Jane Bre­skin Zalben
  • Review
By – April 2, 2012
Leap is a per­fect name for this nov­el about ado­les­cents com­ing of age and mak­ing painful tran­si­tions in their lives. The sto­ry is told in two voic­es, Krista and Daniel’s. These char­ac­ters used to be insep­a­ra­ble until puber­ty got in the way. Now Krista has a crush on Daniel’s one time best friend, Bob­by, the school hunk.” In the sum­mer before mid­dle school, Daniel has a seem­ing­ly minor oper­a­tion and ends up par­a­lyzed. Bobby’s father per­formed the oper­a­tion, so Daniel and Bob­by are no longer even speak­ing to each oth­er. The book explores the themes of friend­ship, loy­al­ty, and empa­thy as Daniel begins to heal from his injury and his friends ral­ly to help him. Once he is on the road to recov­ery, his moth­er decides to leave the fam­i­ly to explore her own indi­vid­u­al­i­ty, tak­ing her own leap.” The char­ac­ters are well drawn and the plot of the book is com­pelling. The sit­u­a­tions the ado­les­cents find them­selves in accu­rate­ly depict real life for mid­dle school stu­dents. The char­ac­ters do briefly refer to them­selves as Jew­ish. In one inci­dent in the nov­el, Krista refus­es to get a tat­too because of her grand­par­ents’ con­cen­tra­tion camp mark. Oth­er than that the book is not overt­ly Jew­ish, but the major themes of com­pas­sion for those in need, respon­si­bil­i­ty for vis­it­ing the sick, and being a moral per­son are the back­bone of this nov­el and speak direct­ly to those look­ing for a book that exem­pli­fies those mitzvot with­out preach­ing. Ages 10 – 14.
Susan Dubin was the first librar­i­an hon­ored with a Milken Fam­i­ly Foun­da­tion Jew­ish Edu­ca­tor Award. She is the owner/​director of Off-the-Shelf Library Ser­vices and library instruc­tion­al con­sul­tant at Val­ley Beth Shalom Day School in Enci­no, CA.

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