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No Vacancy

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  118 ratings  ·  43 reviews
Buying and moving into the run-down Jewel Motor Inn in upstate New York wasn’t eleven-year-old Miriam Brockman’s dream, but at least it’s an adventure. Miriam befriends Kate, whose grandmother owns the diner next door, and finds comfort in the company of Maria, the motel’s housekeeper, and her Uncle Mordy, who comes to help out for the summer. She spends her free time help ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published September 1st 2020 by Groundwood Books
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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
Rating details
 ·  118 ratings  ·  43 reviews

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Jul 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I am careful about using the word love to describe how I feel about a book. I want to preserve the power of the word - save it for when it really counts. It is even rarer for me to use it on a Middle Grade novel. But - I loved this little book. I'm sixty-seven years old and I loved it. It is very difficult to create child characters that are both recognizably "ordinary" and "extraordinary" enough to keep an old man interested for two hundred and so pages - but Miriam, the main character and narr ...more
Sep 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book's premise was slightly ridiculous but hilarious and actually dovetailed well with the themes about religion and religious and cultural identity. It felt like Schitt's Creek meet's Front Desk (Front Desk, #1) by Kelly Yang in all the best ways. It was fun and had a lot of heart, touching on important and timely topics but was not heavy-handed. I also appreciated that it showed - even within a small family - a range of Jewish practice that felt authentic.
An excellent mirror and window book for all readers.
Liza Wiemer
Nov 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ownvoices
This book had me on the edge of my seat. I needed to know what would happen to Miriam's family and the decrepit motel that they purchased. Would they go bankrupt? How it's saved had my heart pounding. The exploration of Jewish practice and the relationship between the Jewish community and the Catholic community added an important dimension. With a beautiful cast of characters, Tziporah Cohen wrote a story that explores faith, friendship, and the impact that fear and hatred has on a family and a ...more
Apr 11, 2020 rated it really liked it


A BIG Thank You to Netgalley and Groundwood Books for providing me with an advanced reader’s copy of “No Vacancy” for my review.

What I really liked about this story was how positive the characters were. I enjoyed reading about most of them, whether it be Maria, Father Donovan, Mrs. Whitley or Anton. Most of the characters are written very well. I also liked Miriam as the main character. She has many questions about life and notices that nothing is simple.
Jun 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A fun read that I really enjoyed. I loved exploring Miriam's world and didn't want to leave.
I like this new to me author's writing style and I thought she has done a fabulous job with certain subjects.
I certainly can relate to Miriam by moving to a small town. I moved from Ohio to Kentucky in 1982 but unlike Miriam I had trouble establishing friendships. I'm not good with making friends but eventually as I got older I did learn.
I love the theme of family, friends and learning to get along with
Leanne C
Feb 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This was for me the right book at the right time. At a time when folks are feeling isolated and disconnected it was great to read a story about building relationships, connections and community. This is also a great book to facilitate discussions with students on religious diversity and inclusion. I loved Miriam's handling of the many challenges she and her family faced with the move and running of an old motel and how she handles her mistakes. ...more
Ms. Yingling
May 04, 2020 rated it liked it
E ARC provided by

Miriam Brockman is not thrilled when her family moves from New York City to a small town in upstate New York to run the Jewell Motor Inn. Since her father lost his job, the family thinks it is a good idea. There are some things that are interesting about the experience, like living in two adjoining motel rooms and having her Uncle Mordy spend the summer with them fixing the place up, but Miriam misses her friends. There are also so few Jewish people in town that th
Roslyn K
This was a wonderful story that explores moving to a new place and all the unexpected situations that can put you in. After Miriam's father loses his job, her family buys and moves into an old, run-down motor hotel in upstate New York. The motel requires a lot more work than expected and they are getting far fewer guests than they need to stay afloat. But the scheme Miriam and her new friend Kate come up with to bring tourists to their town brings up old, bitter memories for Miriam's mother and ...more
Sep 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars.

Eleven year old Miriam and her family have just moved from New York City to upstate New York to manage the rundown Jewel Motor Inn. After losing his job, her father could no longer afford the expenses of city living and bought the hotel with the intent to run it and save up some money for the family. Unfortunately, things are rougher going than anticipated and stresses run high. Miriam who is Jewish befriends Catholic Kate whose grandmother runs the restaurant next door to the motel,
May 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
No Vacancy follows Miriam, whose family has moved from Manhattan to a small town to manage a run-down hotel. This book is on the younger side of middle grade, and centers on a primary theme of inclusion. Miriam's family is Jewish and throughout the book, we are introduced to a variety of characters from diverse backgrounds and identities - Catholic/Christian, kids with disabilities, families struggling with poverty, and Spanish-speaking. She models what it looks like to learn about each of her n ...more
Feb 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing
11yo Miriam has recently moved from New York City to Upstate New York where her parents have purchased a motel. Leaving her 2 best friends behind, this promises to be the worst summer ever. The next exit off the highway is a bigger town with a college, so The Jewel Motel gets very little business, and even though the diner next door makes the best grape pies ever, if the motel doesn't have customers, the diner doesn't see much business either. Kate is the granddaughter Myrtle, the owner of Mabel ...more
Cori // ghostlightbooks
Miriam and her family are now the proud owners of the Jewel Motor Inn. They're headed into the biggest transition period of Miriam's life and she's a bit worried it won't turn out how her parents envisioned. After realizing that the former owners may not have been truthful about how the motel was doing, Miriam and her newfound friend Kate hatch a plan to help save the motel and the diner next door, and possibly more.

This was a short and sweet novel about acceptance and how to overcome your
Pam Withers
Feb 27, 2021 rated it liked it
Unfortunately, the pacing in this novel is off. For long stretches it's flat, yet in other places it's fun and engaging. Seems to me it doesn't really pick up till halfway through. Until then, the novel works over-hard at plot setup and description, without much action.
But hang in there. The main characters are fun and believable, the two girls' friendship and mischievousness is entertaining, and the novel's goal of teaching middle-graders something about both Judaism and Christianity, and how
Sarah Hanson
May 03, 2020 rated it liked it
I was excited for this middle-grade read, as the synopsis reads close to "Front Desk" by Kelly Yang.

Miriam is struggling to leave behind her life in NYC as she finds herself a member of one of the only Jewish families in upstate NY. As her parents decide to buy the Jewel Motor Inn to save up for a nicer house, struggles over income, varying mindsets, and a battle of acceptance of Maria, staying on as a expert to the ins and outs of the motel, make tensions rise higher.

At the beginning, I heard
Misty  Miller
Apr 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
No Vacancy is a spectacularly crafted story of a young girl struggling with new situations in her life. She must help shoulder the burden of financial troubles of her family by assisting in the new family business – running a motel. Through the efforts of her family and her new community she learns valuable lessons about life – not all things are as they seem. Cohen skillfully and with age appropriateness address the issues of bigotry, hatred, and small mindedness. Cohen also allows us to see in ...more
Sep 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
After Miriam's father loses his job, they move from New York City to a super small town in upstate New York where they have purchased a motel. The previous owners lied about the financial state of the motel and disappeared instead of sticking around to show Miriam's family what they needed to know. Although Miriam is sad to leave her friends and move to the middle of nowhere, she strikes up a great friendship with the granddaughter of the owner of the diner next door. And just when it seems like ...more
Aug 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
No Vacancy opens as Miriam and her family (parents + little brother) arrive in a small town from New York City. They have bought a run-down motel and work together to get it ready for customers. Along the way, Miriam meets Kate (whose grandparents own the diner next door) and they form a fast friendship.

As the mom of two tween girls, I enjoyed this book thoroughly! Miriam's emotions felt real to me: missing her friends and 'normal' life back in NYC, annoyance and adoration for her younger broth
Allie Tackett
Apr 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
No Vacancy by Tziporah Cohen is a lovely tale of a Jewish girl learning how religion isn't something that needs to come between people. Miriam is a middle school student whose parents just bought the Jewel Motel Inn. Through some adventures during the summer she finds out that the community loves her and her family, it just takes a miracle for her to see that.

This was an absolute delight to read. I can't wait for publication day in September when I am able to get a phycial copy to add to my lib
Tina Athaide
May 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thank You to Netgalley and Groundwood Books for providing me with an e-ARC.
I couldn't wait to dive into Miriam's world and her community with Maria, Uncle Mordy, Father Donovan, Mrs. Whitley and Anton. Miriam's life is turned upside down when her family leaves NYC and move to a small town in upstate NY to run the Jewell Motor Inn. While this isn't how Miriam imagined her world, she doesn't complain, instead she dives right in to help in the process learns a lot about herself and others. What im
Wendy Thomas
Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for a digital ARC of this book. A Jewish family moves from NYC to a small town to run a failing motel. I appreciated the look into Jewish family life, but the discussions of religion were a bit too heavy handed for my taste. I also enjoyed the small-town atmosphere and the premise of the family working together to make the motel a success. However, the pace was pretty slow and when almost half-way through I found a pretty glaring error, I set this one do ...more
Lisa McDonald
Jun 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc
No Vacancy by Tziporah Cohen was a fun, enjoyable read about Miriam, an eleven-year-old girl whose family moved into a run down Inn as a last ditch effort to stay afloat financially. Unhappy about the move, Miriam, tries to make the best of it. She enjoys spending time with her uncle Mordy, and makes quick friends with a girl her age, Kate, and her grandmother who own the next door diner. She also befriends Maria, the maid. Unfortunately, the motel is not very busy and Miriam realizes that her f ...more
Dianne Matich
Dec 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A beautifully written middle grade involving a friendship between a Jewish girl Miriam, and a Catholic girl,Kate. The girls hope to save Jewel Motel and the town of Greenvale. Their solution is to find a miracle and if one isn't available, well, inventing one will do. As a Catholic, I felt the writing handled the delicate subject of religion and miracles with distinct skill and tact. Great characters! A story impossible to put down until the end, and when finish it, you'll be just a bit inspired ...more
M. Wolkenstein
Feb 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book pulls you in with incredibly likable, quirky characters, a captivating conceit, and graceful storytelling that blends the real world we all know with a kind of elements of subtle fantasy -- where tolerance and mutual respect are abundant, and where a community comes together to show and share love. It's not that those places don't exist -- they do! But in today's world, it feels like a dream. No Vacancy reminds us that it's not a dream - but people have to make it happen. It shows us h ...more
Sep 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
No Vacancy is a story about a family that relocates from Manhatten to a very small town to run a motel. It is filled with a whole cast of interesting characters, who all have something to add to the story. I love that this book focuses on inclusion (religious, disability, cultural, etc.) in a way that young middle schoolers can relate to. As a reader, I fell in love with these characters and wanted to see them succeed. Great debut novel...I can't wait to see what else we will see from this autho ...more
Aug 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is the kind of book I would have loved and read again and again as a kid. I loved the main character’s authentic curiosity, frustration, and worries. As an adult, the ending is a bit too tidy, but it would be a great addition to 3rd to 5th grade class libraries and book clubs. Thanks NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC.
Aug 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: e-book
ARC provided by Groundwood Books. I’m waffling between 3.5 and 4 stars. It’s hard not to compare this to Front Desk. This is another “kid has to help run a motel” story, but this time the bigotry relates to religion, not immigration.
I really enjoyed the scheme that the girls come up with to save the hotel, and the ending really got to me.
Jun 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a quick read, and I enjoyed it. The characters were good and I thought it was a good way to introduce the idea that no everyone likes all religions. This book would allow a good conversation to start about it.
Jan 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Definitely a five star read for me. The author did such a great job with inclusivity, exploring religion, and what happens between people of different religions. Also she did her homework on people with disabilities and portrayed them well. Lovely book!
Jan 31, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-lit
Lovely middle grade combining the familiar theme of trying to adjust after a move with unique elements, including the hotel setting and the examination of what faith can mean to people. Would be good for independent readers or parent-child book clubs.
Ellie M
Aug 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
For fans of Front Desk!
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