In the Neighborhood of True

In the Neighborhood of True

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. Eag...

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Title:In the Neighborhood of True
Author:Susan Kaplan Carlton
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In the Neighborhood of True Reviews

  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

    Ruth Robb and her family move from New York City to Atlanta in 1958. Her father has recently passed away, which triggered the move. Ruth’s family is Jewish, and one of the first things she learns in Atlanta is that she must choose between being Jewish and being popular.

    Ruth desperately wants to fit in like any teen would, and she chooses to hide her religion from her new group of friends. She has a crush on Davis and winds up with him at the club that is all-white and a

    ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

    Ruth Robb and her family move from New York City to Atlanta in 1958. Her father has recently passed away, which triggered the move. Ruth’s family is Jewish, and one of the first things she learns in Atlanta is that she must choose between being Jewish and being popular.

    Ruth desperately wants to fit in like any teen would, and she chooses to hide her religion from her new group of friends. She has a crush on Davis and winds up with him at the club that is all-white and all-Christian.

    Ruth’s mother still makes her attend temple every week, but no one outside her family knows. She forms a relationship with Max at temple, and he is vocal about social justice for Jews.

    A hate crime occurs, and Ruth will have to make some tough choices between what she wants and what is right.

    Technically this is a young adult historical, but I didn’t notice the “young adult” part while reading. Maybe the language was straight forward, but I took it as seamless, smooth writing. I was immediately struck by this different take on being a Jew in the south during the 1950s. I’m not sure I’ve read a book with this focus before. Based loosely on an historical event that occurred in Atlanta during this time, it made me consider how little has changed some 60 years later when I think of Pittsburgh.

    Overall, In the Neighborhood of True is a thoughtful and important look at deciding between who you think you are and who you want to be.

    I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.

    My reviews can also be found on my blog:

  • Alana • thebookishchick

    Seriously, this was so good and such an important read. It's scary and sad to think that a book set in 1958 can still tie so heavily into today's society by discussing topics such as antisemitism and racism, but here we are. Now, I can't speak from experience, but I do appreciate books that help put these tough topics into a better perspective for me and that's exactly what this did. I thought the author did an excellent job of talking about Ruth h

    Seriously, this was so good and such an important read. It's scary and sad to think that a book set in 1958 can still tie so heavily into today's society by discussing topics such as antisemitism and racism, but here we are. Now, I can't speak from experience, but I do appreciate books that help put these tough topics into a better perspective for me and that's exactly what this did. I thought the author did an excellent job of talking about Ruth hiding her religion from her new friends but also recognizing the fact that there are much bigger issues at hand given the time period.

    The writing in this book was incredible and made me feel like I was actually taken back into the 50's. I was also instantly hooked on this story since it starts off with Ruth seconds away from getting on the stand during a trial to testify for a hate crime. The author then leaves readers hanging on the edge of our seats and takes us back to a few months earlier and let's the story unravel. I desperately tore through this book to find out whether Ruth would find her voice or continue to pretend to be someone she's not.

    I really fell in love with Ruth and I absolutely adored her growth throughout this story. She starts out seeing right through her town's etiquette classes and catty new classmates, but she's also desperate to fit in. She admits that she's shallow and hides who she really is in order to not feel like an outcast, especially when the popular boy at school starts to fall in love with her. But hiding who she is means she has to make sure her new

    never find out that Ruth is Jewish. They can never know that she attends temple on the weekends. But along comes another boy who makes her question her new life (no, this isn't a love triangle type of story), he's just someone Ruth is able to be her true self with. On top of having a lovable MC, you'll find other characters who are so easy to fall in love with, for example, my love for Ruth's mother is infinite. She wanted to make sure Ruth saw the ugly in the world and never sugar coated anything for her children to help inspire them to be a better person. I honestly wish we all had parents like that.

    I'm not going to talk much about the specifics of the hate crime because I'd rather not spoil anything, but I think it was handled very well. It was heart-wrenching to read, but also very moving. As for why I didn't give this a five star writing, I have two teeny, tiny complaints. The first, is that the romance was a little too insta-lovey for me, but nothing I wasn't able to see past because this is about so much more than a love story. And the second, was that the ending seemed a little rushed. I would have preferred maybe a little bit more of the actual trial or what Ruth does after the trial, but again nothing to deter me from not loving this book.

    All in all, I'm so glad I found this book. I'm always on the hunt for thought-provoking stories that make you stop and think about the bigger picture and that's exactly what this book did. I can't recommend

    enough!

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  • Berit☀️✨

    Susan Kaplan Carlton has written a compelling story that is loosely based on the 1958 Atlanta temple bombing. My mom was a northerner who moved to the south in the 1950s. I remember her telling me stories of colored water fountains and standing up for Land of Dixie, of debutante balls and sweet tea. It always seems so different from my own upbringing in the melting pot o

    Susan Kaplan Carlton has written a compelling story that is loosely based on the 1958 Atlanta temple bombing. My mom was a northerner who moved to the south in the 1950s. I remember her telling me stories of colored water fountains and standing up for Land of Dixie, of debutante balls and sweet tea. It always seems so different from my own upbringing in the melting pot of Southern California. So I can only imagine how different it was for Ruth from New York city. Throw in the fact that she was also Jewish, and I think the girl must have gone through some major culture shock. I will never truly understand hate, it is just something I’ve never had in my heart. What is unfortunate is even though this book was set 60 years ago it is still relevant today. I like to believe that most people are extremely accepting of all people, but there are those few that just can’t seem to let go of the hate and the anger. I probably could go on anon, but I will spare you all!

    Ruth is a junior in high school who finds herself in the deep south after the death of her father. The world of pastels and blondes is a far cry from NYC, and Ruth realizes real quick that she cannot be both Jewish and popular. Soon Ruth finds herself ensconced in the debutante world, trying on dresses, attending parties, and striving to be the Magnolia queen. And there is a boy, named Davis Jefferson no less. But is Ruth being true to herself pretending she is something she’s not? And what happens when the unthinkable happens and Ruth is caught between two worlds?

    I found Ruth tremendously relatable and likable. I got her, I would have done exactly what she did at her age in her situation. She was all about friendship, and fashion, and fitting in. The romance between Ruth and Davis was so sweet and adorable, yes it was a little Insta but they are teenagers, seems to happen that way quite a bit. I also really liked Ruth’s mother and Ruth’s relationship with her mother. Her mother was strong and a bit righteous, but she let Ruth do her thing. Fontaine Ruth’s grandma was such an authentic character, I truly think she represented how her generation in the south saw things. She herself didn’t feel as though she hated anyone, however she didn’t think anything needed to change either, in fact she felt as though she supported Jewish people because she shopped at a department store owned by Jewish people. I also appreciated that she did not have some major epiphany and completely change how she felt. My only tiny complaint is I wish that the bombing took place a little earlier in the book, so we could really see how the conflict resolved itself.

    A riveting and important story that I strongly encourage everyone to pick up!

    *** A huge thank you to Algonquin for my copy of this book ***

  • Kai

    So you would think that antisemitism is just as much a thing of the past as people saying "swell" whenever they thought something was cool. But hate and terror against Jews is just as real today as Islamophobia and racism. And I doubt this comes as a surprise to you. As it turns out, the themes of this book are just as relevant today as they were back in the 1960s.

    is an OwnVoices young adult novel loosely

    So you would think that antisemitism is just as much a thing of the past as people saying "swell" whenever they thought something was cool. But hate and terror against Jews is just as real today as Islamophobia and racism. And I doubt this comes as a surprise to you. As it turns out, the themes of this book are just as relevant today as they were back in the 1960s.

    is an OwnVoices young adult novel loosely based on the events of the Atlanta Temple Bombing in 1958. It tells the story of a Jewish teenager torn between wanting to fit in and staying true to herself and her Jewish community. After her father's death, Ruth, her mum, and her sister move from New York back to Atlanta, Georgia. Here, being Jewish often doesn't just mark you as an outsider but could also put you in grave danger.

    Antisemitism and racism play big roles in this book. And while it was easier for Ruth to pass as a white girl at school, the author also shows that the reality for black people was often worse. What I do like is that the author managed to discuss racism without stepping into the position of a white saviour who is speaking for black people. When Ruth tries to do just that, she is immediately reprimanded for it. She wants to elevate herself by praising Birdie's (the black maid's) kids and is put in her place when Birdie tells her not to use her children's accomplishments to improve her own status. The author also talks about the grim history of lynchings carried out by the Klu-Klux-Klan in Atlanta.

    I wish that the book had been a little less predictable and a lot more emotional. I often felt that the author only touched the surface of the reality of a Jewish girl that hides her Jewishness when faced with a squad of white and blond teenager Southern belles. That shit is frightening and while the was potential to really show that fear, it wasn't carried out. The events of the Atlanta Church bombing took place in the last 15% of the book, and if the bombing had taken place earlier in the novel, there might have also been more potential for conflict. I feel the same way about the romance in this novel. Sure, there was a cute guy with even cuter dimples that Ruth crushed on, but it fell flat because there was no chemistry, there were no emotions.

    I did, however, like Ruth's mother and sister. They seemed to have more depth than the other characters. I would have wished for more confrontation with Fontaine, Ruth's grandmother, who seems like one of those people that would say problematic things like "I don't see colour." She often acted like the fact that her daughter married a Jew was a stain that needed to be removed. She should have been told off or should have had a moment where she realises that her attitude towards her daughter's and granddaughters' Jewish backgrounds is problematic at best, antisemitic at worst.

    All in all, I believe that this story is timeless. We need to talk about antisemitism, racism and Islamophobia more than ever before. They are being normalised - on social media and in the news. Far-right extremism needs to be fought and eliminated, and although it will probably never be erased, it is our duty to spread awareness and acceptance whenever we can.

  • destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]

    Is this an important topic? Absolutely! Does this book deserve to be read by loads of people? Yes, yes, yes. Did it work for

    Not in the slightest.

    This feels like one of those "it's not you, it's me!" moments ('you' being the book, and 'me' being, well...

    ), but the writing style doesn't work for me at all. I also immediately had some huge personal issues with the depictions of characters in this book, and the whole thing just... sigh. It's not for me, fam. I definitely hope others will

    Is this an important topic? Absolutely! Does this book deserve to be read by loads of people? Yes, yes, yes. Did it work for

    Not in the slightest.

    This feels like one of those "it's not you, it's me!" moments ('you' being the book, and 'me' being, well...

    ), but the writing style doesn't work for me at all. I also immediately had some huge personal issues with the depictions of characters in this book, and the whole thing just... sigh. It's not for me, fam. I definitely hope others will love it because it's an important topic and we need more own-voice Jewish rep in YA

    , but I won't be picking this one back up.

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