November 25, 2017

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This Is Just a Test by Madelyn Rosenberg & Wendy Wan-Long Shang | SLJ Review

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redstarROSENBERG, Madelyn & Wendy Wan-Long Shang. This Is Just a Test. 256p. Scholastic. Jun. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781338037722.

Gr 4-8 –It’s 1983, and David’s got worries: his impending bar mitzvah, his constantly competing Chinese and Jewish grandmothers, the cute girl who makes him nervous, and his popular new friend, who dislikes David’s longtime best friend—plus, it’s the height of the Cold War, and nuclear annihilation could hit at any second. David’s lightly anxious tone; the progressively funny handful of short, dialogue-based scenes per chapter; the realistically kooky family members; and the 1980s middle-class suburban setting are so strongly reminiscent of Judy Blume’s “Fudge books that a well-versed reader might accidentally refer to the protagonist as “Peter.” The authors cram in a lot of 1980s references (David Hasselhoff, Betamax). It’s refreshing to meet a male protagonist who, like Tara in Paula Freedman’s My Basmati Bat Mitzvah, is struggling with how to be authentically Jewish in a bicultural family. VERDICT Giggle-inducing, light, and charmingly realistic fiction that will resonate with a wide variety of readers.–Rhona Campbell, Georgetown Day School, Washington, DC

This review was published in the School Library Journal May 2017 issue.

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