Publication Date September 17th 2019
Thank you to NetGalley, the authors, and the publisher for this e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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I’m not Jewish. Each of these short stories could have told me people who are Jewish drink coffee because it brings them closer to God or some such equally strange nonsense and I would have believed it. Thankfully the authors are all Jewish and probably wouldn’t be too excited about misrepresenting Jewish people.
It’s a Whole Spiel: Love, Latkes, and Other Jewish Stories is an anthology of fourteen YA short stories by a variety of authors. Mayim Bialik wrote the Foreword which I found very exciting. This is an engrossing collection of stories. While reading I would often forget that this was a Jewish specific anthology until one of the characters would mention it again which I think is kind of the point. Jewish teenagers are still teenagers.
A few stories stood out to me. Ajshara by Adi Alsaid was the first fantasy short story with Tzvi being able to see ghosts. Ajshara was also a little odd for me because it covers such a long period of time (a year) in such a short space (34 pages on my phone, so like 20 book pages?) and this gives the story a sort of flying above watching kind of feel. Twelve Frames by Nova Ren Suma was also slightly fantasy with one character seeing ghosts.
I loved learning about Jewish traditions throughout the stories. I didn’t know anything about Birthright and the gap year that many Jewish teenagers take to travel Europe and Israel. I learned a lot without it feeling like I was. And at the same time the information wasn’t intrusive so that readers who aren’t Jewish can still be comfortable reading it.
I would recommend this for Jewish and non-Jewish alike. It is YA and has LGBTQ+ characters so it is a big bundle of well-written diverse literature.
Here is a list of the stories and authors included in this anthology. Some already well-known names and some names to take note of for the future.
- Indoor Kids by Alex London
- Two Truths and an Oy by Dahlia Adler
- The Hold by David Levithan
- Aftershocks by Rachel Lynn Solomon
- Good Shabbos by Goldy Moldavsky
- Jewbacca by Lance Rubin
- El Al 328 by Dana Schwartz
- Some Days You’re the Sidekick; Some Days You’re the Hero by Katherine Locke
- He Who Revives the Dead by Elie Lichtschein
- Be Brave and All by Laura Silverman
- Neilah by Hannah Moskowitz
- Find the River by Matthue Roth
- Ajshara by Adi Alsaid
- Twelve Frames by Nova Ren Suma