In the Neighborhood of True
From Algonquin Books for Young Readers
A powerful story of love, loyalty, fitting in—and speaking out.
After her father’s death, Ruth Robb and her family transplant themselves in the summer of 1958 from New York City to Atlanta—the land of debutantes, sweet tea, and the Ku Klux Klan. In her new hometown, Ruth quickly figures out she can be Jewish or she can be popular, but she can’t be both. Eager to fit in with the blond girls in the “pastel posse,” Ruth decides to hide her religion. Before she knows it, she is falling for the handsome and charming Davis and sipping Cokes with him and his friends at the all-white, all-Christian Club.
Does it matter that Ruth’s mother makes her attend services at the local synagogue every week? Not as long as nobody outside her family knows the truth. At temple Ruth meets Max, who is serious and intense about the fight for social justice, and now she is caught between two worlds, two religions, and two boys. But when a violent hate crime brings the different parts of Ruth’s life into sharp conflict, she will have to choose between all she’s come to love about her new life and standing up for what she believes.
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“Carlton captures… the time and place with admirable nuance. The dialogue and setting are meticulously constructed, and readers will feel the humidity and tension rising with each chapter.”
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Carlton does an excellent job of mixing the personal with the historical here… Ruth crisply relays her conflicted feelings, the tense situations, and characters who are well shaded and occasionally surprising.”
“Carlton writes with equal parts bemusement and respect for the pre-deb cohort, who are well aware of the difference between looking good and being good.”
—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Inspired by the 1958 bombing of an Atlanta synagogue, this novel uses its immersive historical setting to convey truths about hatred that remain relevant today…Timely YA historical fiction that belongs on all shelves.”
—School Library Journal
“This YA historical novel about discrimination and social justice is painfully relevant today.”