Spider's Web

Overview

Skinhead. Neo-Nazi. Lexi Jordan knows the names her friends use to talk about themselves, but she isn't quite sure what they mean. She knows her swastika tattoo and heavy boots are part of belonging. And Lexi wants to belong. When she sneaks out to meet her friends and make plans, she feels more at home than she does in her own house. And so far nothing they've done has been that bad. But Lexi begins to wonder just how safe she is when the group begins to do things that make her increasingly uneasy. After ...
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Overview

Skinhead. Neo-Nazi. Lexi Jordan knows the names her friends use to talk about themselves, but she isn't quite sure what they mean. She knows her swastika tattoo and heavy boots are part of belonging. And Lexi wants to belong. When she sneaks out to meet her friends and make plans, she feels more at home than she does in her own house. And so far nothing they've done has been that bad. But Lexi begins to wonder just how safe she is when the group begins to do things that make her increasingly uneasy. After accidentally meeting Ursula Zeidler, an old woman with a terrifying secret, she sets off a chain of events that places everyone she cares about in danger and leads her to the biggest decisions of her life.

Lexi's unhappy home life with an alcoholic mother drives her to join a neo-Nazi group, but eventually she discovers that her new friends thrive on hatred and destruction.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Williams (Behind the Bedroom Wall) returns to the subject of Nazism and its effect on youths, this time setting her story in modern-day America, juxtaposing the thoughts of a teenage "skinhead" against the memories of a former member of the Hitler Youth. Lexi and Mrs. Zeidler first meet after Lexi vandalizes a local synagogue. Lexi is being chased by the police when Mrs. Zeidler (mistaking red spray paint for blood) invites the frightened girl into her house. Seeing Lexi's tattoo of a swastika ("I call it my spider," Lexi explained, even though the woman hadn't asked. "It's my good luck charm "), Mrs. Zeidler is reminded of her own childhood in Germany during Hitler's reign. Hearing Mrs. Zeidler's stories about World War II and seeing her own younger sister become a member of the "hate" group, Lexi comes to recognize how she has mistaken lies for truth. The characters and action are drawn with large, movie-of-the-week-style strokes (e.g., when Lexi tries to run interference for one of her skinhead friend's victims, he knocks Lexi down instead: "An eerie wail of pain filled the room.... With his face twisted in fury, he looked like he wanted to stomp on her. `Don't ever interfere again!' he stormed at her"). Kids may enjoy the drama, but Williams's heavy-handed approach is more sensationalist than probing. Final artwork not seen by PW. Ages 8-13. (Apr.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Children's Literature - Betty Hicks
Lexi's unhappy home life with her alcoholic mother pushes her to find companionship and acceptance among a group of young Neo-Nazis. Her head is shaved and tattooed with a swastika that she calls her good luck spider. While hiding from police after vandalizing the walls of a synagogue, Lexi meets Ursula, an elderly German woman struggling with her own painful childhood memories and regrets of following Hitler. Lexi remains adamantly loyal to her friends until their malicious treatment of Ursula, and their recruitment of Lexi's younger sister, gradually force her to question her allegiance. The black and white drawings strikingly emphasize the emotional impact of Lexi's and her friends' anger and alienation. Although the writing is uneven, and sometimes overly dramatic, its depiction of peer pressure is authentic, and the story is intense.
Library Journal
Gr 7-9-A well-written story about the relationship between a young skinhead and an old lady. Through flashbacks, readers learn that the elderly woman, Ursula, was one of Hitler's children and that she tormented her Jewish peers. As the novel begins, Lexi Jordan, 13, is running away from the police after desecrating a cemetery. She is invited into Ursula's home for shelter when the woman finds her hiding on her porch. The old lady reminds Lexi of her late grandmother, the last loving relative in her life. The girl's father left years ago and her mother is an alcoholic. Lexi, with her shaved head and spider's web swastika tattooed on her scalp, awakens shameful memories of Ursula's hideous past in Hitler's Germany. The confused adolescent is depicted both in her dysfunctional home and with her neo-Nazi "family," a group of mostly older skinheads who provide the sense of belonging that she so desperately needs. In the end, she becomes disillusioned with them and begins a promising relationship with her mother. This novel of a troubled young adult shows how destructive hate can be, and the lengths to which one will go to find love and acceptance.-Bram Handwerger, Brewster High School, NY Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781571316226
  • Publisher: Milkweed Editions
  • Publication date: 3/28/1999
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 150
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 560L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 0.50 (d)

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