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|Path of names|
Author: Goelman, Ari
Thirteen-year-old Dahlia's reluctance about attending Camp Arava changes to wonder as strange things begin to happen, and soon she is connecting with David Schank, a student of the kabbala, and the maze he built at the camp in the 1930s.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.50
Points: 12.0 Quiz: 157841
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 4.20
Points: 20.0 Quiz: 59321
Kirkus Reviews (04/01/13)
School Library Journal (08/01/13)
Booklist (+) (05/15/13)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (A) (06/13)
Full Text Reviews:
Bulletin for the Center... - 06/01/2013 Magic camp is where thirteen-year-old Dahlia, a would-be Houdini, wanted to be this summer, but instead her parents have sent her to Camp Arava, the Jewish camp where her brother Tom is a counselor. When Dahlia first sees two young girls disappear through the cabin wall, she’s convinced it’s a great magic trick, but soon she realizes that they’re actually ghosts. She also starts having weird dreams, wherein she’s a gifted yeshiva student in the 1940s who’s in possession of one of the secret names of God and on the run from the Illuminati, who seek the power the name would bring them. These strange phenomena begin to converge around a mysterious garden maze on the campgrounds, a maze that is rumored to be connected to the disappearance of children and that is ferociously guarded by the skulking camp caretaker. That’s an unusual plot, and the Jewish mysticism aspect, complete with inclusion of the golem legend, is intriguing and atmospheric, adding a new layer to the classic camp ghost stories. Unfortunately, the realistic camp story, with its several subplots, could be a book in its own right and draws focus from the more interesting supernatural tale, while the actual plot elements of the latter become convoluted and incomprehensible. Additionally, characterization is flat and stock, with only Chelsea, Dahlia’s queen-bee cabinmate who gets mixed up in Dahlia’s ghost quest while finding it all a bore, possessed of any spark. Still, the spooky aspects and backstory might be enough to draw readers into a plot that could be described as Dan Brown goes to camp. DS - Copyright 2013 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
Booklist - 05/15/2013 *Starred Review* Spunky, sarcastic Dahlia begins summer camp by watching two girls disappear through the wall of her cabin. Then she starts dreaming about David Schank, a 1940s Yeshiva student on the lam after discovering the very powerful seventy-second name of God. Meanwhile, Barry, the ancient groundskeeper, intently guards the hedge maze on camp property. At first, Dahlia denies any mystical goings-on, instead believing that her dreams are a fluke and the ghostly girls are just another magic trick. That is, until she starts reading an old book on kabbalah that ties it all together. Kabbalah? Oh yes, and it works. Jewish mysticism is heavy stuff, but Goelman (perhaps purposefully) speeds through a vague explanation—from an inept counselor more interested in groovy spiritualism than mystical enlightenment—and lets the magical elements of the tradition do the heavy lifting. Dahlia channels David’s knowledge of the seventy-second name and the magical power of words to enter the maze, which contains a secret passage to a higher dimension. With the help of her friends, she uses her mystical powers to confront the Illuminated One, who selfishly seeks the name for himself. Debut author Goelman’s story is full of exciting plot twists and well-rounded, engaging characters—all amped up by thrilling, esoteric magic. - Copyright 2013 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 08/01/2013 Gr 5–7—When 13-year-old Dahlia, a sleight of hand expert, agrees to go to a Jewish summer camp, she worries that she won't fit in or make friends. And almost immediately, things get strange. Before she even enters her cabin, two girls appear in a shimmer of light and then walk calmly through the cabin wall. As the days go on, Dahlia is drawn deeper into the mystery of who they are, why the camp caretaker seems to dislike her, and why he insists that none of the campers goes near the maze in the ground. This unique, engaging fantasy takes readers on a spooky, exciting journey between Dahlia's world and the mysterious world of David Schank, a man from the 1940s who begins to inhabit her psyche as the power of the mystical Kabbalah forces its way into the world. Dahlia finds herself able to speak fluent Hebrew and "knowing" things she couldn't know. As children go missing, the threats multiply and coalesce in a thrilling conclusion. Readers without any knowledge of Gematria (the assigning of numbers with mystical significance to words), the Kabbalah, or the myth of the golem may find some details challenging. However, the action and excitement should carry them through. Debut novelist Goelman skillfully navigates the intricacies of the fantasy world in two eras and the contemporary dramas of the camp, complete with mean girls, friendship issues, and a popular older brother who is a counselor. The dialogue of the present-day characters has a wonderfully sure touch, and the figures from the 1940s, particularly the ominous caretaker, come powerfully to life.—Sue Giffard, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, New York City - Copyright 2013 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.