It's 1958, and Ruth Robb has just been forced to move from New York to Atlanta. Her father passed away unexpectedly and her mother has no choice but to move the family into her childhood home with Ruth's grandparents. Ruth's grandmother is thrilled. With the family background and Ruth's beauty, Ruth will surely be a success in the debutante circle, and may even be crowned Magnolia Queen like her mother and grandmother before her. But then her grandmother casually and quietly mentions that it would probably be best if Ruth doesn't mention that she is Jewish to any of her new friends. Ruth loves her new life - her debutante friends, the dresses and parties, handsome Davis Jefferson - but she also feels at home in the Atlanta Synagogue on Saturday mornings. When the Civil Rights movement and other events in the news become part of the local conversation, Ruth realizes that she may have to decide which side of herself is the most important.
Why It's Worth Reading:
This book does an excellent job of highlighting historical events that are less often discussed. Did you know that Jewish congregations, especially in the South, were often outspoken allies of African-American communities during the 50s & 60s? Both groups suffered tremendous persecution and began to work together as they strove for justice. A synagogue is bombed during the course of events of this novel, which is based on an actual incident in Atlanta during that time. This plot point also makes the book incredibly relevant to today, as we continue to hear about religious persecution and violence at places of worship all too regularly. In addition to the highly relevant & interesting historical elements, I found Ruth to be fascinating and was completely engrossed in her story. Who among us has not lied by omission because we did not know if we would be accepted? To see Ruth in an exciting new place, but hiding something so significant made for a captivating story I couldn't put down. Grab it for the long weekend!
Title: In the Neighborhood of True
Author: Susan Kaplan Carlton
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Publication Date: April 9, 2019
Awards/Accolades: 2 starred reviews so far!
Does the NHS Library Own a Copy?: Currently on order.