Prince William, Maximilian Minsky and Me

Candlewick Press  2005

Nelly Sue Edelmeister is a 13-year-old girl with more than usual teenage angst. A self-described “nerd,” bright and introspective beyond her years, Nelly lives in Berlin with her American Jewish mother (“I left New York but it never left me!”) and her wayward yet loving German Christian father. She is surrounded by problematic parents, an all-wise substitute grandmother, a Jewish senior citizen support group and a shifting coterie of colorful friends. The only constant in her life is her obsessive infatuation with Prince William, heir to the British throne. The story is well crafted and written, with Nelly—conflicted about her forthcoming bat mitzvah—coping with issues of religion, death, friendship and family dysfunction. The story line is imaginative and realistically told and provides readers with a teenager’s insight into being Jewish in contemporary Berlin. The story is written in the first person with punchy dialog that includes some blunt and suggestive—but not gratuitous—language. Nelly is a multidimensional individual whose words and thoughts realistically mirror those of a sensitive and conflicted teenager. Other characters, though, sometimes appear as caricatures or stereotypes. A glossary is provided for the Jewish words that pepper the story. Teenage girls will particularly enjoy it. Recommended for ages 12–14.

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