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It's a Whole Spiel: Love, Latkes, and Other Jewish Stories

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  482 ratings  ·  164 reviews
Includes a special introduction by Mayim Bialik, star of The Big Bang Theory and author of the #1 bestseller Girling Up!

Get ready to fall in love, experience heartbreak, and discover the true meaning of identity in this poignant collection of short stories about Jewish teens, including entries by David Levithan, Nova Ren Suma, and more!

A Jewish boy falls in love with a fel
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published September 17th 2019 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
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Feb 16, 2019 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
I'm so happy and honored to have a story in this collection, about a Modern Orthodox girl named Amalia who's suffering major culture shock at the transition from her insular world during college orientation. But there's a great amount of variety in here, including a story that made me cry like whoa (by Hannah Moskowitz), a story that brought back so many fun memories for me (by Goldy Moldavsky), and a story that makes such great use of social media I didn't even have as a teen (by Katherine Lock ...more
Average Rating - ⭐️⭐️⭐️.67

I’m always looking for anthologies to read because it’s a nice way to discover new authors. When this collection was first announced, I was very excited because it features many authors I follow on social media and enjoy interacting with. Despite not knowing much about Judaism as a religion or culture, I really had a lot of fun reading these stories. They are a wonderful exploration of what being Jewish means, how there are various expressions of the faith a
Adi Alsaid
Oct 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Only like 1/12th biased
Alexis  (TheSlothReader)
Sep 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: review-books
Average rating: 3.6

Overall this collection was really good. The rating would have been much higher if only one or two stories had not been included but otherwise I think its a really strong collection. Its a really awesome anthology for the Jewish members of the YA reader base. I would like to mention that I am not personally Jewish and therefore cannot review these stories on an Own Voices perspective. However, I do think it is worth mentioning that I have Jewish members of my family whom I am
Sep 18, 2019 marked it as to-read
I’ve waited for a book like this for years. In all the talks of diverse books, I kept looking to find Jewish representation, especially with new releases. Having scarcely seen any, I went off to my local library to scour the Hebrew shelves, which is when my reviews started focusing more on those. But I’m so glad this exists now.

Support this book and try a taste of It's a Whole Spiel through my Amazon Affiliate link:

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This review and more can be found on my blog.
CW (The Quiet Pond) ✨
An anthology brimming with love and acceptance, It's a Whole Spiel is an affirming and wholesome #ownvoices anthology about being Jewish.

- Contains 12 stories about 12 very different Jewish teens, their Jewish identities, and the diverse ways that they embody 'being Jewish'.
- There are a fantastic range of stories - some romantic, some a little sad, some that will make you feel fuzzy, and some that will make you feel less alone in the world. All of the stories are contemporary, but I loved how
Melanie (bookswritinghappiness)
I received a digital ARC of this book through Netgalley thanks to Random House Children’s Knopf Books for Young Readers in exchange for an honest review.

When I first found out about this anthology on Twitter (I follow both Katherine Locke and Laura Silverman along with a few of the authors that contributed to this book) I almost burst into tears from happiness. In all of the books I’ve read throughout my life, I’ve found very little Jewish representation, and the same can be said for TV shows, m
Sep 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Publication Date September 17th 2019
Thank you to NetGalley, the authors, and the publisher for this e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
I’m not Jewish. Each of these short stories could have told me people who are Jewish drink coffee because it brings them closer to God or some such equally strange nonsense and I would have believed it. Thankfully the authors are all Jewish and probably wouldn’t be too excited about misrepresenting Jewish people.
It’s a Whole Spiel: Love, Latkes, and Other J
Rachel 007
Oct 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-cp-wrote-this
Oh this was so so so good. And so needed. As someone who went to Jewish day school and was a part of youth group etc I WISH this anthology existed for me as a teen. As a Jewish adult I loved it so much too. Thank you Katherine and Laura!!!!!
Nov 24, 2020 rated it liked it
It's a Whole Spiel is an anthology that collects several short stories about Jewish teens. I must say I expected a bit more from this collection, it was okay overall, but nothing more. The only story that stood out to me is Be brave and all by Laura Silverman, which is the only one I gave 4 starts to. If you're interested, here are the ratings for every novella:

Indoor Kids by Alex London 2/5
Two truths and one lie by Dahlia Adler 3/5
The hold by David Levithan 3/5
Aftershocks by Rachel
Oct 03, 2020 marked it as to-read
Due to my name, I think a lot of people assume I am Jewish...I am not. I honestly know very little about Judaism...and this book seems like a good book to start learning through various Jewish experiences about Judaism.
mad mags
I don't love every story - but the ones I love, I love HARD.

(Full disclosure: I received a free e-ARC for review through NetGalley. Trigger warning for mental health issues, including eating disorders and social anxiety; bullying; and discussions of homophobia.)

I’ll probably never know what a space station careening through the atmosphere looks like, because I wasn’t looking up anymore. I was looking at him and smiling, and he was smiling back at me, and his braces were gleaming like starlight,
(7.6/10) - ⭐⭐⭐⭐

It's not often that I read an anthology that scrapes together more than three stars, because there's always stories I dislike, but somehow It's a Whole Spiel managed four!

This collection of stories by and for members of the Jewish community did a great job of illustrating what it's like to grow up more Jew-ish than *JEWISH*, and while I could've done with a little more diversity in ethnicities than what we got, I want to praise it for that.

I think there's still a lot of misconcept
Carrie Rowland
Dec 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
I haven’t read a lot of short story collections, but I loved the format and how quickly reading it went by. Although the point of this selection was to read about something I’m unfamiliar with (here, the Jewish experience), I found a lot to relate to in these insightful characters investigating their own intersections of identities.
Indoor Kids, by Alex London
Very good and funny, with a side of space disaster. I ship it.

Two Truths and an Oy, by Dahlia Adler
Quite short! Sheltered girl from an Orthodox community goes out into the wider world and finds it is stressful.

The Hold, by David Levithan
Well this is very good to read and a master class in structure and hits like a lightning bolt.

Aftershocks, by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Good Shabbos, by Goldy Moldavsky
I both loved and struggled with the narration here, but I am alw
Sep 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
I received this book from Netgally in exchange for an honest review

I did end up giving a higher rating than I thought I would to this book, so I’m not going to jump in right away about how this didn’t really live up to expectations. Because some stories were really good!! But that’s the thing about an anthology, it’s so hard to give a concrete review because there are so many stories of different ratings included in the complete book. My final rating was the average of my separate ratings for al
Dec 17, 2017 marked it as to-read
Shelves: anticipated
About time! I've been waiting for a Jewish YA anthology, or just a Jewish anthology in particular. Not gonna lie though, I'm a little bitter that we have to wait until 2019 to get it. ...more
Victoria Robinson
Nov 17, 2018 marked it as to-read
Sounds Jewish I'm in ...more
Hanna Fogel
LOVED this book! I gobbled up every story. So many different aspects of the Jewish experience, yet all recognizable too. 💙 ✡️
What does it mean to be Jewish? I have never contemplated this question, because I am not Jewish. But I am trying to read about diverse faiths and cultural perspectives, particularly when they intersect with other identities. It's a Whole Spiel caught my eye at my library (which is now open for limited in-person browsing, thank goodness!), and I was happy to devour it over this weekend.

This anthology of short stories features all kinds of Jewish voices and perspectives, from people who are cultu
It's hard for me to pin a number of stars on It's a Whole Spiel because I had very different reactions to different stories in the anthology, and they represent different genres, voices, themes, and so on. Some of them felt more "complete in themselves" than others, too.

The thing that I do like, and which I think makes is a strong volume, is that it's very diverse--not in the "diversity equals people who look different and love differently but who all represent people who have the exact same val
Jan 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
So good! An anthology with stories that are both fun and important with some cute romances as well. My favorites were Indoor Kids (two boys working as counselors at a summer camp fall in love, also lots about astronomy and space) Two Truths and an Oy (Modern Orthodox girl attends college orientation and tries to find her place), Aftershocks (not very religious girl worried about her first dinner with the religious family of her new boyfriend, also reminded me I need to read Solomon’s latest book ...more
Sep 17, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-reads
I was beyond excited to hear the world was getting a YA collection about what it's like to grow up Jewish. From explorations of identity to first loves, this anthology -- featuring short stories from Jewish young adult authors -- runs the gamut from comedy, to romance, religion and secularism, and even the slightly paranormal, representing a wide range of Jewish experiences. Jewish diversity in literature FTW! ...more
Indoor Kids, Alex London- 5/5 stars
Two Truths and An Oy, Dahlia Adler- 4/5 stars
The Hold, David Levithan- 4/5 stars
Aftershocks, Rachel Lynn Solomon- 4.5/5 stars
Good Shabbos, Goldy Moldavsky- 3/5 stars
Jewbecca, Lance Rubin- 3.5/5 stars
El Al 328, Dana Schwartz- 2.5/5 stars
Some Days Your The Sidekick; Some days You're the Superhero, Katherine Locke- 3.5/5 stars
He Who Revives the Dead, Elie Lichtschein- 4/5 stars
Be Brave and All, Laura Silverman- 4/5 stars
Neilah, Hanna Moskowitz- 3.5/5 stars
Find th
Aug 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

An anthology coming from two of my favorite authors? Yes. Please! Not to mention the contributor list is off the scales with authors I love in It's a Whole Spiel and all centered around different stories revolving around people's Jewish identity. The wonderful thing about good anthologies, like It's a Whole Spiel is the capacity to see your favorite authors in a new light. And to disc
Ceillie Simkiss
A really great short story collection with a full review to come!
Feb 13, 2020 rated it liked it
Okay so

Honestly it was kinda meh and the stories were annoying the type of bland contemporary fiction that’s like ooh I’m relevant cause pop culture and LGBTQ but like
I swear I’m not homophobic but why are there more gay people than frum people in here I just wanna feel represented as an Orthodox Jew😭

Well time to tell my queer friends about this then I guess XD LOKI YOU WANNA READ THIS nah you’d probably wanna read those Stucky fics that kid in here probably write though

Jan 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Aftershocks was definitely my favorite!
Warnings: eating disorder, anxiety from near-death experience,

Rep: OCD, queer rep (gay and bi rep, non-binary rep)

It's a Whole Spiel is a nice collection of contemporary OwnVoices YA stories, all with Jewish protagonists. The stories have varied themes - some are casually diverse, with them being coming-of-age stories, rom-coms or just slice-of-life style stories, or some have specific Jewish experiences, like kids who aren't religious wondering about their identity, or kids who have had a reli
Feb 15, 2020 added it
It's a whole Spiel has an important message about finding and loving yourself just the way you are.
I enjoyed most of the stories and was really happy to learn more about the Jewish religion, its traditions and holidays. I've decided to only mention a few stories because otherwise my review would be way too long!

He Who Revives the Dead by Elie Lichtschein was definitely my favourite one. It is about fear, being brave and finding the right people. I loved how inspirational and emotional the story
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Katherine Locke lives and writes in a small town outside Philadelphia, where she’s ruled by her feline overlords and her addiction to chai lattes. She writes about that which she cannot do: ballet, magic, and time travel. She secretly believes all stories are fairytales in disguise. Her YA debut, THE GIRL WITH THE RED BALLOON, arrives September 2017 from Albert Whitman & Comapny.

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