Review: It’s A Whole Spiel Anthology

It’s A Whole Spiel is an important, earnest, joyful anthology about modern-day Jewish life for quite a few different teenagers. I absolutely loved it.

It's A Whole Spiel CoverA Jewish boy falls in love with a fellow counselor at summer camp. A group of Jewish friends take the trip of a lifetime. A girl meets her new boyfriend’s family over Shabbat dinner. Two best friends put their friendship to the test over the course of a Friday night. A Jewish girl feels pressure to date the only Jewish boy in her grade. Hilarious pranks and disaster ensue at a crush’s Hanukkah party.

From stories of confronting their relationships with Judaism to rom-coms with a side of bagels and lox, It’s a Whole Spiel features one story after another that says yes, we are Jewish, but we are also queer, and disabled, and creative, and political, and adventurous, and anything we want to be. You will fall in love with this insightful, funny, and romantic Jewish anthology from a collection of diverse Jewish authors. (Goodreads) Goodreads

I received an eARC of It’s A Whole Spiel from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

In anthologies, not every story is going to appeal to every reader. That’s just how these works. Each reader is going to connect differently to every story. However, I loved every single one of the stories in It’s A Whole Spiel. Some were closer to my heart than others, but none of them were complete misses like other anthologies in the past.

Katherine Locke and Laura Silverman put together a stellar line up of authors and stories that flowed well, showed a variety of experiences among Jewish teens, and brought up a lot of different emotions. It was beautiful.

My personal favorite stories were Dahlia Adler’s “Two Truths and an Oy,” Elie Lichtchein’s “He Who Revives the Dead,” and Hannah Moskowitz’s “Neilah.”

“Two Truths and an Oy” featured an Orthodox Jewish main character going off to college orientation and trying to figure out how she would fit in at college and how Jewish she would be in her “post-yeshiva” life. I loved how she struggled to find a way to fit in and found out that the best way was to just be herself. It was beautiful.

“He Who Revives the Dead” is about a teenage girl on her Birthright trip who is trying to conquer her fear of water after drowning and being revived, and to find herself. It is a beautifully earnest story that spoke to me.

“Neilah” is about a teenage girl falling in love with a girl, with Judaism, and with herself. It features a lot of discussion of weight, weight loss and an eating disorder, so be careful with it. I loved the way that this story ended.

Those were my favorites, but as I said before, I loved every story in this anthology. You need to pick it up for yourself – and for a friend.

 

ABOUT IT'S A WHOLE SPIEL

Title: It’s A Whole Spiel

Author:  Katherine Locke, Laura Silverman, Alex London, Dahlia Adler, David Levithan, Rachel Lynn Solomon, Goldy Moldavsky, Lance Rubin, Dana Schwartz, Elie Lichtschein, Hannah Moskowitz, Matthue Roth, Adi Alsaid, Nova Ren Suma

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers

Length: 320 Pages

Release Date: September 17, 2019

Rating: Highly Recommended

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Fiction

Representation: Jewish Main Characters in every story, Jewish side characters, Jewish authors, 

 

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