Category Archives: Teens

Midnight Music by Menucha Chana Levin

Midnight Music is the new teen novel by Menucha Chana Levin.

This is her fifth novel and she’s been published in Hamodia, Chabad.org, Aish.com and other Jewish media outlets.

Midnight Music cover by Menucha Chana LevinMidnight Music first appeared as a serialized story in Binah Bunch Magazine.

From the back cover:

Tehilla Sherman was perfectly happy living in her comfortable old house in a small New Jersey town, attending the school run by her parents. Then, to everyone’s shock, the school has to close down due to lack of funds and her parents need to find new jobs.

At the end of the summer, Tehilla has to adjust to a very different lifestyle in a high-rise apartment in Brighton Beach, New York. There, she meets Galia, a girl originally from Russia, who is just starting to discover her Jewish heritage. Both Tehilla and Galia find themselves being challenged by new experiences. Can their mutual love of music help them to build a true friendship?

Published by Israel Bookshop Publications.

Purchase now from Amazon.com

Menucha Chana Levin is also the author of:

the castle builders by menucha chana levin the youngest bride by menucha chana levin A Family for Frayda by Menucha Chana Levin

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!

A Stranger to My Brothers by Henye Meyer

A well-researched historical coming-of-age novel, A Stranger to My Brothers is a standout book for teens that will appeal just as much to adults.

Stranger to My BrothersAt first glance, author Henye Meyer’s journey through early early Medieval times is a gripping tale of swashbuckling adventure.

The plot has enough drama to keep readers on the edge of their seats, flipping pages late into the night.

But there is far more to this novel.

The details of every day life 11th-century England, a time when paganism still smoldered and Christianity was just taking over, offer a window into a world we rarely get to see.

Martin is an orphaned teen and we get to travel with him through Europe, join the crusades, live through pogroms, walk through Hungary and explore Constantinople in all its Byzantine glory.

Martin’s dream to join the Byzantine emperor’s Varangians guard will introduce readers to groups and events that many history books have left out.

Through myriad little touches – the feel of different grades of woven fabrics, the balance of a well-made sword – Mrs. Meyer brings to life the world our ancestors inhabited.

There is more graphic violence in this book than most frum readers may be used to. Pogroms are violent and Mrs. Meyer doesn’t pretend they are not.

Frightening challenges abound, but the pleasures and human relationships that are not so different from ours today are all there, too.

The latter is where this novel really shines. Its realistic portrayal of an angry teenager is honest and fresh. Martin is an honestly portrayed abused, angry young boy.

He doesn’t have a chip on his shoulder, he’s got a giant boulder. He’s selfish and callous one moment – and then heroically self-sacrificing the next. He’s rude, obnoxious and at times engages in deeply inappropriate behavior.

In other words, he’s a believable peasant teenager who grew up barely knowing he was Jewish. Despite that, Mrs. Meyer manages to make us love him and keep rooting for him, which is in itself really something!

What happens when he meets another Jew is not at all what one expects. The characters around him don’t fit stereotypes – the helping hands most often come from the least likely people. This is no smooth slide into a frum life with an easy happy ever after. Martin’s a tough kid and there are wrenching decisions, disastrous falls and many heartbreaks before he grows into a man and chooses his path.

There are also lots of unexpected flashes of humor and some complex other characters along the way.

Original, exciting, honest and real. Highly recommended for teens over 13 and adults.

A Stranger to My Brothers was previously published as Fall of the Sun God.

Self-published. (See our FAQ on self-published books.)

We received a review copy of this book.

Mrs. Henye Meyer is also the author of:

This Is America

This is America!

(Israel Bookshop Publications)

 

 

crocodile island

The Exiles of Crocodile Island

(ArtScroll Youth)

 

 


adrenaline rush

the humorous thriller, Adrenalin Rush (Menucha Publishers).

 

 

 

Starlight by Henye MeyerStarlight (Menucha Publishers)

 

A Family for Frayda by Menucha Chana Levin

A Family for Frayda is the new teen novel by Menucha Chana Levin.

This is her fourth novel and she’s been published in Hamodia, Chabad.org, Aish.com and other Jewish media outlets.

A Family for Frayda by Menucha Chana LevinFrom the back cover:

Life’s not easy for fifteen-year-old Frayda. Her father suddenly passed away, her mother remarried and moved to New York, and Frayda was left behind in Jerusalem. Now Hadassah, the woman she boards with, is going to England on a business trip and Frayda needs a place to stay while she’s gone. Feeling alone and dejected, nothing seems to be working out for her. Then, one day in the local bookstore, Frayda meets Elisheva who introduces her to the friendly Glazer family and things start turning around. But can it last?

Readers will identify with Frayda throughout her journey of self-discovery and cheer her on through every obstacle. Her warmth and resilience will continue to inspire long after the last page has been turned.

Published by Israel Bookshop Publications.

Purchase now from Amazon.

Menucha Chana Levin is also the author of:

the youngest bride by menucha chana levin the castle builders by menucha chana levin