The Way to Becoming Yaelle
Publisher: Dassie Dahan
It's not easy to be a thoughtful misfit....
She's only in seventh grade, but Jan Miller already knows that the world is a pretty tough place for a thoughtful misfit.
At school, the kids either bully her or ignore her—until Anna the odd new girl shows up and turns things upside-down.
But home isn't much better.
Jan and her popular younger brother Brian just can't see eye to eye, with Brian often pretending he doesn't even know her.
And their father is always backing out of his scheduled weekends with them in favor of Athena, his wacky girlfriend.
Then Jan starts feeling like she's getting in the way of her beautiful mother's search for a new husband.
And to top it all off, Jan's nearly forgotten Jewish identity suddenly starts popping up everywhere. The problem is that everyone, even those who don't like Jews much, seem to know all about Judaism.
One day, Jan discovers that she shares a secret Hebrew name with a Biblical heroine Jan has never heard of —Yaelle.
Determined to give Jan more stability and better Jewish self-esteem, Jan's mother makes her spend the summer with her mother's old college roommate Tova Rose, who is now the mother of a large Hassidic family in a picturesque ancient city in northern Israel. There, Jan befriends an artistic and passionate Hassidic girl who initiates Jan into the realities of Hassidic life.
Yet just when Jan starts to realize how to become what she has always yearned to be, brutal terrorists seize a much-loved teenage Jewish soldier, thrusting Jan back even further from where she started.
Can Jan find the courage and the answers she needs to truly become Yaelle?
(This book makes a great bat mitzvah present!)