Drummers of Jericho

Carolyn Meyer, Author Graphia Books $6 (320p) ISBN 978-0-15-200190-2
Meyer (Rio Grande Stories; White Lilacs) paints a bracing picture of conservative small-town America in this riveting examination of intolerance and anti-Semitism. Fresh from a year on a kibbutz and sick of endless fights with her Israeli mother, 14-year-old Pazit Trujillo opts to leave her native Denver and live with her college professor father and his young family for a school year. Little knowing what Jericho, ``the buckle of the Bible belt,'' is like, Pazit-short, dark, Jewish and nonconformist-is alone in a school full of tall blonds who take football and cheerleading as seriously as their Wednesday night prayer meetings. After Pazit refuses to be part of the school marching band's formation of a cross, Mr. Trujillo contacts the ACLU and she is unwillingly catapulted to the center of a cause celebre that has all of Jericho in an uproar. Her schoolmates' coldness turns to outright hostility, but Pazit finds an unexpected ally in the band's drummer, Billy, who ``betrays'' his town to stand up for what he believes is right. With its unflagging pace and timely theme, this provocative novel should spark much debate. Ages 12-up. (May)\
Reviewed on: 05/01/1995
Release date: 05/01/1995
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