Ripped Away

Fitzroy. Feb. 2022. 132p. pap. $15.95. ISBN 9781646032037.
Gr 6-9–Abe Pearlman is just an ordinary kid. He doesn’t play sports or have many friends, and he likes to walk the school track in the morning thinking of stories. He has a crush on Mitzy Singer, the blue-haired girl he has liked since fourth grade. But Abe isn’t daring enough to talk to her. Then one day, things start to change for Abe. On September 22nd—Elephant Appreciation Day—Abe meets a strange fortune teller who tells him he must save a life, and soon he is transported to the slums of Whitechapel in London’s East End during the time of Jack the Ripper. After a short time there, he realizes that Mitzy has been transported back in time as well, only she must travel on a ship to complete her fortune. Can Abe and Mitzy solve the mysteries of the fortune teller’s curse, or will they be stuck in the 1880s forever? Vernick’s focus on anti-Semitism and Jewish culture during this time in London is a fresh take on the narrative of Jack the Ripper.
VERDICT This quick page-turner will captivate young readers. Vernick mixes fantasy, a bit of mystery, and historical fiction to bring middle school readers a story of Jewish life in London’s East End in the late 1800s.

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