Monday, January 6, 2014

All About Middle Grade Review: The Path of Names

The Path of Names by Ari B. Goelman, April 30, 2013. 352 pages. Published by Arthur A. Levine Books. Source: publisher.
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. 
First Sentence:
Dahlia stared out the car window and thought of Harry Houdini.
There are so many things I enjoyed about Ari Goelman's The Path of Names, the foremost being that it was so well written. I pretty much knew from the first sentence (see above) that I was going to enjoy reading about Dahlia's adventure at Jewish summer camp.

I know, I am terribly behind in writing my review for The Path of Names. My review got pushed back, and pushed back from tour posts last year.Even though some details have slipped my mind, I do remember that this was such a fun, thrilling read with a climax that I highly enjoyed. Seriously, the maze was one of the coolest parts of the story. But alas, that is skipping ahead and should I go to far into it there would be spoilers to the entire plot.

What I enjoyed most about Ari Goelman's The Path of Names, well, that would have to be the writing and the way he wove in the importance of numbers from the Torah/Bible to the plot. While there are some transitions that didn't really flow well, I enjoyed, probably as much as Dahlia, learning about the disappearances of the children and how their disappearance would affect those in the present. Even though I really enjoyed the writing and the mystery, I felt that there was something more the author wanted to do with the plot but changed his mind.

All things considered, the only thing that I have even the slightest complaint about is Dahlia and the "mean girls". While I loved reading a book with a female character that loved magic tricks and math, I wish that there hadn't been the typical mean girl angle because they a) weren't truly bad enough for the moniker and b) it just seemed to be added for no understandable reason. With an interesting character like Dahlia, the book would have done just fine without adding in some "mean girls".

Final Verdict: An interesting main character and fascinating plot make The Path of Names a great read.

The Path of Names earns 5 out of 5 pineapples

This book was received from the publisher for an honest review.

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