The subtitle tells it all. This volume addresses teenage girls directly on topics such as Jewish identity, friendship, honoring parents, body image issues, sexuality, health, gossip, social responsibility and more. Three authors make for a somewhat disjointed reading experience. A very long introduction greets readers and tells them (repeatedly) what to expect. The format of each chapter, with its many sections, quotes, questions and exercises, wrings every last drop out of every topic. The style of the book is a breathlessly excited, energetic charge up a mountain of information. The Jewish aspect of each topic under discussion is explained through historical and modern viewpoints, with plenty of back up from original texts. A consciously neutral point of view embraces all streams of Judaism and levels of observance. This book would be an excellent resource for youth group leaders to use in leading discussions or workshops on teen issues. It may also serve as a guide for parents struggling to talk with their kids about sensitive topics. Self-aware young women may enjoy the navel-gazing quality of the book, while others will find it tiresome. Some kids may be turned off by the attempt of the adult authors to sound “cool” by inventing the term “JGirl.” Recommended for ages 12 – 18 where Jewish teens are heavily served.
Heidi Estrin is librarian for the Feldman Children’s Library at Congregation B’nai Israel in Boca Raton, FL. She is a past chair of the Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee for the Association of Jewish Libraries.