cover image Turning Thirteen

Turning Thirteen

Susan Beth Pfeffer. Scholastic, $12.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-590-40764-9

Becky and Dina have been best friends even before they were borntheir mothers took Lamaze classes together. But ever since Dina began spending more time with Amy, Becky feels lonely and hurt. She devises a plan to win Dina back; she will convince Dina to have a double bat mitzvah with her, and they can spend a lot of time together in preparation. Everything is progressing beautifully until the morning Becky realizes she does not believe in God. It is her first mature, difficult decision, and she must accept the consequences that accompany it. Fortunately, she confides in a perceptive and caring rabbi who helps Becky understand more clearly both Judaism and herself. Becky is a vibrant, humorous protagonist, facing dilemmas which are both meaningful and comical. Pfeffer conveys her growth with subtlety and without overt sentiment. Becky's thoughts and ideas are told plainly and honestly; this well-written novel treats serious issues in an approachable manner that will satisfy Jewish and non-Jewish readers alike. Ages 11-13. (Oct.)