BLOOD SECRET by Kathryn Lasky


Age Range: 14 & up
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Mysteries of her family and its long history fill the nooks and crannies of a teenager’s mind in Albuquerque. Jerry is silent, as she has been since her mother disappeared, and she is finally delivered to a great-great aunt named Constanza who, although over 90, still bakes and delivers bread. In a family trunk, Jerry finds scraps of ancestors: a bit of lace, a silver medal, a text. While she’s in Constanza’s adobe cellar, she hears the shadows of distant ancestors, first in Spain, then in Mexico, that explain the meaning of each memento. What she learns, in the voices of those forebears, even as she haltingly relearns the use of her own voice, is that she is descended from Spanish Jews who were burned or forcibly converted, and that Constanza still cherishes and practices the lighting of Sabbath candles and other rituals whose meaning she never knew. Lasky tries to weave this into a tale of Catholic, Jewish, Aztec, and Navajo strands, where Jerry learns her full name and all of its meaning. Though it often reads like a lesson in this aspect of Jewish history, rather than a true historical time-travel, there will be readers eager to delve into the secrets of blood and shadows. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-06-000066-X
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2004


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