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The Path of Names

3.74  ·  Rating Details ·  259 Ratings  ·  71 Reviews
Mysteries, mazes, and magic combine in this smart, funny summer-camp fantasy -- like THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF KAVALIER & CLAY for kids!

Dahlia Sherman loves magic, and Math Club, and Guitar Hero. She isn't so fond of nature walks, and Hebrew campfire songs, and mean girls her own age.

All of which makes a week at Jewish summer camp pretty much the worst idea ever.

But wi
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published April 30th 2013 by Arthur A. Levine Books
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Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
There's this old song called "Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah" about a young boy whose parents force him to go to camp. It's a funny, silly song, written like a letter to his parents. At first, he hates camp and is begging them to come and get him, but, by the end, he loves it. On the simplest level, this is the plot of Ari Goelman's The Path of Names.

Dahlia differs from the usual middle grade heroine. She's grumpy and antisocial, preferring math and practicing magic tricks to spending time with peop
May 13, 2013 InYourFaceNewYorker rated it it was amazing
With an intricate story that combines folklore, horror, magic-- and everyday adolescent relationship issues-- "The Path of Names" takes the reader on an exciting adventure. Thirteen-year-old Dalhia Sherman would rather spend her summer days doing magic tricks or math than going to Camp Arava. What starts out as typical adolescent anxiety about going into an unfamiliar setting turns into an mystery about missing kids, ghosts, and Ned MacMasters. Anybody who's ever been to overnight camp probably ...more
Oct 18, 2013 Robin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: clever, fantasy, jewish
I am giving this 5 stars even before I finish because:
Who writes a book about a smart girl who loves math and magic tricks and gets unwillingly involved in kabbalah and mysterious disappearances at a Jewish summer camp? Points for sheer originality and hitting so many of my personal interests in one swoop! Also, I even wanted to keep reading this book when I was home in bed with chills and sweats and a raging headache and food poisoning. The only regret I have about the story so far is that Goel
Sep 05, 2013 Mayrocks rated it really liked it
the path of names lured me into the entrance and didn't let me out again until the last word. with twists and turns and surprises at every corner, The Path of Names whizzed me through the maze and dumped me in reality; dazed and spellbound.
Jun 08, 2013 Ellen rated it it was amazing
Jewish mysticism and summer camp. A young adult book that is compared to Harry Potter. I wouldn't go that far but it kept me entertained and engaged. Even without any Jewish knowledge I think this book will appeal to the 11 to 14 year old young adult.
Rose Lerner
Aug 19, 2013 Rose Lerner rated it it was amazing
This book was absolutely incredible. I can't recommend it highly enough. The narrator, Dahlia, is a geeky girl who'd rather go to math camp again or stay home practicing magic tricks than go to Jewish summer camp, and I loved her. Plus, who doesn't enjoy Kabbala, golems, and numerology?
Aug 23, 2014 Carolyn rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
Great YA novel. Loved the plot twists.
Feb 04, 2013 Ariel rated it really liked it
Shelves: jewish, fantasy, mg
A very interesting combination of elements. Some of my favorite bits are actually not magical, about the American Jewish camping experience which has so shaped my own family (my parents began dating as counselors at Camp Mossad in 1950). The author does a lovely job of capturing the gentle rhythm of the Jewish week at camp and the growing intensity of the friendships made in the close atmosphere of camp. This world isn't captured in a lot of children's books for some reason, maybe because most ...more
So, I picked this up partly because I liked the idea of a story taking place at summer camp with characters who are about the same age that I was the one year I went to camp, and partly because it's a Jewish summer camp, and I wanted to know what that might be like (mine was called Camp Olympia and was based around Greek mythology and the Peloponnesian War, so...kinda different). I enjoyed the characters, and found the mystery pretty interesting--ghosts, a mysterious camp caretaker, an overgrown ...more
Aug 30, 2013 Yapha rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It has an amazing mix of themes that I have not seen anywhere else. Plus, it was based in a Habonim-like summer camp, a sister to my own camp, which was so accurately portrayed, it brought me right back there!

Dahlia's parents are bribing her to spend first session at her older brother's camp in exchange for a week at the magic camp that she really wants to go to. She has absolutely no desire to spend three weeks at a Jewish summer camp in the woods. Once she gets there, though
Dec 17, 2013 Chris rated it liked it
Shelves: ya, j, not-graphic, fantasy, mystery
A thirteen-year-old girl, summer camp, ghosts, a mysterious caretaker, her older brother, magic tricks, math, mazes, and Jewish mysticism.

An interesting mix of elements that worked well enough together to make an interesting, engaging story, but not quite well enough to feel like they gelled into something I could get truly swept away by--I could feel the author trying just a little too hard. By the end of the book I wanted to know more about the workings of Kabbalah as the source of this book's
Not one for the faint-hearted, this title mixes modern day adolescent angst about fitting in, summer camp, and sibling rivalry with a mystery rooted in religion and folklore. The story centers on fourteen-year-old Dahlia Sherman, a teen more interested in numbers, magic tricks, and games than in the typical pursuits at Camp Arava. But her parents want her to learn to be more social, which ends with their cutting a deal with her to attend this camp in order to attend magic camp later in the ...more
Jun 07, 2013 Abby rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens, fantasy
I really enjoyed it! Very good story, though spookier than I would choose under normal circumstances. The fifth star is probably because I went to camp with the author for a couple of years, and really enjoyed the reminders of camp life. The writing and stories are good, though the jumping back and forth between the two time periods gets a bit choppy at times (which often is an issue with multi-perpective/ multi-era writing). But the stories from both times are interwoven well, he did a great ...more
Aug 26, 2013 Tamsyn rated it really liked it
I'm not sure how to categorize this story because of the unusual combination of elements here: Dahlia, a girl who loves math and magic, has been bribed to spend a session at the Jewish camp where her brother will be a counselor. Once there, she ends up in a class about Kabbalah, which initially intrigues her because of its relationship to numerology, but then loses her interest. Meanwhile, 2 little girls are visible only to Dahlia, and she starts having dreams of an Othodox Jewish man named ...more
Feb 11, 2014 Anna rated it liked it
This is a smart, sophisticated mystery with religious mysticism and moral quandaries aplenty. A young girl with a passion for math and magic attends Jewish summer camp to discover ghosts, visiting dream spirits and something sinister lurking. It was really dark, even with splashes of humor added in. I did enjoy this story, though I feel it would have been more successful as a true teen story. The cover alone makes it appear juvenile, when the subject matter, for me, was much more mature. ...more
Benji K-B
I love this book. In some way, I am related to Dahlia, the main character. Dahlia, always expects something bad to happen at the sleep away camp that she is going to. Her older brother Tom is a counselor at the camp. Tom is always standing for her. Barry the caretaker never shows his face in front of campers. And he is always keeping kids away from the maze that is causing some trouble at the camp. But be warned, once you start reading this book, it is too good to stop reading.
Jul 19, 2013 Kris rated it really liked it
Recommended for gr. 6-9 (Book Review Center). Special interests: Magic tricks, Judaism, Kabbalah.

The last thing Darla wants is to go to a Jewish summer camp, but it is the only way her parents will agree to also send her to magic and math summer camp. Once there, however, strange things begin to happen, possibly related to some old tales about the camp property.
Sharon Lawler
Plot, characters, and setting all come together for a perfect mystery! Plot had a touch of historical background, but the Jewish mysticism and the Golem added depth to the plot. The story definitely takes place on more than one level! Dialogue between the characters was so authentic I could hear them speaking in my head. I could reread this one.
Jul 19, 2013 Pninit rated it really liked it
Excellent middle-school novel. It has just enough mysticism and spookiness to excite a middle-schooler without leading to full-on nightmares. The plot blends Jewish-mysticism, sibling relationships, and navigating the politics of the average tween.
Jul 16, 2013 Laura rated it really liked it
A really interesting combination of summer camp story, paranormal activity and jewish mystic theories. A fune quick read that drew me in.
Aug 30, 2013 Beth rated it really liked it
I enjoyed both the mystery and the Jewish culture info embedded in the book. Very well written. Wish there had been more about David and less about Tom, though. I really liked David!
Aug 25, 2013 Kristi rated it it was amazing
I was so surprised by this book. It is definitely unique and very intriguing.

It's like a Jewish Da Vinci Code for kids.
Cheriee Weichel
Jan 17, 2015 Cheriee Weichel rated it really liked it
This book won't be available for few months, but it will be worth the wait!
Jul 05, 2013 Nancy rated it really liked it
Great debut author! Wonderful plot with lots of twists. Middle school kids will ask for this one.
Jul 07, 2016 Mia rated it liked it
Before I meant to say currently reading but I'm finished now. It was a bit scary. REALLY SCARY.
Noah Saenz
Sep 21, 2016 Noah Saenz rated it it was ok
The Path of Names follows a young girl named Dahlia who is VERY into math and magic. She attends a Jewish Summer camp in which she notices very odd events happening. Ghosts of two girls happen to show up and confusing everyone. Now she is going to solve many mysteries that take place during her time here.

I did not enjoy this book all that much. It was tough to follow and had a difficult time grabbing my attention. It does try to do a good job being diverse, but I would barely call it a diverse b
MaryRose Donahue
Combining Jewish folklore, adolescence, mystery, and magic, The Path of Names is an entrancing read that will pull readers in from the first few pages. Dahlia is a thirteen year old girl who has left for summer camp for the first time. Once she arrives at her Jewish summer camp, she realizes there’s much more than meets the eye. A mysterious and grumpy caretaker, an overbearing but loving older brother and camp counselor, ghosts, and many other dense and multi-leveled characters are brought to ...more
jv poore
Bribery. Her parents could call it whatever they wanted, but it was plain and simple bribery. If Dahlia wanted to attend the coveted Magic Camp, she must first endure three weeks at Camp Arava. Attending a Jewish camp, without being able speaking Hebrew, would be tough enough; but when it just so happens that her brother is Super-Star Counselor, Dahlia knows she is in for a very long three weeks.

Upon arrival, Dahlia notices two girls. As she observes the pair with a vague sense of curiosity, the
Sep 09, 2016 Elena rated it it was ok
The “Path of Names” by Ari Goelman, tells the story of the 13 years-old Dahila Shermann. Dahlia loves Math and Magic. She attends unintentional a three-week Jewish summer camp. There she encounters three little girls who were walking through the walls of her cabin. After some research she figures out that they disappeared in the camp 72 years ago. Rafe another camp outsider helps Dahlia to figure out the mysteries of the camp to save her camp mates from the evil spirits possessed by the ...more
Samantha Kemper
Sep 09, 2016 Samantha Kemper rated it it was ok
The Path of Names is about a thirteen-year-old named Dahlia who likes math and magic and is forced to attend a Jewish summer camp. Dahlia is visited by the ghost of two little girls who visit her and starts to dream of David Schank. This book was a bit confusing at times when the story switches back and forth from Dahlias perspective to David’s story. The books plot did not catch me and to be frank I did not find it to be particularly interesting especially during Dahlias narration. I especially ...more
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