We are so excited to be taking part in our very first blog tour! Today is the paperback release of In the Neighborhood of True by Susan Kaplan Carlton and we are happy to provide our thoughts on this story!
A powerful story of love, identity, and the price of fitting in or speaking out.
“The story may be set in the past, but it couldn’t be a more timely reminder that true courage comes not from fitting in, but from purposefully standing out . . . and that to find out who you really are, you have to first figure out what you’re not.” —Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of A Spark of Light and Small Great Things
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.
First things first, we want to say thank you to Algonquin Young Readers for our copies in exchange for our honest review! The paperback release for this book is TODAY!
This book takes place during the 1950s in and around Atlanta, GA. To say racism was prevalent would be an understatement. The Klan was in full force during this time period and brought forth a very divided community.
Ruth (who is Jewish), with her mother and younger sister have recently moved to Atlanta from NYC after the unexpected passing of her father.
Ruth’s mother was born and raised in the debutante society of Atlanta, where who you know, how much of a Christian you are, and what crowns you obtain justify your place in society. Ruth wants so badly to fit into this new society she has been thrust into, thanks to the friends she has made, as well as, having a grandmother that craves those things for her.
This story is one of Ruth trying to find her way in a place that does not welcome people being different than a white, God fearing Christian. She struggles with her identity of being Jewish, while also wanting to fit in.
This book tackles many important issues, that are still clearly and sadly prevalent in today society. It started out a bit slow, but once it grabs your attention and you can grasp the true importance of this novel, we think it brings forth many discussions that still need to be had.
The story is told from the perspective of Ruth, who is 16, but sometimes felt like it read like someone much younger than that. While this didn’t detract too much from the story, it did read a little less like a YA and at times more of a middle grade.
Overall, this book tackled the hard issues of identity and accountability, and Ruth as a character finding herself and telling her truth during this difficult time was extremely powerful.
Title: In the Neighborhood of True
Author: Susan Kaplan Carlton
Paperback Release Date: July 7, 2020
Thank you so much again to the publisher for providing us the opportunity to read this timely novel. And as always, thank you for stopping by our blog and supporting us, we truly appreciate it!