Tuesday, July 07, 2020

#BookTour: In the Neighborhood of True by Susan Kaplan Carlton @susankcarlton @AlgonquinYR

Synopsis: A powerful story of love, identity, and the price of fitting in or speaking out.

After her father’s death, Ruth Robb and her family transplant themselves in the summer of 1958 from New York City to Atlanta—the land of debutantes, sweet tea, and the Ku Klux Klan. In her new hometown, Ruth quickly figures out she can be Jewish or she can be popular, but she can’t be both. Eager to fit in with the blond girls in the “pastel posse,” Ruth decides to hide her religion. Before she knows it, she is falling for the handsome and charming Davis and sipping Cokes with him and his friends at the all-white, all-Christian Club.

Does it matter that Ruth’s mother makes her attend services at the local synagogue every week? Not as long as nobody outside her family knows the truth. At temple Ruth meets Max, who is serious and intense about the fight for social justice, and now she is caught between two worlds, two religions, and two boys. But when a violent hate crime brings the different parts of Ruth’s life into sharp conflict, she will have to choose between all she’s come to love about her new life and standing up for what she believes.


Rating: ★★★★★
My Review: This was a very interesting story.  I thought it was really cool to read something that was set in the late 1950's which is when my mom was born.  How cool is that!? When this story that is told in present and then past started what I thought was the reason that Ruth was going to court and the actual reason were two different things.  The story itself did very well with the topics of racism/anti-semitism. I think the author used grace when writing this title.   

The setting and dialogue of the characters works so well for this story.  I kept finding myself thinking why don't they just look things up when they didn't know what something was.  And then I would remember that those things weren't around.  It really makes you appreciate the world of today.  The characters also shined I loved how Ruth grew during the pages and I would love to see where she goes once she's an adult. 

I will say that this book takes a look at some heavy topics.  When it started Ruth talks about how there are two bibles for people to swear on for court.  She has the white bible and was thinking of asking for the black one.  I think that this is just one way that this book was very gripping.  How things like that just don't happen today.  At least not in that way.  Another thing is that Ruth has to hide that she's Jewish, which is another thing that generally doesn't happen in this day and age.  

This book deals with Racism, Anti-Semitism, Bombing, Civil Rights, and more!! 

It is really scary to know that events from the 1950 & 1960s are as relevant today as they were then.  Just as back then it was Jews and Blacks today we see hate crimes for the Muslims and other races. This story was both beautiful and heartbreaking to see what people went through.  

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up-In 1959, Ruth Robb moves from New York City to Atlanta. The daughter of a former Magnolia Queen, she is welcomed into a world of surface beauty and perfection, where girls learn society rules from their "pink books" and gardeners measure the distance between chaise lounges with a ruler. Her friends, the pastel-clad girls from Tea and Etiquette, think of New York as full of "Jews and commies." What they don't know is that Ruth herself is Jewish-and Ruth intends to keep it under wraps. She can be Jewish on the weekends at the temple, where the rabbi preaches controversial sermons about integration, and pass for Christian everywhere else: at her school, where buildings are named after Confederate generals; at the exclusive club, where Jews aren't allowed in the door; and, most of all, with Davis Jefferson, a boy whose blue eyes and deep dimple make Ruth fall hard and fast. But when her love affair with the South is punctured by an act of violence, Ruth, who has been taught that her voice is a "strong spice" to be used sparingly, must decide how much-and who-she is willing to risk by speaking up. Inspired by the 1958 bombing of an Atlanta synagogue, this novel uses its immersive historical setting to convey truths about hatred that remain relevant today. Ruth is an initially shallow protagonist who comes to realize the smallness and egocentrism of her own actions and whose complex choices ultimately transform her into a braver, fuller version of herself. VERDICT Timely YA historical fiction that belongs on all shelves.-Elizabeth Giles, Lubuto Library Partners, Zambiaα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


“Carlton captures the racism, anti-Semitism, and social interactions of the time and place with admirable nuance. The dialogue and setting are meticulously constructed, and readers will feel the humidity and tension rising with each chapter.”
Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Susan Kaplan Carlton offers a rich sense of time and place and a compelling profile in courage of a conflicted 17-year-old finding her voice in this interesting snapshot of a little-known chapter of the early civil rights movement.”
The Buffalo News

“Every character is memorable and complex, and the plot quickly becomes engrossing . . . the characters' moral decisions are so complicated and so surprising that many people will be kept spellbound by even the tiniest detail. Riveting.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Carlton does an excellent job of mixing the personal with the historical . . . Ruth crisply relays her conflicted feelings, the tense situations, and characters who are well-shaded and occasionally surprising.”

In the Neighborhood of True, inspired by real-life events, is a testament to an important time in our country's history with themes that resonate today.”
Shelf Awareness

“Inspired by the 1958 bombing of an Atlanta synagogue, this novel uses its immersive historical setting to convey truths about hatred that remain relevant today . . . Timely YA historical fiction that belongs on all shelves.”
School Library Journal

“A gorgeous story about a teenage girl finding her voice in the face of hate, heartbreak, and injustice.”
Nova Ren Suma, #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Room Away from the Wolves

“Susan Kaplan Carlton’s snapshot of 1958 Atlanta is both exquisite and harrowing, and I will hold it in my heart for a long time.”
Rachel Lynn Solomon, author of You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone and Our Year of Maybe

“You might not think a book set in 1959 could feel wildly relevant, but wow does this YA set in Atlanta that explores anti-Semitism in the south during the Civil Rights era feel incredibly on point after the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. In both cases, the synagogue was specifically targeted for being not just a place of worship for Jews but for being active participants in the eternal American fight against racism.”
Barnes & Noble Teen Blog 

“One of the most honest, multifaceted, and authentic portrayals of teen girlhood I've ever read. This is a must for readers of historical fiction, particularly areas that receive less attention.”
Young Adult Books Central 

“I loved this book. The characters are complex and relatable . . . Carlton captures the emotions and the struggle perfectly, making it a great place to find representation of what it’s like to be Jewish then and now.”

In the Neighborhood of True is a story that really struck a chord with me. It highlights issues that remain as relevant then as they are now. It reminded us that we can’t truly hide ourselves, not when it matters the most. Most important of all, it reminds the reader that we must always tell our truths, no matter how hard it might be for others to hear them.”
The Nerd Daily

About the Author

Susan Kaplan Carlton currently teaches writing at Boston University. She is the author of Love & Haight and Lobsterland; her writing has also appeared in SelfElleMademoiselle, and Seventeen. She lived for a time with her family in Atlanta, where her daughters learned the finer points of etiquette from a little pink book and the power of social justice from their synagogue.

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