cover image People Like Us

People Like Us

Barbara Cohen. Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers, $13.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-553-05441-5

Cohen (Roses, Lover's Games, etc.) pulls no punches in this tale about a Jewish girl whose family doesn't want her to date a gentile boy. She raises some very valid points about people who are ""liberal'' only when an issue doesn't touch them personally. Dinah Adler, who's never been asked out by a boy, is thrilled when handsome football star Geoff Ruggles shows interest in her; but Dinah's widowed mother and grandparents don't want her to see Geoff, because he's not Jewish. Dinah wants to invite Geoff to her brother's bar mitzvah, but her family won't hear of it, even though her two gentile girlfriends will be there. Dinah and Geoff break up but reunite when they search for friends Phil and Claudia, who have run away together. Dinah forces her family to see that there's a parallel between herself and Claudia, whose parents try to prevent her from seeing ``unsuitable'' Phil. An interesting, compelling treatment of a thorny problem: the desire to protect one's religion from intermarriage vs. the perception that this is narrow-minded and prejudiceda problem for which Cohen rightfully provides no easy answers. Ages 10-up. (September)