Review: The Dubious Pranks of Shaindy Goodman

The Dubious Pranks of Shaindy Goodman

by Mari Lowe

Levine Querido, 2023

Category: Middle Grade
Reviewer: Rachel J. Fremmer

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Shaindy Goodman isn’t special. She’s not at the top of her class academically, she’s not a gifted athlete, she’s not the most popular. She’s not an outcast either. She’s just… forgettable. So when Gayil, the most popular girl in Shaindy’s class suddenly pays attention to her, Shaindy is predictably flattered. What she doesn’t realize - at first - is that Gayil’s attention is not because she suddenly likes Shaindy. Rather, it’s because she needs an accomplice… and maybe someone to blame. As Shaindy helps Gayil play pranks on their fellow Bais Yaacov classmates, Shaindy begins to awaken to the fact that these “harmless” pranks are not so harmless after all… and that she deserves true friendship. With Yom Kippur approaching, she also reckons with her own complicity.
Author Mari Lowe takes readers into the fairly sequestered world of the strictly Orthodox, and specifically the Bais Yaacov movement of girls’ schools. Although the rituals and holidays and even the names of the girls portrayed in Shaindy will be unfamiliar to many readers, the struggle to be seen, to be recognized, and to have friends, will not be. The Dubious Pranks of Shaindy Goodman is an authentic portrayal of Jewish American life and, as such, is a contender for the Sydney Taylor Book Award.

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Reviewer Rachel J. Fremmer is a lawyer-turned-elementary-school librarian. She is a native New Yorker and lives there with her husband and two daughters, ages 18 and 15, who are rapidly outgrowing her area of book expertise. She is continually inspired by the city even though apartment living means she is running out of room for her picture book collection. She was selected by PJ Library for their inaugural Picture Book Summer Camp for Emerging Writers. When she is not reading or writing, she is baking or doing crossword puzzles.


  1. I would love to read this book based on your review. Well done!

  2. Sounds like an interesting book for my daughter. Thanks!


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