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The Trouble with Good Ideas

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  47 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Twelve-year old Leah Nevins is NOT a fan of change.

So when her parents start whispering about sending her beloved great-grandpa Zaide to an assisted living facility (hospital jail!), she is very resistant. Zaide's house, where her family gathers on Saturday afternoons, is the only place where Leah feels like she truly belongs. Sending Zaide away would change everything.

Hardcover, 288 pages
Published January 5th 2021 by Roaring Brook Press
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Average rating 4.02  · 
Rating details
 ·  47 ratings  ·  17 reviews

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Rachel 007
Sep 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
*Thank you to Netgalley and Macmillan Children's for the opportunity to read this book*

It is Yom Kippur. I shouldn't be using technology but it is what it is this year. And in between Zoom services, small groups and walks, I read this entire book. And for me, this book was perfect.

I am a Solomon Schechter Day School kid. Or I was. I spent 11 years being a student at the very school Leah Nevins mentions leaving. I transferred, on my own terms, to a public school. (Unlike Leah's SSDS experience,
belle ☆ミ (thisbellereadstoo)
trigger and content warning: antisemitism

in the trouble with good ideas, leah calls her great-grandfather zaide even though it's the yiddish word for grandfather. i adored leah and zaide's relationship. leah's desperation to create a golem so that it can take care of zaide shows how close they are and how much she doesn't want to acknowledge that zaide needs professional help.

"Leah Roslyn, sometimes a person must fight their own battles."

at her new school, she's the only jewish kid in the sixth
Feb 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing


“The Trouble with Good Ideas” is a neat middle-grade novel with a touch of magic that I enjoyed reading.

There are many aspects which I enjoyed about this book. Firstly, I loved how the author focused importance on the Jewish culture and traditions. I had not heard of some terms like the Haggadah earlier. Moreover, the story of “The Golem of Prague” fascinated me. Secondly, I admire the author for how she handled the anti-semi
Lilli Leight
Mar 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ownvoices, favorites
Oh my freakin heart this book is SO CUTE 😊 and nails that Jewish rep

The Trouble with Good Ideas by is a MUST READ! Especially if you like middle grade/YA (this one is middle grade).

The story follows 12-year-old Leah who has just moved to a new town, started a new school, and now is told her beloved Zaide might have to move out of his house and into an assisted living facility.

Leah is set on not letting that happen. So, she creates a golem (golem are magically beings in Jewish folklore) to take
PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps

Leah Nevins misses her old friends since she moved closer to her grandfather Zaide. Now her parents want to move him to an assisted-living facility because he has Alzheimer’s. Leah decides to create a golem to help Zaide.

THE TROUBLE WITH GOOD IDEAS is a younger MG story about a Jewish tween who’s having difficulty adjusting to changes in her life as well as antisemitism in her new school.

Amanda Panitch gave Leah a sympathetic and engaging voice. I could really relate to Leah hating her
Ashley Dang
Nov 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A magical story mixed into the real struggles of a girl struggling to accept herself, her history, and the struggles of a finding out a beloved family member is experiencing Alzheimer’s. Leah is a new girl at school, and she is the ONLY Jewish girl there. Leaf finds that she can’t seem to fit in and feels that no one wants to be her friend because she is different. Leah absolutely hates her nose, a distinct feature in her family. But the one thing that gets her through all her struggles, is alwa ...more
Jan 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
I received an e-arc of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

4/5 stars

I thought that the premise behind this story was really interesting. I loved how it was slightly magical with the golem coming to life but was also rooted heavily in the real world and dealt with a lot of real problems and emotions. Our main character Leah was having a hard time coming to terms with the fact that a lot of things in her life was changing and she wasn't ready for all of these changes to h
I received an ARC of this title from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Leah Nevins' favorite day of the week is Saturday, when her whole family gathers at her Zaide's house for chess, food, and fun. Zaide's house is full of so much life and love. It is where the family gathers for Seder at Passover, where Leah and her cousins have spent so many hours playing together, where Zaide raised his children and then his grandchildren and now enjoys time with his great-grandchildren. But somethi
Ms. Yingling
Sep 15, 2020 rated it liked it
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Leah Nevins and her family have just moved from their home back to live near her great-grandfather, Zaide, who is 93 years old. She had to leave her Jewish school and feels awkward and unable to make friends in her new school. The one thing she does love is getting together with her extended family on Saturday afternoons at Zaide's quirky home, which is an old telephone office. She plays chess with her great-grandfather and hangs out with her cousins. When her gra
Nov 07, 2020 rated it liked it
I received an electronic ARC from Macmillan Children's Publishing Group through NetGalley.
Leah and her family have recently moved to be near her great-grandfather. She's adjusting to leaving her best friends and finding her way at a new middle school. Plus, her great-grandfather is in the early stages of Alzheimer's and getting worse. Leah does not want him sent to an assisted living center so does whatever she can to keep him in his home. This includes finding the remains of the golem her grand
Nov 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
The Trouble with Good Ideas is the story of 12-year-old Leah, who has to leave her community and Jewish school to move with her family to live closer to her great grandfather. There, she is the only Jewish girl, and she has to learn how to make new friends while fighting stereotypes about her culture. She creates a golem to help take care of her great grandfather in order to prevent her family from moving him into an assisted living facility. At first, things are great, and then it takes a turn, ...more
Dec 17, 2020 rated it liked it
The basic plot about worrying about change, Leah’s relationships with her family members and classmates, and even her supernatural “solution” were fairly standard middle grade fare, and I appreciated the consistent use of Jewish history and culture (a charoset prep scene - you love to see it!). However, the writing style sometimes felt inexpert and some plot elements such as Elsa’s transforming personality and the backstory between Zaide and Maria awkward or simplistic; the portrayal of antisemi ...more
Jul 25, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: rfmtisr
Super fun, creative concept! Unfortunately, I found the main character, Leah, extremely irritating and unsympathetic. She continually makes very selfish, impulsive decisions, and her growth at end of the novel wasn’t enough to make me come around.
LS Johnson
May 01, 2021 rated it liked it
Wishes never turn out the way we want them to. This was a great story about a love of a great-granddaughter for her Zaide. I learned more about many Jewish customs, myths and racist assumptions made about them. Overall I enjoyed the story as well.
Alexis C
Mar 31, 2021 rated it really liked it
The trouble with good ideas is all about coming to her senses. She comes face to face with her insecurity’s and she realizes change can be a good thing
Mar 27, 2021 rated it really liked it
A girl’s Yiddish great-grandfather, a bit of Jewish mythology golem magic , and the idea of growing into yourself all star in this middle grade novel. 3.5 stars
Dec 20, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: arcs, juvenile
I enjoyed reading this book featuring tidbits from Poland and Jewish mythology. Leah did everything in her power to help her grandfather remain at his house despite his dementia. She constructs a golem to watch over him before learning that the golem isn't as helpful or friendly as she initially thought. Suddenly, Leah must come to terms with saving her family from the golem's wrath while accepting that life won't remain the same forever, and that it is okay to accept change. Thank you Edelweiss ...more
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Amanda Panitch spent most of her childhood telling stories to her four younger siblings, trying both to make them laugh and scare them too much to sleep. Now she lives in New York City, where she writes dark, funny stories for teens, kids, and the pigeons that nest on her apartment balcony. You can follow her on Twitter @AmandaPanitch, and visit her online at


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