling website, storybee.org, which is used in schools and libraries all over the world. Shirley grew up in the town where the blood libel happened, as did her father, whose family was directly victimized by it.
A 2012 Sydney Taylor Honor Book for Teen Readers
"A powerful—and poignant—reminder that no person can live freely until all people can live freely." —Lauren Myracle, author of Shine
"The evolution of how an anti-Semitic lie spread throughout this community is convincingly portrayed in this story [and] the troubling issues that the book raises are sure to give readers a sense of the fragility of Jewish-Christian relations and the challenges posed by ignorance. Highly recommended for all libraries." —Association of Jewish Libraries
"Effectively mines layers of ignorance, fear, intolerance and manipulation." —Kirkus Reviews
" tackles the weighty issue of anti-Semitism with uncompromising clarity."—Publishers Weekly
"The Blood Lie is a riveting and hard to put down novel of small town life and the viciousness that lies in some people." —Midwest Book Review
"A short story that makes an impact."—Shooting Stars Mag
"Vernick has rescued a troubling historical incident and vested it with contemporary relevance." —Hadassah Magazine
"The Blood Lie is the first novel of its kind to be published in the United States."—The Canadian Jewish News
When little Daisy Durham disappears, an innocent Jewish boy is called a murderer.
In upstate New York in 1928, 16-year-old Jack Pool knows there's no hope for a romance with beautiful Emaline Durham, Daisy's older sister. They inhabit different worlds, and the gold crucifix she wears stands between them "like an electrified fence, all glittery and metallic." Jack is Jewish, and Daisy's disappearance sparks an ugly episode of prejudice and intolerance in the little town of Massena. Flames of prejudice are fanned by local bigot Gus Poulos, who spreads age-old tales of the blood lie and how Daisy was probably sacrificed, her blood used in mysterious Jewish rituals. But Gus has personal reasons for inflaming passions and involving the police, and things get out of hand when Jewish-owned businesses are searched, the temple is raided and someone kills all of the Pool family chickens. Based on an actual incident in Massena in 1928, the slim novel effectively mines layers of ignorance, fear, intolerance and manipulation, and it connects the incident to Henry Ford's anti-Semitic writing and to the lynching of Jewish businessman Leo Frank in 1915.
A great match with Karen Hesse's Witness (2001), also set in the 1920s, about a Vermont town that took a stand against prejudice. (author's note) (Historical fiction. 10 & up)
Posted October 15, 2011
An interesting look into a past often hidden by local histories. A small town still today, Massena N.Y. is the true setting for a tale that could have happened in almost any town 1928. A crime thought to have been committed, guarded tolerance, religious ignorance and forbidden love. If not for my own knowledge of the events I would think S.R.Vernick has a healthy imagination.
A good book for teens or a quick afternoon read. I rather enjoyed it.