Teens Talk by Malka Katzman

Teens Talk by Malka Katzman is a book about the inner-most secrets of friends you wish you’d had when you were in high school.

Teens Talk by Malka KatzmanIt took a while to be able to review this book, because my teens took it and wouldn’t give it back!

That should tell us all we need to know about it.

The true stories of twenty-two teenage girls are presented in a diary-like format. Each chapter is about a different girl and situation. Teens Talk offers an intimate exploration of the complicated issues young people must grapple with.

There’s the  girl who fears she’s got a terrible illness.

One of the girls, Malka, is leaving behind everything she knows to move to a new country.  Anyone who’s ever moved as a child will relate to what she’s going through.

Another is shocked when she learns why she’s lost her best friend.  What teen doesn’t have bumpy patches with friends?

The issues are the kind that can take over a teen’s entire world.  While learning how each kid faced her challenge, readers are bound to identify with much of what they are going through.

Teens Talk is an opportunity for teenage girls to read about people like themselves.  At this delicate developmental stage, it’s vital for them to see they aren’t alone, even when they have problems and fears that they might not have admitted to their best friend.

There aren’t many books specifically for frum teens, so this is an important contribution for a group of readers that could use a lot more attention.

I’d recommend the book to parents as well. It’s an important reminder of what it is like to be a teenager.  Carefree, it’s not.  Reading this may make us all a bit kinder, a bit more patient and understanding toward those sometimes challenging young people.

From Israel Bookshop Publications.

We received a review copy of this book.

Purchase now from Amazon.com

Uncertain Tomorrows by Miriam Sachs

Uncertain Tomorrows by Miriam Sachs is one of those books that reminds us that behind the calm, quiet exterior of normal people we know may hide giants of extraordinary strength and emuna.

Uncertain Tomorrows  by Miriam SachsI’ve known the author for years. I could never have imagined what she and her family have experienced. (Miriam Sachs is a pseudonym.)

This autobiographical tale follows the author as an eleventh grader, with all the emotional upheavals and social concerns that most normal teenagers have. What she also has, as she juggles school, friendships and teen angst, is a younger brother who passed away, and two sisters who are fighting for their lives. While Miriam’s classmates are planning school events, she’s spending days at the hospital, relieving her parents at her siblings’ bedsides.

Three of Miriam’s siblings were affected by Fanconi Anemia (FA). One died when she was very young, two of them passed away when she was in high school. FA is a genetic disease that causes victims to develop cancer and bone marrow failure. Many of them also have congenital abnormalities of the limbs such as missing or extra fingers, endocrine problems, and sometimes learning disabilities.

The narrative is brutally honest, sometimes chronicling Miriam’s adolescence at its most self-absorbed, sometimes depicting her heroic stretching past her limitations to become “the nice person” she wants to be.

The author mentions that she wrote this memoir for her parents. And truly, they exhibit incredible reservoirs of strength and emuna, as they struggle through the suffering and eventual deaths of three children. Even more eye opening is how, in the midst of all this darkness, they also remarkably parent their “normal” teen as well.

You’ll need tissues for this one and one pack just won’t do. This is not an easy read, but it will linger in your thoughts long after you close the last page.

Published by Menucha.

We received a review copy of this book.

Purchase now from Menucha.  SPECIAL $5.49 SALE PRICE!