Thirteen-year-old Ruthie is the only child of a Jewish mother and an Italian father. She lives in New York City’s Washington Heights in 1949. She is an analytical, observant child with a lively mind who has a family filled with secrets. The author uses snippets from Ruthie’s diary as a way for the reader to peer into her mind, an engaging and plausible technique.
Jewish issues such as anti-Semitism, the Holocaust, and preservation of legacy, as well as general issues like racism, are addressed. Although the themes are worthwhile and well-presented and the main character is engaging and likable, this coming-of-age story may miss its targeted reading audience as the writing style seems geared to audience a bit younger than the subject matter would suggest.
Recommended for ages 11 – 13.