The Path of Names

Featured
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
1659 0
The Path of Names
Author(s)
Age Range
10+
Release Date
April 30, 2013
ISBN
9780545474306
Buy This Book
      

Mysteries, mazes, and magic combine in this smart, funny summer-camp fantasy -- like THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF KAVALIER & CLAY for kids!

Dahlia Sherman loves magic, and Math Club, and Guitar Hero. She isn't so fond of nature walks, and Hebrew campfire songs, and mean girls her own age.

All of which makes a week at Jewish summer camp pretty much the worst idea ever.

But within minutes of arriving at camp, Dahlia realizes that it might not be as bad as she'd feared. First she sees two little girls walk right through the walls of her cabin. Then come the dreams -- frighteningly detailed visions of a young man being pursued through 1930s New York City. How are the dreams and the girls related? Why is Dahlia the only one who can see any of them? And what's up with the overgrown, strangely shaped hedge maze that none of the campers are allowed to touch? Dahlia's increasingly dangerous quest for answers will lead her right to the center of the maze -- but it will take all her courage, smarts, and sleight-of-hand skills to get her back out again.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

Diversity and Ghosts!
(Updated: August 03, 2013)
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
What I Liked:
There's this old song called "Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah" about a young boy whose parents force him to go to camp. It's a funny, silly song, written like a letter to his parents. At first, he hates camp and is begging them to come and get him, but, by the end, he loves it. On the simplest level, this is the plot of Ari Goelman's The Path of Names.

Dahlia differs from the usual middle grade heroine. She's grumpy and antisocial, preferring math and practicing magic tricks to spending time with people. When her parents force her to go to a Jewish camp, she's ticked. She doesn't have any interest in Judaism and would prefer to be at math camp. Her parents promise to let her leave after a week if she completely hates it and she plans to, but instead she gets caught up and the weeks pass almost without her realizing. All it takes to make a girl love summer camp and befriend people is a couple of ghosts, possession, and a mystery, no big deal.

Immediately upon Dahlia's arrival in camp, she sees two girls run through a wall. Because of her love of magic, she suspects there's another aspiring magician in camp, but her search proves fruitless. When she realizes she's been seeing ghosts, though, Dahlia's hooked. She begins researching these two girls, only to discover that they disappeared 72 years before. They're also trying to warn her about something.

Oh, also, Dahlia's been possessed by a dead man's spirit and she's dreaming his memories. The Path of Names deals heavily with Jewish mysticism and themes. I really appreciated reading a novel set in a tradition outside of the Christian. Also, though religion is obviously a huge plot element, the book did not feel preachy in the slightest. Goelman gets into kabbalah a bit, and it's all pretty fascinating.

The Path of Names is told in third person, rotating through third person limited perspectives. Though most often focused on thirteen-year-old Dahlia, the perspective also goes to her older brother (16), a camp counselor, and David Schank (19), the young man possessing Dahlia. I feel like I say this a lot in my middle grade reviews, but this is really a story that works for all ages. Goelman's writing and plotting are sophisticated, and not written down to a younger audience.

What I Liked (But Might Leave Others Wanting More)
In fact, I'm not a hundred percent sure how much the average kid would enjoy The Path of Names, with the discussions of math and Hebrew. I thought it was very well done and enjoyable myself, but the pace was a bit on the slower side. I imagine it's a better book for kids on the older side of the middle grade spectrum, as the reading level is fairly high.

The Final Verdict:
If you've been looking for a middle grade novel set in a different culture or a cool ghost story, The Path of Names is an excellent choice. Goelmans writes well, and I'd certainly be willing to read more of his books in the future.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Naked Mole Rat Saves the World
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Can Kit’s super-weird superpower save her world? ...
The Brokenhearted
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
teenage girl is transformed into a reluctant superhero and...
Brave Enough
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Teenager Cason Martin is the youngest ballerina in the Atlanta...
I Wanna Be Where You Are
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
When Chloe Pierce’s mom forbids her to apply for a...
The Moment We Fell (Mystic Shores Series, Book #1)
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Nothing good happens when people keep secrets. ...
The Hit List
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Los Angeles Conservatory for the Arts is supposed to...
Amelia Fang and the Barbaric Ball (Amelia Fang, #1)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
A hilarious illustrated middle grade series for reluctant readers starring...
Amelia Fang and the Unicorns of Glitteropolis (Amelia Fang, #2)
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
The second book in a hilarious heavily illustrated middle-grade series...
Small World
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
When Nanda is born, the whole of her world is...
On the First Day of Summer Vacation
 
3.5
 
0.0 (0)
When school is out, it’s time to celebrate and have...
Ada Twist and the Perilous Pants (The Questioneers, #2)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
An instant New York Times bestseller! ...
Bad Bella
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Bella is the very best dog a family could ask...
Dear Justice League
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Hello! Justice League here. Ask us anything! ...
Cracking the Bell
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Friday Night Lights meets Concussion in this powerful and important...
Ghosts of Lock Tower
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
A haunted tower, an evil ghost, a monster spawned from...
Babies Can Sleep Anywhere
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
What better way to encourage a little one to sleep...

Latest Member Reviews

Amelia Fang and the Barbaric Ball (Amelia Fang, #1)
 
4.0
"AMELIA FANG AND THE BARBARIC BALL is the first book in the Amelia Fang series, a fantasy/magical middle grade series..."
Amelia Fang and the Unicorns of Glitteropolis (Amelia Fang, #2)
 
4.5
"AMELIA FANG AND THE UNICORNS OF GLITTEROPOLIS is ultimately about harmful stereotypes, problems with misinformation, and the subversion of overly..."
Small World
 
5.0
"SMALL WORLD is a gorgeous celebration of growing up and following your dreams. When Nanda was born, her world was..."
On the First Day of Summer Vacation
 
3.5
"ON THE FIRST DAY OF SUMMER VACATION uses the tune of The 12 Days of Christmas to present the fun..."
Ada Twist and the Perilous Pants (The Questioneers, #2)
 
5.0
"Budding scientists, rejoice! The Questioneers is the perfect series to show you the how and to have some extra scientific..."
Bad Bella
 
4.0
"Bella lives with the McBrides, who have several small children and often forget Bella's needs. She gets in trouble for..."
Dear Justice League
 
5.0
"In this short, middle grade graphic novel, DC superheroes from the Justice League answer e mails from young fans. Superman..."
Shake It Off! (Wish #8)
 
4.0
"Bria has made some poor choices concerning friends and social media back home in Chicago, so her parents have decided..."
Babies Can Sleep Anywhere
 
4.0
"BABIES CAN SLEEP ANYWHERE is a cute rhyming book about sleep. The book goes through where animals sleep (e.g. puppy..."
The Bad Guys in The Big Bad Wolf (The Bad Guys, #9)
 
4.5
"This episode of THE BAD GUYS has the crew planning for a way to stop the aliens and help the..."
Not if I Can Help It
 
4.0
"Willa has struggled with a sensory processing disorder her whole life, but with supportive parents and some occupational therapy, she..."
Emily Out of Focus
 
4.0
"Emily and her parents go to China to bring home the little girl they are adopting. Emily isn't crazy about..."
A Small Zombie Problem (Zombie Problems, #1)
 
4.0
"A SMALL ZOMBIE PROBLEM is a charming story in the vein of A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS and Tim Burton...."
My Funny Bunny
 
3.0
"MY FUNNY BUNNY is about dealing with disappointments and not judging others too quickly. It's the main character's sixth birthday,..."
Kindness Rules! (A Hello!Lucky Book)
 
4.5
"KINDNESS RULES! is a fun new manners book, perfect for preschoolers. Magic Manners, an elephant who knows her stuff, teaches..."
Teeny Tiny Ghost
 
5.0
"Be prepared to fall in love with the tenacious TEENY TINY GHOST in this sweet book, perfect for Halloween. The..."
Solving for M
 
5.0
"SOLVING FOR M is a beautiful and enthralling middle grade novel about finding your way in a new school and..."
A Pumpkin for Peter: A Peter Rabbit Tale
 
5.0
"A PUMPKIN FOR PETER tells the story of when Peter Rabbit went with his mother and sisters to go pick..."
A Parade of Elephants
 
4.5
"Five elephants march along the pages of Kevin Henkes's picture book, A PARADE OF ELEPHANTS. As they make their way..."
My Fate According To The Butterfly
 
5.0
"My Fate According to the Butterfly is probably the first Middle Grade novel I’ve read in a very long time...."