THE VIOLIN PLAYERS by Eileen Bluestone Sherman


Age Range: 10 - 14
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Her parents' decision to accept a temporary teaching stint at a small Missouri college leaves Melissa Jensen frustrated; it means leaving her New York City friends and school, where she excels in the orchestra and drama classes. She could have stayed with her grandparents, but the thought of living in their Orthodox Jewish home held no appeal for her. All the Jensens are in for a pleasant surprise, however. Chris, a handsome senior at Henryville High, meets them at the airport and delivers them to their beautiful new home, shows them their new Saab, and promises that he and his sister will help Melissa adjust. She settles in more quickly than she dreamed, working on her violin-playing, becoming assistant director for the production of Romeo and Juliet, and coaching multi-talented Daniel, the school's only observant Jew, in the leading role. But Daniel has become the target of cruel anti-Semitism, led by popular football star, hulking Johnny McGraw. Melissa feels a sense of shame for concealing her own Jewish identity, and for not knowing more about her religion. Other students join Melissa in condemning Johnny's behavior, admitting that they, believing that his opinions and pranks were harmless, had been silent too long. Sherman exhibits a heavy hand in outlining all this, but her characters prove more complex than they seem initially, and she keeps the plot moving along at a good clip. Melissa's crush on Chris and her eventual deeper feelings for Daniel make this ideal for romance readers, and its message is one that always bears repeating. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 1998
ISBN: 0-8276-0595-1
Page count: 121pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1998