Alexis (TheSlothReader)'s Reviews > It's a Whole Spiel

It's a Whole Spiel by Katherine  Locke
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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 very close to and because of that, I do have a lot of knowledge about Judaism and Jewish culture.

Individual ratings:

Indoor Kids by Alex London - 4 stars
Such a cute story about a gay, Jewish boy who loves space and is crushing on a fellow Jewish counselor. I'm quickly falling in love with Alex London's writing.

Two Truths and an Oy by Dahlia Adler - 4 stars
A nice little story about a soon to be college freshman looking to escape the Jewish centric life she's always led. Only for her to realize through the horror of being a college freshman that it's nice to have a community to belong to and be proud of when you're so out of your element.

The Hold by David Levithan - 5 strars
I started out not liking this one, because its more autobiography stream of conscious, but I ended up loving it. It looks at the intersection of religion and sexuality and how comforting it can be to belong to both and take pride in both halves of your identity.

Aftershocks by Rachel Lynn Solomon - 4
This was so cute. Aaron and Miri were adorable and funny and I was hardcore rooting for them. But also this story examines that there is more than one way to be Jewish and how different practices and levels of commitment don't make one person any less a follower of Judaism.

Good Shabbos - Goldy Moldavsky - 1 star
Obviously its not an anthology unless I hate one of the stories and this was actually the worst. The main characters were vapid and judgemental and their weak idea of feminism displayed a complete lack of understanding. Also according to this story, girls cant like sports or nerdy things at all.

Jewbacca by Lance Rubin - 3 stars
This had some high points but overall was just okay.

El Al 328 by Dana Schwartz - 2 stars
I'm just not sure I fully understood the point of this one. It wasnt overly unique and the characters were fairly unmemorable.

Some Days You're the Sidekick; Some Days You're the Superhero by Katherine Locke - 3.5 stars
This was a really cute story about two fanfiction writers on a Jewish based fanfic site who dont realize the other identity. It was super cute.

He Who Revives the Dead by ELIE LICHTSCHEIN - 4.5
This one was a little slow to start but I ended up loving it. It's about a young girl who has survived almost drowning to travel to Israel to try to overcome her fear of water. It was really powerful especially in how in analyzed fear. I also really appreciated its positive and negative debate about modern Israel (especially in relation to Palestine)

Be Brave and All by Laura Silverman - 4 stars
Loved the anxiety rep in this one as well as the brief commentary on gun violence in America. This story did a really good job showcasing the future that kids are going to inherit and how the new celebration of diversity is allowing kids to truly grow and be themselves.

Neilah by Hannah Moskowitz - 4 star
TW: MC is dealing with an eating disorder
I really liked Tina, the main character. I appreciate the honesty of her character's feelings about her weight, her eating disorder, and her faith. I love how many stories in this collection focus on the many different ways that people can be Jewish. Also Tina is dating a girl but is possibly bi/pan since she had a boyfriend in the past.

Find the River by Matthew Roth - 3 stars
I honestly am not sure I really know/understood this story at all. There were parts where it seemed like the MC was really into his faith and times where it seemed like he wasn't. But it felt like the whole point was the importance of faith, so I'm just not sure I understood this one. However I loved the one character putting the MC in his place when he was being pretentious.

Ajshara by Adi Alsaid - 5 stars
This is my favorite story in the collection. It's about a Mexican Jewish boy traveling the world with a group of other kids before starting college. He also happens to see dead people. It's about the exploration of life and the history that we leave behind as humans.

Twelve Frames by Nova Ren Suma - 4.5 stars
This one was very focused on being yourself and how that can sometimes intersect with your faith. I really liked the main character Simone and her exploration of her great grandfathers past as well as the little tidbits about Jewish feminist icons. Overall a well constructed little story.

A lot of the stories in this collection emphasis that there is no one way to be Jewish. I really love that message.
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Reading Progress

July 1, 2019 – Started Reading
July 1, 2019 – Shelved
July 1, 2019 – Shelved as: review-books
July 1, 2019 –
2.0% "Mayim Bialik's foreword was really powerful.

Note: I am not Jewish, in religion or ancestry. However, I am very close with my Jewish relatives which was my intention in requesting this ARC from Netgalley. However, I cannot review these stories from an own voices perspective."
July 1, 2019 –
10.0% "Indoor Kids by Alex London - 4 stars


Such a cute story about a gay, Jewish boy who loves space and is crushing on a fellow Jewish counselor. I'm quickly falling in love with Alex London's writing."
July 3, 2019 –
15.0% "Two Truths and an Oy by Dahlia Adler - 4 stars

A nice little story about a soon to be college freshman looking to escape the Jewish centric life she's always led. Only for her to realize through the horror of being a college freshman that it's nice to have a community to belong to and be proud of when you're so out of your element."
July 6, 2019 –
20.0% "The Hold by David Levithan - 5 strars
I started out not liking this one, because its more autobiography stream of conscious, but I ended up loving it. It looks at the intersection of religion and sexuality and how comforting it can be to belong to both and take pride in both halves of your identity."
July 9, 2019 –
28.0% "Aftershocks by Rachel Lynn Solomon - 4

This was so cute. Aaron and Miri were adorable and funny and I was hardcore rooting for them. But also this story examines that there is more than one way to be Jewish and how different practices and levels of commitment don't make one person any less a follower of Judaism."
July 11, 2019 –
37.0% "Good Shabbos - Goldy Moldavsky - 1 star

Obviously its not an anthology unless I hate one of the stories and this was actually the worst. The main characters were vapid and judgemental and their weak idea of feminism displayed a complete lack of understanding. Also according to this story, girls cant like sports or nerdy things at all. Those are boy things only. Also the footnotes felt like a gimmick."
July 12, 2019 –
46.0% "Jewbacca by Lance Rubin - 3 stars

This had some high points but overall was just okay."
July 20, 2019 –
50.0% "El Al 328 by Dana Schwartz - 2 stars

I'm just not sure I fully understood the point of this one. It wasnt overly unique and the characters were fairly unmemorable."
August 21, 2019 –
62.0% "SOME DAYS YOU’RE THE SIDEKICK; SOME DAYS YOU’RE THE SUPERHERO by Katherine Locke - 3.5 stars

This was a really cute story about two fanfiction writers on a Jewish based fanfic site who dont realize the other identity. It was super cute."
August 23, 2019 –
67.0% "HE WHO REVIVES THE DEAD by ELIE LICHTSCHEIN - 4.5

This one was a little slow to start but I ended up loving it. It's about a young girl who has survived almost drowning to travel to Israel to try to overcome her fear of water. It was really powerful especially in how in analyzed fear. I also really appreciated its positive and negative debate about modern Israel (especially in relation to Palestine)"
August 29, 2019 –
75.0% "Be Brave and All by Laura Silverman - 4 stars

Loved the anxiety rep in this one as well as the brief commentary on gun violence in America. This story did a really good job showcasing the future that kids are going to inherit and how the new celebration of diversity is allowing kids to truly grow and be themselves."
August 31, 2019 –
79.0% "Neilah by Hannah Moskowitz - 4 star

TW: MC is dealing with an eating disorder

I really liked Tina, the main character. I appreciate the honesty of her character's feelings about her weight, her eating disorder, and her faith. I love how many stories in this collection focus on the many different ways that people can be Jewish. Also Tina is dating a girl but is possibly bi/pan since she had a boyfriend in the past."
September 6, 2019 –
87.0% "Find the River by Matthew Roth - 3 stars

I honestly am not sure I really know/understood this story at all. There were parts where it seemed like the MC was really into his faith and times where it seemed like he wasn't. But it felt like the whole point was the importance of faith, so I'm just not sure I understood this one. However I loved the one character putting the MC in his place when he was being pretentious."
September 10, 2019 –
93.0% "Ajshara by Adi Alsaid - 5 stars

This is my favorite story in the collection. It's about a Mexican Jewish boy traveling the world with a group of other kids before starting college. He also happens to see dead people. It's about the exploration of life and the history that we leave behind as humans."
September 13, 2019 – Finished Reading

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