September 11, 2019

Review: It's a Whole Spiel

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It's a Whole Spiel by various authors, edited by Katherine Locke and Laura Silverman
Grade: B-
Release day: September 17, 2019
An e-galley was provided by Random House via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: A Jewish boy falls in love with a fellow counselor at summer camp. A group of Jewish friends take the trip of a lifetime. A girl meets her new boyfriend's family over Shabbat dinner. Two best friends put their friendship to the test over the course of a Friday night. A Jewish girl feels pressure to date the only Jewish boy in her grade. Hilarious pranks and disaster ensue at a crush's Hanukkah party. 

From stories of confronting their relationships with Judaism to rom-coms with a side of bagels and lox, It's a Whole Spielfeatures one story after another that says yes, we are Jewish, but we are also queer, and disabled, and creative, and political, and adventurous, and anything we want to be. You will fall in love with this insightful, funny, and romantic Jewish anthology from a collection of diverse Jewish authors.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Usually when I do an anthology review, I cover each story. This time, though I'm just going to talk about my very favorites. That's not to say ALL the others are awful, but I really wanted to focus on the positive in this review.

"Two Truths and an Oy" by Dahlia Adler - 5 stars
I loved it. It was about awkward teens trying to navigate college experiences, and that is so relatable, no matter if you're Jewish or Gentile.

"Aftershocks" by Rachel Lynn Solomon - 5 stars
I died from the cuteness. The main characters were awkward and sweet, and I appreciated them exploring the differences in their faith, and also, I am here for teen nerds.

"Jewbaca" by Lance Rubin - 4 stars
I loved that it was about Hanukkah (yay for cute holiday stories), and that Matthew wasn't such a villain after all. This story explored the themes I expected from the anthology.

"Some Days You're the Sidekick; Some Days You're the Superhero" by Katherine Locke - 4 stars
This one was cute and shippy and cool. I loved the You've Got Mail-esque element.

"He Who Revives the Dead" by Elie Lichtschein - 3.5 stars
The themes of this were good for an anthology, and it was a good length. Good detail too. I just didn't connect with it very much, but I'm sure other readers will.

"Be Brave and All" by Laura Silverman - 5 stars
Most of those stars for the anxiety-ridden protagonist, her adorable awkwardness, her strong beliefs, and a cute love interest.

"Neilah" by Hannah Moskowitz - 3.5 stars
I liked that the author used faith and religion to wrestle with an eating disorder.

Content warnings: foul language, some sexual content, anti-Semitism, underage drinking

The Verdict: A fairly good anthology with a good unifying theme.

Will I be adding this book to my library?: Maybe.

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