An anthology coming from two of my favorite authors? Yes. Please! Not to mention the contributor list is off the scales with authors I love in It’s a Whole Spiel and all centered around different stories revolving around people’s Jewish identity.
A Jewish boy falls in love with a fellow counselor at summer camp. A group of Jewish friends take the trip of a lifetime. A girl meets her new boyfriend’s family over Shabbat dinner. Two best friends put their friendship to the test over the course of a Friday night. A Jewish girl feels pressure to date the only Jewish boy in her grade. Hilarious pranks and disaster ensue at a crush’s Hanukkah party.
From stories of confronting their relationships with Judaism to rom-coms with a side of bagels and lox, It’s a Whole Spiel features one story after another that says yes, we are Jewish, but we are also queer, and disabled, and creative, and political, and adventurous, and anything we want to be. You will fall in love with this insightful, funny, and romantic Jewish anthology from a collection of diverse Jewish authors.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
The wonderful thing about good anthologies, like It’s a Whole Spiel is the capacity to see your favorite authors in a new light. And to discover new favorites! It’s a Whole Spiel presents stories where teens are figuring out our identity and what it means to us. While it is, by no means, a one and done process, these teens face challenges of feeling Jewish enough. Struggling with their individual stories, challenges, and families, these stories ring through with a clear authenticity.
Whether it be a setting I’m not used to from Alex London (no birds lurking in the distance to rip our throats out), or discovering Lance Rubin’s humor, It’s a Whole Spiel has a whole lot to offer. Stories that speak to the tension of religion and faith, what it means to us. What it means to be Jewish and to connect with others who share that connection. The impact it can make to see someone who breaks the stereotypes celebrate their Jewishness. Or the grey area in between where we feel like we aren’t Jewish enough. Wondering whether our relationship to our faith is less valid than others.
It’s a Whole Spiel is a winner. With stories that exceed expectations, it will charm you with its genuine vulnerabilities, fears and doubts, bravery and love.