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Dave at Night

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  3,274 ratings  ·  291 reviews
When orphaned Dave is sent to the Hebrew Home for Boys and treated cruelly, he sneaks out at night and welcomed into the music- and culture-filled world of the Harlem Renaissance, where he discovers the power of friendship.
Kindle Edition, 296 pages
Published August 27th 2013 by HarperCollins (first published January 1st 1999)
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Average rating 3.71  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,274 ratings  ·  291 reviews

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This utterly charming story by the author of ELLA ENCHANTED often gets overlooked in favor of Levine's fantasy books, but it truly should not be. Dave is a wonderful character, as are the people he meets sneaking out at night to dance and listen to music in Harlem during the Jazz Age. This is a beautiful book, and a labor of love for the author, whose father grew up in a similar situation. ...more
Oct 21, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This engaging story by the author of Ella Enchanted transports us to 1926 Manhattan, from the teeming immigrant neighborhoods of the lower east side to the artistic Renaissance evolving uptown in Harlem. The sudden death of his father leaves David Caros orphaned and abandoned by his uncaring stepmother, so he is taken to the Hebrew Home for Boys, an "asylum" with a dubious reputation. There he suffers under the despotic rule of the headmaster, Mr.Bloom, but develops a close bond with his buddies ...more
This book is different from most of the other books by Gail Carson Levine (and I have read most of her work in the last month and a half).

In this book, the main character is a spunky boy instead of a spunky girl. The boy is 11 years old, instead of about 15. There is no magic nor mythical creatures in this book; this one is firmly set in the reality of depression era USA.

Dave of the title is the main character. He is placed in an orphanage by his stepmother when his father dies. Dave is a rascal
Phil Jensen
Sep 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is rad! But no one reads it! Why? Maybe it didn't win the right medals. Maybe the cover is too boring. I blame the title! It's boring! Let's fix it! I think these would be better:


Maybe they'll fix it on the next reprint. This thing deserves to be read more. It's got tha
Cassandra Elise
Feb 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A delightful story set within 1920s Harlem, this early book by Gail Carson Levine might be short on fantasy, but it makes up for it with interesting depictions of 20th century Jewish American and African American culture. Some parts seemed a little implausible. The villain, in particular, was rather cartoonish for an otherwise very realistic book. Also, I'm not sure why Irma Lee was up all night at parties. Especially since her mother seemed so overprotective of her, wouldn't she make sure she w ...more
Victoria Budkey
Feb 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Final count: 3 sobs, 2 gasps, countless chuckles, and vast enjoyment.
Elinor  Loredan
Dave, the hero of the story, is immediately endearing, as is his papa, whose loss I feel keenly. Even in his deep grief Dave retains his sense of curiosity and adventure, and he tries to dull his emotions and hurt by insisting to himself and others he doesn't need anyone. He is actually dying to be wanted, and in the end he chooses friendship and connection over freedom, staying in the hated HHB for his wonderful 'buddies' there.

The humor, analogies, and insights throughout the novel feel very
“If I did not know better, it would have been the last place I’d have guessed was a Home, the last place for kids to live…We went in. The door thudded closed behind us and clicked shut. As soon as I heard the click I wanted to leave.” And, so 11-year old orphan Dave Caros’ new life begins at the Hebrew Home for Boys, aka, Hell Hole for Brats. But Dave won’t runaway until he gets back his most prized possession—a wooden Noah’s Ark carved by his late father—which was confiscated along with all his ...more
Eden Williams
May 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dave at Night is a great book about an orphan boy who lives in the orphanage HHB( a.k.a Hell Home for Brats). The man in charge, Mr. Boom( a.k.a Mr. Doom) is strict and hits the orphans, the food is awful, and the rooms are cold. But Dave isn't called Dave the Rascal for nothing. He sneaks outside and makes friends. Will Dave find a place to call home? Find out in Dave at Night!

This is a great book, full of action and adventure and twists, making readers continue turning pages and unsure of what
Feb 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a satisfying book. I read this to my 7 year old son, and he and I truly enjoyed it. It is one of those novels where he would ask for extra reading time (multiple times) throughout they day, and I was happy to oblige him because I wanted to know what would happen next as well.

It was our first venture together out of the genre of fantasy, and I was so surprised how thoroughly Bret took to it.

I love this author, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that we loved Dave at Night. I found this boo
Apr 09, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 8-12 year olds curious about Harlem Renaissance and orphans.
Recommended to Jennifer by: Global Reading Program Pick
Although clever, engaging, backdrop of the Harlem Renaissance and support characters are compelling, stilted writing in this hard-luck, route orphan tale fail to deliver.

CIP: When orphaned Dave is sent to the Hebrew Home for Boys where he is treated cruelly, he sneaks out at night and is welcomed into the music- and culture-filled world of the Harlem Renaissance.

"Readers will celebrate life with Dave." School Library Journal
"Historical details ring true." Kirkus

OK, so, here's the problem with th
Sep 12, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Darla by: Heather Kinsey
(Genre:Young adult fiction) When I think of books by Gail Carson Levine, my mind automatically goes to young adult fantasy (like "Ella Enchanted", which I really enjoyed when I first read it--the movie was another story :) ). In "Dave at Night" Levine seems far away from the fantasy that I associate her with. I thought she did a great job with it, though. I really found myself caring for Dave and I was fascinated by the Harlem night life that she portrayed in the book. The story follows eleven y ...more
Sep 13, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Author project requirement

This book was definitely different than the other GCL books I am used to reading! But, it was a pleasant read. A mash up of Yiddish/Hebrew and African American culture during the Haarlem Renaissance, this story was a cultural treat. Mentioning different artists, poems, musicians, etc. made it really interesting to read and is a great way to name drop to Young Adults for future education. I love the time period of this book the most, and I am a die hard fan of orphans-fi
Renewed this at the library the maximum amount of times before I realized I just did not have enough enthusiasm in the story to continue it. As far as orphan stories go, it was way too predictable, and I felt most of the first chapters could've been left out as implied backstory. By the time the REAL story started, I'd just lost interest. ...more
I was surprised at how engaging I found this to be. Levine does a good job of creating a tale based on her father's early life. I think, perhaps, her love for her dad is part of what gives this book an extra sparkle. ...more
Oct 15, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Esther and I met Gail Carson Levine recently at our local library. She mostly talked about this book and why she wrote it. Getting to know a little about her father, who is Dave, made the book a more personal read. She said it is her favorite of the books she's written. Well written and enjoyable. ...more
Apr 20, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dave at Night
When Dave,the main character, turns 11 his tough life officially starts. Since the death of his father, Dave does not have a place to stay. Additionally, his mother died while giving birth to him so he has never seen her. Furthermore, Ida, his step mom, does not want to take care of Dave or Gideon, his brother. However, Dave’s uncle takes Gideon for adoption leaving Dave without someone to take care of him. Moreover, Ida decides to put Dave in the HHB,Hebrew Home for Boys.
Lara Vehar
I have mixed feelings on this book. On the one hand I liked it a lot because it was a unique story set in history- but at the same time I really didn't care for the ending.

At the beginning of the book we meet Dave. Dave becomes an orphan because his dad dies and his step mother doesn't want to take care of him so she leaves him in the orphanage. The first night he sneaks out and meets Solly the old man that starts calling him grandson and they go to parties together. I really wish that we learne
Oct 30, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade
2.5 stars. There are things I like about this book and things I didn't. I liked that the boys in the orphanage called each other buddy and treated each other well.

I was bothered by the all night parties, and wondered if those were based on fact. I can't imagine a household with a young child having parties that lasted all night. In my research of this topic, it appears that rent parties did indeed last all night. I also didn't like that at the end of the book, the people helping Dave only seeme
Valerie McEnroe
Adult rating: 4 stars
Kid rating 2 stars

After David's papa dies, his stepmother wants nothing to do with raising kids. His brother gets to go live with an uncle, but David is sent to the Hebrew Home for Boys. There's a cruel headmaster, bullies and a rag tag group of roommates at the orphanage. Dave sneaks out one night and finds himself at a rent party with a fortune telling con artist. He finds himself sneaking out again and again to hang out with Solly and the Harlem art crowd. It's set during
Mar 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oy vey, what a wonderful surprise this book was! Gail Carson Levine is one of my all-time favorite authors, but I'd never gotten around to reading this one because, well, I thought a novel with an eleven-year-old boy as a protagonist might not be as interesting to me. I was wrong! Levine's writing shines through, as I was captivated by the characters and detailed storytelling. This piece of historical fiction plunges the reader into the streets of New York City in 1926. Levine included countless ...more
NCJW Minnesota
Mar 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jewish-fiction
A book for children? On NCJW’s page? Yes. I initially read this book because my boyfriend told me he read it in elementary school and then subsequently used it for Every. Single. Book Report. Ever. After. That is of course problematic and sacrilegious to an avid reader like me, but I decided I had to read it.
This story follows a young boy named Dave as he is placed into the Hebrew Home for Boys following the death of his parents. I won’t give it all away, but this rambunctious Sephardic boy end
Emily Polson
This was... so much fun?! Snarky Jewish orphan sneaks out at night and ends up stumbling upon Harlem Renaissance nightlife. The narrator is such a spunky, sympathetic kid, and the rest of the characters are similarly endearing. The story has the right balance of funny to sad moments given the topic, and the premise was just borderline fantastical enough that I believed it was possible. I didn't find it predictable, either. I was hooked the whole way through the audiobook, which is rare for me. M ...more
Maria Antonia
Actually, I rated this 3.5 stars.

So, I remember reading this shortly after it first came out. It's certainly different from Levine's fairy tale stories, but it's definitely still has her touch.

Dave's a mischievous boy at heart, and all he wants is to be wanted. But after the death of his dad, his step-mother doesn't want to keep him. His uncle doesn't want him. And his older brother doesn't even really stick up for him. So, he ends up at HHB, Hebrew Home for Boys. But for Dave, he's not going to
Meira (readingbooksinisrael)
This book was so cool. I've read a lot of historical Jewish fiction and non-fiction, especially in New York, but this book had a lot of things I never read before. First of all, that it had a Sfardi main character. Second, Harlem in the 20s! I'm definitely going to look for the books the author recommended in the back.

Also, it had fun adventures and I loved Solly. It got incredibly sad at times, but that was fine. An up even.
Jul 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a interesting children's historical fiction. I told the story of a young boy whose mother died when he was born and his father died when he was eleven while at work. His stepmother sent him to an orphange because she felt she could not afford to take care of him and his brother. His brother went with his Uncle but the Uncle couldn't take both boys and chose to take his brother. This really upset me I thought that it was horrible the way the Uncle only took the brother with him. ...more
Aug 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was an awesome book. For the first couple chapters it is hard to read but after that it is a fun book about adventuring out of your comfort zone. I don’t want to spoil it but the first few chapters set up something huge and it makes you want to keep reading. It is hard to stop reading after you have started. It follows Dave Caros, an 11 year old boy who is the biggest daredevil in the world and what happens after everything goes wrong.
Charly Troff (ReaderTurnedWriter)
This is one of the few Gail Carson Levine books I hadn't read yet and I really enjoyed it!

Although my favorite will always be her fantasy, I've loved both historical fiction I've read by her. This one was rich with history, characters, and relationships I was cheering on. I loved Dave's growth throughout the book and was especially touched by his forgiveness of his brother.

Overall, I thought it was a great middle grade read for kids and adults.
3.5 stars. Well written, but didn't move quickly enough for me in some places. I really liked the buddies and Dave's shenanigans, and I think I would have liked the jazz parties portrayed in Harlem if the female character wasn't pure wish fulfillment. In fact, there are several details that were a bit rosy for the time period, but all in all, I think kids will still enjoy this one. ...more
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Just letting you all know: I'm only going to review books I love. There's enough negative criticism without me piling on. A book is too hard to write.

Gail Carson Levine grew up in New York City and began writing seriously in 1987. Her first book for children, Ella Enchanted, was a 1998 Newbery Honor Book. Levine's other books include Fairest; Dave at Night, an ALA Notable Book and Best Book for Yo

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