Lauren Yanofsky doesn't want to be Jewish anymore. Her father, a noted Holocaust historian, keeps giving her Holocaust memoirs to read, and her mother doesn't understand why Lauren hates the idea of Jewish youth camps and family vacations to Holocaust memorials. But when Lauren sees some of her friends, including Jesse, a cute boy she likes, playing Nazi war games, she is faced with a terrible choice: betray her friends or betray her heritage. Told with engaging humor, Lauren Yanofsky Hates the Holocaust isn't simply about making tough moral choices. It's about a smart, funny, passionate girl caught up in the turmoil of bad-hair days, family friction, changing friendships, love, and, yes, the Holocaust.
Lauren Yanofsky, an intelligent and inquisitive high school junior, decided three years ago to renounce her Jewish faith, deeply disappointing her parents. She grew up going to a cliquey Hebrew school and having a Holocaust historian for a father, which meant that most family vacations involved visiting sites of Jewish persecution. A combination of learning that several of her ancestors were killed in the Holocaust and diving headlong into researching the subject led Lauren to distance herself from Judaism ( Why would anyone want to belong to a religion that was all about loss, grief and persecution? ). Meanwhile, at the public school Lauren insisted on attending, her friends are growing apart, and her crush, Jesse, shows an unexpected interest in her. When Lauren catches Jesse with a group of drunken boys pretending to be Nazis, however, she reconsiders her relationship with the religion she s turned away from. Lieberman (The Book of Trees) smoothly weaves humor and knowledge about Judaism through Lauren s story. Lauren s narration is contemplative and from the heart, and readers should relate to her attempts to identify her beliefs and tackle life s big questions. Ages 12 up.