Showing posts with the label Sylvie Shaffer

Review: Phoebe's Diary

Phoebe's Diary by Phoebe Wahl Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2023 Category: Young Adult Reviewer: Sylvie Shaffer Buy at Drawn (literally, on many pages) from her actual teen diaries, Phoebe’s Diary depicts in illustrated journal-entries — equal parts cottagecore-cozy and cringe-inducingly honest — a year or so in the life of white, Jewish, teenage Phoebe in 2006 Bellingham, Washington. Phoebe navigates school (she’s mostly homeschooled and only takes electives at the local high school), crushes, and friendships with her tight-knit crew of drama-kid friends, and falls into horny, teenage love. Eventually, after some character-establishing family vacationing and unrequited crushes, much of the book is devoted to documenting her first relationship with fellow drama-kid (and fellow Jew!), hunky Sam Goldman. In addition to exploring her budding sexuality and her identity as both an artist and a patron of the arts, the journal chronicles teen Phoebe’s vulnerable and

Review: The New Queer Conscience

THe New Queer Conscience by Adam Eli, illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky Category: Young Adult Reviewer: Sylvie Shaffer Adam Eli packs an incredible number of powerful ideas and questions into a pocket-sized package. His central argument, that all Queer folks ( and their allies) are responsible for all LGBTQIAA+ folks, is a reframing of the Talmudic idea that all Jews are commanded to have each others’ backs: “Kol yisrael arevim zeh baZeh” (all of the people of Israel are responsible for each other.) His language is clear, compelling, and accessible, with a tone that lands halfway between “chat over a latte” and “high school debate club” - but in the best possible way. Eli shares personal reflections on his own identify formation, privilege, and activism as a white, queer Jew speaks to teen readers however they self-identify. The book is a strong contender for the Sydney Taylor Book Award. It would also be an unconventional selection: the winning books in the Teen or Older Rea

Review: Get a Grip, Vivy Cohen!

Get a Grip, Vivy Cohen! by Sarah Kapit Category: Middle Grade Reviewer: Sylvie Shaffer Eleven-year-old Vivy learned to pitch a knuckleball from pitcher VJ Cappello at an event for kids like her, who have autism. At the time, VJ was still in the Minor League, and Vivy was still honing her communication and social skills. Vivy and VJ have both come a long way since then- him playing in the Majors, and Vivy working hard on both her knuckleball and her own self-agency. She writes to her hero VJ as a social-skills-class assignment, not expecting him to write back, but not only does he (eventually), Vivy gets scouted for a local team while practicing her pitching with her big brother, Nate. Vivy expects that the biggest hurdle will be getting her (slightly stereotypical Jewish) mother’s approval to play, but of course that’s only the first of many challenges being the only girl, and the only autistic kid, on the team. The book’s epistolary format lends itself to dire