Posts Tagged arab-israeli conflict

Checkpoints by Marilyn Levy

I feel very mixed about Checkpoints by Marilyn Levy, a new middle-grade/ YA book that takes place in the midst of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Marilyn Levy

Marilyn Levy

I started out really wanting to like it. I’m always looking for good books that take place in Israel for teens. As someone who feels transported to another time and place when I read a good book, I feel like for some people, it’s the closest thing they are going to have to actually living or even visiting Israel. And then I started reading the book and I become really frustrated by how poorly edited it feels. Reading it is like reading a really good first draft when everything is just laid out there and it’s a great story but it doesn’t stick together well. So then I wanted to dislike it. But even then, I couldn’t do it. It’s not a perfect book, by any stretch, but it actually happens to be a really good story, if you can get passed the messiness and the short choppy chapters. It’s actually remarkably stirring and riveting, two things I look for in a good teen book.

So, what’s this great messy story about? Noa is a 17 year old teen living in Jerusalem who feels very sure about her political peacenik beliefs. She’s proud of her brother when he refuses to serve in the settlements and doesn’t understand her best friend’s anger at the pride she feels. She even befriends a Palestinian girl who lives in Abu Dis, an Arab neighborhood. And she has the usual crushes on boys, etc.

But all this changes when she and her family are the victims of a terrorist bombing in a hotel in Netanya. Suddenly all her assumptions about peace and the Arab-Israeli conflict are shaken up. It’s in this period, where she is no longer sure who she is and what she believes in, that we see a real picture of what it’s like to live in the reality of today’s Israel and we see the real brilliance of the novel.

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