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Lauren Yanofsky Hates the Holocaust

Lauren Yanofsky Hates the Holocaust

5.0 1
by Leanne Lieberman

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Lauren Yanofsky doesn't want to be Jewish anymore. Her father, a noted Holocaust historian, keeps giving her Holocaust memoirs to read, and her mother doesn't understand why Lauren hates the idea of Jewish youth camps and family vacations to Holocaust memorials. But when Lauren sees some of her friends—including Jesse, a cute boy she likes—playing Nazi


Lauren Yanofsky doesn't want to be Jewish anymore. Her father, a noted Holocaust historian, keeps giving her Holocaust memoirs to read, and her mother doesn't understand why Lauren hates the idea of Jewish youth camps and family vacations to Holocaust memorials. But when Lauren sees some of her friends—including Jesse, a cute boy she likes—playing Nazi war games, she is faced with a terrible choice: betray her friends or betray her heritage.

Told with engaging humor, LYHH isn't simply about making tough moral choices. It's about a smart, funny, passionate girl caught up in the turmoil of bad-hair days, family friction, changing friendships, love—and, yes, the Holocaust.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Lauren Yanofsky, an intelligent and inquisitive high school junior, decided three years ago to renounce her Jewish faith, deeply disappointing her parents. She grew up going to a “cliquey” Hebrew school and having a Holocaust historian for a father, which meant that most family vacations involved visiting sites of Jewish persecution. A combination of learning that several of her ancestors were killed in the Holocaust and diving headlong into researching the subject led Lauren to distance herself from Judaism (“Why would anyone want to belong to a religion that was all about loss, grief and persecution?”). Meanwhile, at the public school Lauren insisted on attending, her friends are growing apart, and her crush, Jesse, shows an unexpected interest in her. When Lauren catches Jesse with a group of drunken boys pretending to be Nazis, however, she reconsiders her relationship with the religion she’s turned away from. Lieberman (The Book of Trees) smoothly weaves humor and knowledge about Judaism through Lauren’s story. Lauren’s narration is contemplative and from the heart, and readers should relate to her attempts to identify her beliefs and tackle life’s big questions. Ages 12–up. (Apr.)
CM Magazine
"The Nazi war games juxtaposed with Lauren's Jewish background and the way she must come to terms with the problem and her emotions are thought-provoking themes which allow Lauren to develop throughout the book. Her maturing process literally goes through a 'trial by fire,' and a different Lauren emerges in the final pages of the novel.
"Heavy topics get a lighthearted treatment in this smart, observant story of a girl who has had it with being Jewish...Lieberman draws a strong portrait of a girl who can't find comforting answers, and that is the strength of this book."
Shalom Life
"Lieberman explores not only a teenager's journey of personal identity, but likewise how she incorporates her interpretations of Judaism into the mix...Thought provoking."
Resource Links
"Lauren Yanofsky is a lively teen learning to come to terms with her Jewish identity."
The Reporter (Jewish Federation of Greater Binghamton)
"Lauren is very funny and the novel contains a great deal of humor...Religious schools and/or youth groups will find it a great way to stimulate discussion."
Canadian Children's Book News
"Lieberman, known for her focus on Jewish issues, deftly explores a teenager’s struggle with her religious identity...Major issues such as the perpetration of hate, loss, grief and the quest for identity are handled with sensitivity and humour in this novel, and readers will be left with lots to consider and discuss."
Jewish Book World
"Starting with an edgy title, this is a realistic, yet entertaining coming of age story. Lauren, a fairly intuitive seventeen-year-old, is faced with many of the typical issues of growing up such as bullying and racism. How she manages to find a place in which she feels comfortable as a teenager and how she learns to accept her Jewish identity make this a thought provoking read...The plot resonates with the universal theme of belonging."
Tablet Magazine
"Funny, smart, and thoughtful.Teenage readers will relate to Lauren’s obsession with hypocrisy, as well as her worries about popularity and boys and her autistic brother. My 12-year-old loved this book, as did I, and it spurred some really great conversation. Highly recommended."
Children's Literature - Carlee Hallman
Sixteen year old Lauren deals with friends, parents, concern for the Holocaust, and her younger brother Zack. Instead of Jewish school, Lauren persuades her parents to let her go to public high school with her friends from the neighborhood. Her first class is biology with her friend Brooke. Jesse, a "gorgeous" boy, sits next to her. When younger they played basketball together. Although Lauren's dad is a Holocaust historian at the college, just after her bat mitzvah, Lauren decides she does not want to be Jewish anymore. Later, she learns that many of her relatives were killed in the Holocaust. When Brooke becomes friends with a fast group, Lauren hooks up with Em and Chloe who bring her to their Bible study group. At a party with smoking and drinking, Lauren sees Jesse and other boys playing Nazi with water pistols. It puts her off of Jesse. She does not object when Brooke wants him. Lauren inadvertently gives the names of the boys who were playing Nazi to the principal. In response Lauren's Dad gives a lecture at the school. When Lauren's younger brother Zack is too shy for a public bar mitzvah and has a hunger strike in the garage, Lauren works out a compromise. Jesse explains that he is not interested in Brooke, and he and Lauren get together. This fast paced story of teen age angst is played out against the continuing influence of the Holocaust. There is some swearing. Reviewer: Carlee Hallman
VOYA - Ellen Frank
With a title including the words "Hates the Holocaust" you may think this is one of those books that denies the Holocaust or is anti-Semitic. Lauren Yanofsky is a sixteen-year-old growing up in Canada. Her father is a Holocaust scholar and Lauren has been saturated with Holocaust survivors and trips to death camps almost her entire life. She attends a "cliquey Hebrew school" and becomes disillusioned with being Jewish. Lauren wants to renounce her religion and just be a "regular" teen. She is confronted with typical teenage drama—which group of girls she should befriend, boyfriend issues, parent relationships. All is very normal until her boyfriend commits a boyish prank and decides to wear Nazi armbands and play war games with his friends. Lauren must decide if she should be a bystander or an "up stander." What will be the consequences if she speaks up? Is her Jewish identity really something she can renounce or is it deeper than she imagines? Lieberman touches moral and ethical issues in a simple, direct novel. Teens will relate to the realistic dialogue and teen angst. There is an allusion to autistic behavior, as Lauren's brother suffers from symptoms similar to autistic children, yet the disease is never mentioned. Lieberman gives the reader a lot to think about, in a very compact style filled with humor, reality, and drama. The book will appeal to teens looking for a realistic, teen drama about morality and ethics. Reviewer: Ellen Frank
Kirkus Reviews
A Jewish teen who has decided to become "un-Jewish" experiences a soul-searching junior year. Lauren found herself with a newly formed nonreligious identity after questioning her Jewish education, her father's profession as a Holocaust historian and her discomfort with Judaism's commemoration of centuries-old persecution. After eight years of Jewish day school, Lauren convinced her parents to let her attend public high school, where she has strengthened friendships with some of the gentile kids from her neighborhood. But these kids are changing too, and some of their new interests (Bible study group and the smokers' crowd) leave Lauren lost in a teen world in which she is unwilling to participate. When she comes across a group of her male peers playing war games as Nazis, Lauren's discomfort with her own reaction creates powerful psychological turmoil, which is complicated when she dates one of the boys. Lauren's Judaic background includes her grandmother's Holocaust past, in which 11 family members perished. Lieberman, known for her edgy, provocative Jewish-themed novels, Book of Trees (2010) and Gravity (2008), creates another strong female protagonist, whose characterization of Judaism as a religion "about loss, grief and persecution" will raise eyebrows with both Jewish and non-Jewish readers. A thought-provoking exploration of a teen's evolving ideals. (Fiction. 13 & up)
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—After attending a private Jewish day school since kindergarten, Vancouver teen Lauren Yanofsky convinces her parents to let her attend public high school. But because she refuses to participate in Jewish activities, they won't allow her to get her driver's license. Lauren considers that a small price to pay since she doesn't want to be Jewish anymore. Her father is a professor of Holocaust studies, and Lauren is "sick of the Holocaust being the defining element of being Jewish." She feels as if she knows too much about the destruction of European Jewry during World War II and has even toured Polish concentration camps. When she discovers a group of popular boys, including her crush, Jesse, wearing swastika armbands and playing a Nazi war game, Lauren has no idea how to handle the situation. Jesse tells her to relax, and her friend Brooke says, "they play all those war video games…and need to burn off some of their testosterone by pretending to shoot each other." Are the boys anti-Semitic? Should she tell her parents, report them to the school, or just forget about it? Brooke is hanging out more with the Smokers and pining after Jesse. Lauren feels utterly alone. Lieberman provides a realistic, satisfying ending that doesn't tie things up too neatly. Teen issues of changing friendships, first kisses, family friction, and drinking are combined with fully developed characters, spot-on contemporary dialogue, and a unique plot that will give readers of all backgrounds plenty to think about.—Rachel Kamin, North Suburban Synagogue Beth El, Highland Park, IL

Product Details

Orca Book Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.40(d)
740L (what's this?)
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Leanne Lieberman is the author of several books for young adults. Leanne lives with her family in Kingston, Ontario, where she teaches elementary school. For more information, visit www.leannelieberman.com.

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Lauren Yanofsky Hates the Holocaust 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
libakala More than 1 year ago
When I first learned the title of Leanne Lieberman’s new novel, I was first put off and thought that I would probably not like Lauren Yanofsky Hates the Holocaust.  However, after reading the novel, I have changed my opinion and think that the title is a brilliant idea and it may also attract readers who have no interest in learning about the Holocaust. There are several interesting themes in this novel - all issues that junior and senior high school students are forced to deal with on a daily basis and they are dealt with in a very engaging manner. At first Lauren struggles with how to deal with the objectionable behavior of her fellow students/friends.  Young adults are faced with issues of bullying, racism, or gay bashing to name a few examples of behaviors that many young people might be forced to take a stand on.  Then Lauren is confronted with the issue of what to do when she and her best friend have a romantic interest in the same person, and appropriate behavior. Through Lauren we read that young people learn that their interests, ideas and feelings change as they mature and that suddenly your best friend may seem like a stranger to you.  You might find yourself rejected by your friends and as young adults go through junior and senior high they may experience similar situations. The last theme I found interesting was the issue faced by Lauren and her brother Zach; they had to learn to exert their independence in a positive way as they discovered that their wishes and desires were in conflict with what their parents wanted and expected for them.  The author deals with all the above issues in a way that really holds the reader’s attention and interest.  The book actually gives the reader a great deal of information about the Holocaust and an awareness of other past genocides of which they might not have had any knowledge.  If after reading this book, the reader wants to learn more about the holocaust, Lauren actually provides a detailed list of books to read.  This is a book that should be read by all young adults and probably their parents too, so that they can get insights into the current world of their teenagers.