Say hey, book nerds!
I don’t know about y’all, but I was instantly lured in by the soft color combo of this beautiful cover. I remember scrolling through NetGalley earlier this year and feeling compelled to click on the novel’s link in order to learn more. Luckily, the synopsis delivered and I quickly added it to my request list. And even MORE luckily, Algonquin Books reached out shortly after and asked if I’d like to participate in the blog tour. I’ll let you guess how quickly I typed back a resounding yes!!
(The answer was 3 minutes. It took me 3 minutes. 😂)
Scroll on to check out my review of this important historical fiction read and for an extra secret treat.
In the Neighborhood of True by Susan Kaplan Carlton
Title & Author: In the Neighborhood of True by Susan Kaplan Carlton
Genre: Young Adult/Historical Fiction
Release Date: April 9, 2019 (next week, y’all!)
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Series Details: Standalone
Page Count: 320 pages
Description: “A powerful story of love, identity, and the price of fitting in or speaking out.
After her father’s death, Ruth Robb and her family transplant themselves in the summer of 1958 from New York City to Atlanta—the land of debutantes, sweet tea, and the Ku Klux Klan. In her new hometown, Ruth quickly figures out she can be Jewish or she can be popular, but she can’t be both. Eager to fit in with the blond girls in the “pastel posse,” Ruth decides to hide her religion. Before she knows it, she is falling for the handsome and charming Davis and sipping Cokes with him and his friends at the all-white, all-Christian Club.
Does it matter that Ruth’s mother makes her attend services at the local synagogue every week? Not as long as nobody outside her family knows the truth. At temple Ruth meets Max, who is serious and intense about the fight for social justice, and now she is caught between two worlds, two religions, and two boys. But when a violent hate crime brings the different parts of Ruth’s life into sharp conflict, she will have to choose between all she’s come to love about her new life and standing up for what she believes.”
Thank you so much to Algonquin Books for providing me with this eARC in exchange for an honest review.
“In the neighborhood of true…that’s what we say when something’s close enough.”
Set in the late 1950s, this historical ownvoice novel centers on Ruth Robb, a 16-year-old girl who’s desperately trying to make sense of the world around her. Recently uprooted from the life she knew, Ruth quickly finds herself immersed into the pastel world of debutante balls, etiquette classes, and dimple-clad Southern boys. With her old-money lineage and “exotic” good looks, it’s no surprise that she’s adapting quite nicely to her new surroundings.
The only problem? Ruth is living her new Southern life in the neighborhood of true — trying to pass herself of as something (or someone) close enough to her friends “ideal” standard. You see Ruth was raised in the Jewish faith, which doesn’t fit in with her new Christian crews’ way of thinking.
“Jews are accepted just fine at the banks or the law offices or the hospital or whatnot. But after dinner? After five o’clock, people like to socialize with their kind.”
Yikes, am I right? But those “words of wisdom” come straight from Ruth’s very own grandmother who frequently encourages Ruth to keep her “religious preferences” on the downlow. Eager to fit in and maintain her new glamorous lifestyle, Ruth doesn’t mind keeping her mother-mandated trips to the synagogue a secret. But like many teenagers that have come before her, Ruth starts to struggle with the lies as she becomes more aware of who she wants to be in this world.
“I thought about feeling a part of something, instead of apart from everything.”
Sparked by repeated hate crimes, Ruth soon in thrown into a chain of events that will force her to acknowledge her beliefs and “make a little ruckus.”
Inspired by real events, this coming-of-age novel elegantly delivers a story of identity and what it means to find your own path to your true self. Carlton’s narrative captures everything from the joy and levity of first loves to the fear and hatred surrounding our nation’s racism and anti-Semitism. And although it’s set 60+ years ago, the content in this novel still felt incredibly relevant and important for today’s readers. The novel beckons us to discover who we are and own it and to be brave (more than in theory) by speaking out and speaking up for those that need our voices.
All quotes were taken from an advanced ecopy and may not match the final release.
If you can’t wait till next week to get your hands on In the Neighborhood of True, boy do I have a treat for you!!! You can read the first chapter TODAY by clicking the link below! Enjoy, book nerds!
SUSAN KAPLAN CARLTON currently teaches writing at Boston University. She is the author of the YA novels Love & Haight and Lobsterland. Her writing has also appeared in Self, Elle, Mademoiselle, and Seventeen. She lived for a time with her family in Atlanta, where her daughters learned the finer point of etiquette from a little pink book and the power of social justice from their synagogue.