Roaring Brook Press, 2010.
Amy is having a difficult year because her best friend Callie is spending it away from their New York City home living in Kansas with an aunt and uncle. Amy has a crush on John, but is irritated to the extreme with her remaining friends. She finds an unusual ally in Miss Sophia, a neighbor who was a librarian for 30 years and is now interested in helping Amy with a school project involving the diary of an immigrant girl. Miss Sophia also brings along her nephew, Beryl, who is from a Hasidic family and is very conservative and uncomfortable in Amy’s presence. The three do a lot of research on Anna and her times, and end up making a fairly large discovery. Amy thinks for a while that Beryl might “like-like” her, but they end up being good friends, and even though Amy is not particularly nice to John, he seems interested in her as well.
Strengths: Lots of good details about Jewish life in New York City, and fairly funny. This reminded me a bit of some Paula Danziger books, or A Begonia for Miss Applebaum. (I really was expecting Miss Sophia to die!)
Weaknesses: Amy was not particularly likable, although she did improve, and the format was confusing. Some of it reads like letters,(to Callie) but some is almost in text message format without Callie’s replies. This might be why it put me in mind of older titles. Even though this is only two years old, I know very few students who communicate by e mail, and certainly none of them write letters!
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