In the Neighborhood of True

In the Neighborhood of True

by Susan Kaplan Carlton


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A powerful story of love, identity, and the price of fitting in or speaking out.

“The story may be set in the past, but it couldn’t be a more timely reminder that true courage comes not from fitting in, but from purposefully standing out . . . and that to find out who you really are, you have to first figure out what you’re not.”Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of A Spark of Light and Small Great Things

After her father’s death, Ruth Robb and her family transplant themselves in the summer of 1958 from New York City to Atlanta—the land of debutantes, sweet tea, and the Ku Klux Klan. In her new hometown, Ruth quickly figures out she can be Jewish or she can be popular, but she can’t be both. Eager to fit in with the blond girls in the “pastel posse,” Ruth decides to hide her religion. Before she knows it, she is falling for the handsome and charming Davis and sipping Cokes with him and his friends at the all-white, all-Christian Club.
Does it matter that Ruth’s mother makes her attend services at the local synagogue every week? Not as long as nobody outside her family knows the truth. At temple Ruth meets Max, who is serious and intense about the fight for social justice, and now she is caught between two worlds, two religions, and two boys. But when a violent hate crime brings the different parts of Ruth’s life into sharp conflict, she will have to choose between all she’s come to love about her new life and standing up for what she believes.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781616208608
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Publication date: 04/09/2019
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 177,054
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

Susan Kaplan Carlton currently teaches writing at Boston University. The author of Love & Haight and Lobsterland, her writing has also appeared in Self, Elle, Mademoiselle, and Seventeen. She lived for a time with her family in Atlanta, where her daughters learned the finer points of etiquette from a little pink book and the power of social justice from their synagogue.

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In the Neighborhood of True 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
NanceeMarchinowski 12 days ago
Well written and very appropriate regarding social issues in this country currently, the time period was on target and true to events of the day. Based on fact, this YA fiction is a sensitive and poignant portrayal of the power of pier pressure and the desire to fit in, as well as the coming of age through shocking times. History repeats itself, and with each generation it seems that what goes around comes around. Carlton did a splendid job of relating difficult issues through the eyes of a teen. I highly recommend this for young adults as well as adults! Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through the Goodreads giveaway program. All expressed opinions are my own.
Take_Me_AwayPH 3 months ago
It's very unusual that I can read (and actually finish) a Historical Fiction novel. I'm just not a fan of the genre. But sometimes I run across one that has something that I actually am interested in along with it and I'm suddenly a lot more into the novel. In the Neighborhood of True was this kind of novel . Ruth Robb and her family have moved down to Atlanta, Ga after living in NYC. In Atlanta she realizes that things aren't as they were in the North. Here her being Jewish hinders how popular she is and makes those she wants to like her look at her different. So, she neglects to tell anyone about that part of her. Suddenly, a hate crime makes her look at those she called friends and those who she thinks actually are. As I said, historical fiction usually isn't my go to genre. But when I saw that this was a book about a Jewish family that WASN'T about the Holocaust, I jumped on the chance to read it. This own voices story was a coming of age story that I hadn't read before and that made it so different from others that we've seen before. The scary thing is there's also a bit of a contemporary feel and that makes me so mad and so sad. As for the characters, there were times I wasn't a fan of the MC, but I finally realized that she was a teen and the things that were important to her might not have been to me now, but they could have been when I was that age. I also had to remember that she had to make her own mistakes. And I was so proud of her when she ended up making the right decisions when they counted. Really the only thing I didn't really care for was the ending. It felt rushed, like it was over too fast. Definitely something I would have tried to stretch out or something. I felt like I missed out on something, but I also get that maybe the author didn't want to give that much time to the "bad guy/girl" and wanted her focus more on Ruth. Whatever the case may be, this ending didn't work for me. This book is very different than what I would normally read. This is probably why I enjoyed it so much! It reads easy and I can take a break from the normal in my life. It turned out to be just the break I needed!
Anonymous 3 months ago
I fell in love with the characters and the setting in this book. I always enjoy books that take us back to times of different fashions and aesthetics. Unfortunately, you can't have the 50's charm without the 50's racism. While this book is not set in modern times, it is still extremely relevant to today. It was also nice to have a historical novel with a female Jewish main character that doesn't revolve around WWII.
Rantings 3 months ago
With the death of her father, Ruth Robb and her family must move to Atlanta, Georgia. Her mother is originally from there but was able to get away to New York City, ended up converting to Judaism, and marrying the man that would be Ruth's father. But being Jewish in 1950s Georgia is not as easy as New York Cuty, so when Ruth starts to make friends and catches the eye of Davis, one of the most popular guys in town, she leaves that part out. She wants to fit in and with the help of her grandmother, she does just that. But Ruth's mother has other ideas. She went through the whole debutante thing when she was growing up and doesn't want Ruth to get too hung up on it. So she tells Ruth that she can hang out with her friends and do her debutante duties as long as she goes to synagogue with Nattie (her younger sister) and her every week. Ruth reluctantly agrees but hopes that no one spots her there. Little does she know that she will meet people there, including a boy named Max, who will change her life and her views in ways that her debutante friends and Davis never could. Ruth travels between her debutante friends and her time at synagogue pretty effortlessly. But when the synagogue is bombed, Ruth's life is turned upside down and as she starts to examine her relationships and things she has witnessed, she comes to put the pieces together about who could have done such a hateful thing. But will she cut herself off from her new life by telling the truth or will she continue to let people believe what they want to believe and stay silent? I have to say that I was a little worried about this book going in. I was worried I was going to get frustrated with Ruth hiding who she is. Luckily, that wasn't the case. She does hide that she is Jewish for most of the book but that doesn't mean she lets others push her around or that she doesn't challenge people when she thinks they are doing something wrong. She is a loyal sister and daughter and despite her worry that she'll be found out, she never feels ashamed for going to synagogue or for being who she is. Her friends believe what they want to believe about her and she lets them because its easier. But when the time comes for the not so easy decisions and the hard truth, she doesn't stand by when she can ensure justice takes place. Ruth is a perfect main character in that she is flawed but does everything she can to do right. And her development was a joy to experience. I also fell completely in love with her sister, Nattie. She cute as hell, helps Nattie learn the rules of debutante etiquette, and will not get out of a swimming pool if she doesn't have to. And their mother is a badass in her own right. She writes for her father's newspaper and will go after any story no matter how small. She wants Ruth and Nattie to be who they are and not what the world tells them they should be. The bombing of the synagogue occurs near the end of the book and is absolutely heartbreaking. While this book definitely has its light moments, it also has moments that will make you feel like your heart is being torn out of your chest. I went into reading this knowing I was going to cry. You don't go into a book about 1950s Georgia and think it's not going to have some tragedy in it. But the people affected by the tragedy come together and try to make something good come of it. , I am giving In the Neighborhood of True by Susan Kaplan Carlton 5 out of 5 stars. I cannot wait to reread it.
BookPrincessReviews 3 months ago
Historical fiction is one of my favorite YA genres, but the genre doesn't have as much visibility as others. When I saw this book, I was super excited to see that had interesting historical items going on along with an emotional and personal journey, I was so intrigued. Plus, THAT COVER = Mandy's whole aesthetic in life. And the verdict? It certainly didn't let me know. This story focuses on Ruth Robb - a New York City transplant in 1958 Georgia. She's bursting in personality, fashion, and sadness after her father's death, leaving her to start over in a new town full of new Southern traditions and culture. After discovering that the fact that she is Jewish may cause some trouble with her new friends and love interest, she is definitely caught between two worlds - who she is at the Temple and who is she is when she's practicing for the Magnolia Ball. Ruth is a great narrator. Yes, she makes some frustrating decisions, but she is so authentic and realistic. She is a girl that is grieving but still trying to thrive and survive. She cares for her family, and she is struggling to find her exact place in the wrong. I really rooted her on, and she definitely transforms and finds herself and what she really wants throughout the story. The other side characters were intriguing and complex. I think my favorites were Max and Nattie. There is a pretty decent size cast of side characters, but I just went through a large amount of them in my head since they were all easy and distinct to call to mind. The setting was super well done. I felt immersed in the story. Not only was I transported to the 1950s but I felt like I was down in the South in Georgia. It was such an interesting setting, and this girl is all about the atmosphere - and this atmosphere was done right. The writing overall, actually, was pretty good. The pacing was done pretty well, and it was a pretty fast read when I was fully dedicated to reading it. Kaplan Carlton did a really good job with adding in the historical parts. She touched on a few specific items that I didn't know as much about, and while they were hard to read about the past discrimination, they were important parts in history to remember and learn from - especially with everything that is happening right now in the United States right now. The plot does include major events that relates to this history, but a lot of the story focuses on the mental and emotional journey that Ruth takes and both were definitely interesting. There were just two parts that I wasn't the biggest fan of. I felt a slight disconnect from the story overall. While it was interesting, I could drop reading it for days on end without rushing to pick it back up. The other issue is the ending. It felt like we were leading up to it, then it happened really fast and abruptly, and then it was over. I wanted a little more time to focus on it since it was such a big item, and it just ended with a blink of an eye to me. I just wanted it to simmer a bit more before the pot boiled over - and that shows you that I need to end this review because I'm using cooking metaphors now. Overall, it was a super well done historical fiction book with a wonderful emotional and mental journey. rating: 4 crowns & an Ariel rating representation: Jewish content warnings: use of word "Negro" due to time frame, mentions of murder/lynching, discrimination (race and religious), death