08 December 2012

The Blood Lie by Shirley Reva Vernick

On September 22, 1928 in Massena, New York, the Jewish Community is eagerly preparing for and anticipating the solemn holy day of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. It's also Jack Pool's sixteenth birthday and he's got his eyes on a driver's license and a pretty girl; unfortunately for Jack, the driver's license is the only thing that might be within his reach. Emaline Durham is Christian, so being friends is the only thing they can ever be, even if they both long for more.

It only takes a moment for everything to change. Emaline's little sister Daisy never arrives back at home and Jack Pool is accused of murder. The townspeople get wrapped up in a lie that the Jews collect the blood of a Christian child to use in their holy day ritual, and neighbors begin to distrust neighbors in an attempt to explain the disappearance of missing Daisy. Jack is caught in a whirlwind of adult irrational behavior and discovers for the first time in his young life the complete destruction that can result from intolerance.

This is a short mystifying novel about a very real Jewish experience in American history. An eye-opening author's note at the conclusion of the story relays an important message to all middle great readers.

Reviewed by kate the librarian.

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