Review Detail

5.0 1
Young Adult Fiction 1825
Hava Na-Read-a
Overall rating
Writing Style
Never Mind the Goldbergs by Matthue Roth is an engrossing novel about a girl named Hava. Hailing from New York, Hava is a high school student that is both an Orthodox Jew and, in her own words, a little punk rock. She also happens to be an actress, though not completely by choice.

Though the first chapter starts on the last day of school, the second chapter gives the reader some background: After being randomly discovered outside of a store, she's cast in an Off-Broadway play. Not thinking much of herself as an actress, she easily returns to her normal routine of friends, family and school after the play ends.

On the last day of the school year, she is called into the principal's office. She thinks she is going to be scolded for acting out earlier that day. Instead, she is shocked by huge news: a new television comedy about a family wants her to play the older sister - and she starts on Monday. Immediately, her summer plans are out the window. She relocates to Los Angeles and has a total culture shock. The West Coast world is very different from her hometown, where everyone knew everyone. Hava discovers that living on her own isn't all that it is cracked up to be, and neither is the entertainment industry.

Never Mind the Goldbergs is far meatier than it first appears. Hava is a fabulous protagonist. Her attempts to find a balance between her religion and her work feel real, with her actions never making her a saint, but never making her into a bad girl either. She tries to make good choices for herself. She never does something just to stand out and get attention, nor does she try to fit in and conform. She simply is who she is. She is a flawed, realistic character, and that's what makes it work. I definitely recommend this book.
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