Title: The Blood Lie
Author: Shirley Reva Vernick
Publisher: Cinco Puntos Press
Pages: Hardcover; 141
Release Date: October 4, 2011
Source: The Teen Book Scene
Intended Reading Group: Young Adult
Content Screening: Mild Violence
HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who enjoy very realistic historical fiction novels.
Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
September 22, 1928, Massena, New York. Jack Pool's sixteenth birthday. He's been restless lately, especially during this season of more-times-at-the-synagogue than you can shake a stick at. If it wasn't Rosh Hashanah, then it was Yom Kippur, and if it wasn't Yom Kippur, it was the Sabbath. But temple's good for some things. It gives him lots of time to daydream about a beautiful but inaccessible Gentile girl named Emaline. And if she isn't on his mind, then he's thinking about his music and imagining himself playing the cello with the New York Philharmonic. Yup, music is definitely his ticket out of this remote whistle-stop town—he doesn't want to be stuck here one more minute. But he doesn't realize exactly how stuck he is until Emaline's little sister Daisy goes missing and he and his family are accused of killing her for a blood sacrifice.
Blood Lie was inspired by a real blood libel that took place when a small girl disappeared from Massena, New York, in 1928, and an innocent Jewish boy was called a murderer.
The synopsis above essentially says it all. The Blood Lie is a rather short, extremely realistic, look at one Jewish boy's first look into what is now commonly termed "Religisim". When Daisy goes missing the townspeople look for someone to blame, and Jack becomes their target. Jack is shown that his religion can trigger people to hate him and it changes his whole perception of life.
What I did enjoy about Shirley Reva Vernick's take on these actual events is how innocent she shows Jack to really be. From the beginning of the story, his whole thought process is basically focused on Emaline and his music. Jack has big dreams. He hopes to remove himself from his tiny town. His thoughts are pure, and rather adorable at times. Then, when everything takes a turn for the worse, you can easily see how much it affects his psyche. Poor Jack. Just an innocent boy who is thrown into the middle of a blood libel.
Everything else about The Blood Lie was pretty cut and dry though. It read less like Historical Fiction to me, and more like Non-Fiction. I know that Vernick obviously had to make Jack's character a lot more vivid than the original story would have. Still, there is very little to the story that is overly dramatic or exciting. It moves at a nice pace, slowly inching along to the end. When I got there I was a little underwhelmed. I'm glad I read this. It provided me with new knowledge. However I didn't feel anything besides that about this book.
Truth be told this probably just wasn't a book geared for a reader like me. There is nothing wrong with the writing in The Blood Lie, or with the characters, or even with the pacing. It's just that the story is so realistic that it lost the wow factor that my fantasy based brain clings to. Therefore I still highly recommend this to others! If you like a realistic story line, if you are a fan of historically based books, this is one for you.
FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.