Honey and Me

Scholastic. Oct. 2022. 304p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781338155433.
Gr 4-6–A poignant coming-of-age middle grade novel that follows Honey and Milla, two best friends navigating social circles, mother-daughter relationships, religious identity, and the complexities of sixth grade bat mitzvah season. When Milla finds out her best friend will be transferring to her school, she is so excited. Honey has a vibrant personality; Milla adores her but often feels in her shadow. Honey is also part of a large family, unlike Milla’s, and she often helps out Honey’s mother rather than her own. Chapters take place chronologically through the school year and coincide with the variety of Jewish holidays. As expected for a slice-of-life novel, a lot of the plot revolves around the everyday life of the girls and their family, including sneaking off from Shabbat services to find snacks around the synagogue, preparing for a writing concert, dress shopping, and dealing with the loss of someone close to them. While the tweens are a part of a close-knit, modern Orthodox community, the novel showcases the diversity in traditions, expectations, and schools within that community. End notes include a glossary of Hebrew and Yiddish words, Jewish holidays, and an author’s note reflecting on the importance of representation in fiction.
VERDICT An effortless story that is both widely relatable and culturally specific. This excellent title featuring main characters not often represented in contemporary realistic fiction is highly recommended.

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