Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Timeslip Tuesday- Ripped Away

Vernick, Shirley Reva. Ripped Away
February 8th 2022 by Fitzroy Books 
(Paperback, Prebind, or E Book)
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Abe Pearlman has a huge crush on Mitzy, but she doesn't know he exists. When he is out and about, he seems a new sign for a fortune teller and, intrigued, stops in. The fortune teller, Zinnia, tells him there is something interesting about his aura, and before he knows it, he blacks out. When he wakes up, he is in the Whitechapel neighborhood of Victorian London. He is a young man named Asher, who lives in a tenement with his mother, and works at a Jewish Working Man's Club for Mr. Diemshutz. While a bit discombobulated, he seems to have all of the information he needs lingering in the corners of his mind, including some foreign words and phrases. As he is getting his bearings, he finds that Mitzy has also been to Zinnia and has taken on the personality of Maya, an upstairs neighbor, who is blind. She lives with her mother and uncle, who is a butcher. When a young woman is murdered in one of the infamous "Jack the Ripper" killings, the Jewish community comes under scrutiny. Investigators talk to Mr. Diemshutz, and police go through the neighborhood asking to see residents' knives. Maya's uncle, Duvid Kraskov, is arrested because he won't give the police information about his knives. Feeling that he is stuck in the Victorian time period until he can save someone's life, Abe thinks Duvid might be the one he needs to save. He manages to get information from the man that clears his name, but that he doesn't want Maya and her mother to know. When Abe is still stuck in the past with Mitzy, the two work to try to figure out what else they need to do to return to their own time. 
Strengths: This was a great upper MG/lower YA book that felt very much like the books I read twenty years ago-- in a good way. Abe is in high school and has a lot of skills and agency when sent to the past, and there's even a nice romance with Mitzy. The book is short and quick, and doesn't belabor the mechanism that sends the two to the past. I loved the new perspective on the Jack the Ripper story, and the inclusion of cultural elements. I'm not normally a fan of crime podcasts or gory tales, but have a vague interest in the Jack the Ripper mythos thanks to the 1979 movie Time after Time, which I watched way more times than I should have on cable tv when I was in high school! The historical notes are great as well. Definitely a top notch time travel book with a fascinating cultural perspective.
Weaknesses: The brevity of the text makes parts of the story a bit abrupt. 
What I really think: I really, really liked this, and it is now available in prebind from Follett! I will definitely purchase this, since Stefan Petrucha's Ripper still circulates, and I love that it introduces some Jewish cultural history in a book that readers will pick up because of the Jack the Ripper connection. 

Ms. Yingling

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