cover image The Path of Names

The Path of Names

Ari Goelman. Scholastic/Levine, $16.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-545-47430-6

Goelman infuses the familiar summer camp setting and its attendant ghost stories with elements of Jewish mysticism in this intriguing and layered first novel. Stubborn and whip-smart Dahlia Sherman, 13, longs to attend magic camp instead of Jewish sleepaway camp, but her parents are adamant that she give Camp Arava a chance. Once there, Dahlia's fondness for sleight-of-hand magic tricks is quickly trumped by her awareness that truly uncanny forces are at work around her. She encounters a mysterious caretaker and ghosts of small girls that only she can see, and she inexplicably begins to possess knowledge of Hebrew and of a clandestine mystical sect from the past. Dahlia's experiences at camp are both socially and psychologically transformative, as she forms significant friendships with those who help her unravel the camp's secrets. The complex magical elements, especially in chapters that flash back more than 70 years into the life of a talented rabbi, offer a captivating overview of Jewish intellectual history (with some artistic license) while Dahlia's story delivers authentic chills and a touch of romance. Ages 10%E2%80%9314. Agent: Lindsay Ribar, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (May)