Engrossing Stories of Jewish Experience

By Skokie Staff Advisory Services

From fantasy to literary fiction to romance, explore a wide range of stories of the Jewish experience in fiction for adults and teens.

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  • Weather Girl

    2022 by Solomon, Rachel Lynn

    I love how Solomon writes about relatable characters with real problems without ever sacrificing fun, sweet romances. Ari's discussion of her mental health and Russell's atypical family dynamic are sensitively and candidly explored. Recommended by Rummanah.

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  • Little & Lion

    2017 by Colbert, Brandy

    Colbert delves into various forms of identity: race, religion, and sexuality, while focusing on the relationship and bond between siblings. I also appreciated this book's frank discussion of mental health and its affect on the family. Recommended by Rummanah.

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  • At the End of the World, Turn Left

    2021 by Slor, Zhanna

    Masha returns to Milwaukee from Israel at the insistence of her father to help search for her sister, Anna, who has gone missing. Told in two points of view: Masha's present day (2008) search for her sister and from Anna's life leading up to her disappearance. A mystery layered within a story about family relationships. Recommended by Becca.

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  • Last Summer at the Golden Hotel

    2021 by Friedland, Elyssa

    Two families come together to determine if it is worth saving the crumbling mountain oasis they've owned since the 1960s. As Kirkus wrote, "The vanished history of the Catskills is evoked with love and plenty of schmaltz. A high-spirited party of a book. BYOB: Bring your own borscht." A delightful novel for fans of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel that is perfect for your next summer read. Recommended by Becca.

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  • All My Mother's Lovers

    2020 by Masad, Ilana

    Maggie's mother, Iris, died suddenly and she finds five letters to people she's never heard of before tucked in with her will. Instead of mailing the letters as Iris requested, Maggie decides to embark on a road trip to deliver the letters (instead of sitting shivah). She wants to find out who these men are and what they meant to her mother. Told from both the mother's and daughter's perspectives, this is an interesting novel about discovering a parent as a multifaceted human being. Recommended by Becca.

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  • Sadie on a Plate

    2022 by Elliot, Amanda

    A very sweet story with delicious descriptions of food set against a Top Chef-like competition show. I adored Sadie and liked her self-deprecating humor. It was fun watching her use her Jewish recipes to create her dishes. I absolutely loved the diversity of the cast of characters, which felt natural and also spoke to the lack of inclusion in the culinary arts. Recommended by Rummanah.

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  • The Netanyahus: An Account of a Minor and Ultimately Even Negligible Episode in the History of a Very Famous Family

    2021 by Cohen, Joshua

    This is Cohen at his most (Philip) Roth, which is to say that this is an exceedingly Jewish American work in the tradition of the campus novel subgenre. The observational details as well as characters (caricatures?) are meticulously constructed. Insights land like a pallet of matzo boxes dropped on the house of cards that is your life. If you're not drawn in by the end of the first page, there's little hope. Recommended by Adam.

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  • The Last Rose of Shanghai

    2021 by Randel, Weina Dai

    A tragic love story full of hope and longing. Unforeseen circumstances, the clashing of cultures, and the heaviness of war kept me guessing what would happen next and be the ultimate fate of the lovers. Recommended by Michelle.

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  • It's a Whole Spiel: Love, Latkes, and Other Jewish Stories


    Diverse, character-driven, and contemporary, this young adult collection of stories combines sincerity and authenticity. There's something for everyone in this book--from cute romance to self-discovery--with each Jewish writer bringing something wonderfully different. Recommended by Paul.

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  • The Golem and the Jinni

    2013 by Wecker, Helene

    A spellbinding historical fantasy that incorporates Jewish and Arab folklore set in the late 19th-century New York. This mystical and lyrical story continues with The Hidden Palace. Both books received the National Jewish Book Awards in Fiction in 2013 and 2021, respectively. Recommended by Rummanah.

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  • Kate in Waiting

    2021 by Albertalli, Becky

    My favorite book from 2021. Albertalli does a fantastic job in creating lovable characters. This one focuses on messy yet realistic friendships and a sweet romance. If you need a quick read that will warm your heart and put a smile on your face, read this book. Recommended by Rummanah.

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  • Today Tonight Tomorrow

    2020 by Solomon, Rachel Lynn

    A must-read for fans of the enemies to lovers romance trope and books that take place over the span of one day. The banter between Neil and Rowan is funny and the story reveals sweet surprises that can occur when you reexamine your assumptions. Recommended by Rummanah.

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  • Recommended for You

    2021 by Silverman, Laura

    This delightful rom-com centers on two Jewish teens who work at an independent bookstore and become competitors for a sales bonus during the winter holiday rush. The bookseller/reader connection is fun to explore, plus the diverse supporting characters and their plotlines are nicely incorporated into the story. Recommended by Sharon.

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  • An Unorthodox Match

    2019 by Ragen, Naomi

    Though a heartwarming love story sits at the core of this book, themes of community and individuality lead to an enjoyable, yet thought-provoking read. The characterization is strong and the book offers plenty of insightful details about Jewish Orthodox life. Recommended by Paul.

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  • On Division

    2019 by Goldbloom, Goldie

    Goldie Goldbloom demonstrates the ability to explore complicated questions with both wit and sensitivity in this work of literary fiction. Publishers Weekly says "Goldbloom’s portrait of a woman on the verge of claiming her own agency even after she thought all her life’s questions had been answered makes for fascinating, stirring reading". Recommended by Paul.

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  • The City Beautiful

    2021 by Polydoros, Aden

    Chicago, 1893: The dybbuk destroying Alter Rosen from within may be the only way to stop a killer of Jewish boys. In desperation, he confides in his best friend Raizel and the dangerous, alluring Frankie Portnoy. The lore of Eastern European Judaism--and the nightmares that followed immigrants to America--suffuse this 2022 Sidney Taylor Book Award winner. Recommended by Andrew.

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  • They'll Never Catch Us

    2021 by Goodman, Jessica

    If you’re in the mood for a twisty layered young adult thriller with a sports theme and strong female characters, this is for you. The story follows Jewish sisters Stella and Ellie Steckler, both hoping to earn cross country scholarships to attend college. But, when the new girl on the team disappears and they are suspected of being involved, many secrets come to the surface--all of which kept me on point to the very end. Recommended by Sharon.

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  • The Dinner Party

    2016 by Janowitz, Brenda

    The Gold family celebrates the Passover Seder together every year. Matriarch Sylvia wants this Seder to be extra special because youngest daughter Becca is bringing her boyfriend and her boyfriend's parents, who are part of the legendary Rothschild family. Sylvia goes overboard in her preparations--she even hires a famous chef to cook the dinner. During the dinner, secrets are exposed and resentments aired. Those familiar with Passover rites and traditions and those who are not will enjoy this uplifting family drama. Recommended by Lynnanne.

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  • From Dust, a Flame

    2022 by Podos, Rebecca

    Hannah Kowalski wakes up to snake eyes on her seventeenth birthday. Her mom disappears and promises to tell her everything, but that was six weeks ago and Hannah has no idea what is in store for her as other parts of her body begin to change. With the help of her loving brother Gabe and new friend Ari, they embark on a journey to find answers and Hannah's mom. This is a suspenseful standalone fantasy steeped in Jewish facts and folklore that will have readers turning the page. Recommended by Rummanah.

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  • Sick Kids in Love

    2019 by Moskowitz, Hannah

    The title may be off-putting, but don't let that stop you from picking up the book--nobody dies. Two chronically ill teens (one has rheumatoid arthritis and the other suffers from Gaucher disease) meet in a cute way at the hospital, and eventually explore a romantic relationship. They have a lot in common, including being Jewish, and also much to negotiate, which the author handles with sensitivity and insight. Recommended by Sharon.

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