|Dancing in the Streets of Brooklyn
For thirteen-year-old Judy Strand, summers in Bay Ridge,
Brooklyn, bustle with games of stickball played in the street, fun-
filled outings to neighboring Coney Island, and her family’s
yearly trip to the Catskill Mountains. But in July 1944, Judy’s
carefree days and her innocence are shaken by a discovery:
The man she’s always called Pa isn’t her real father. Even more
shocking, Judy learns that the father she doesn’t remember
was an alcoholic who abandoned his family. That’s why Judy’s
mother emigrated to America from Norway. Now Judy feels
jumbled inside: She’s angry at her mother for keeping the truth
from her–and she’s suddenly awkward around Pa. Nothing her
parents say soothes the hurt.
At first, even the attentions of Jacob Jacobsen don’t make her feel any better. Judy likes
Jacob; it’s just that his dad’s drinking binges hit too close to home. Ashamed, Judy doesn’t
want anyone to find out her secret. But as misfortune befalls Jacob, Judy’s close friends, and
her own family, Judy rallies to their side, and in the process recognizes that growing up
encompasses forgiveness–of others and of herself.
Delacorte (October 2002), 208 pages, Ages 10 and up, ebook
A fresh engaging novel ... Lurie beautifully captures an adolescent's voice and concerns as
well as a nostalgic Brooklyn childhood filled with stickball, candy stores, and trips to Coney
School Library Journal
[Dancing in the Streets of Brooklyn] makes for interesting if not arresting reading. A
competent debut that captures the time and place.
Judy's crisis, romantic and domestic, are thoroughly believable ... middle-school readers
may find themselves wishing they lived on Judy's street.
The richly drawn setting is the Norwegian community in Brooklyn, New York, in 1944.
First-novelist Lurie does a great job of showing how Judy's hurt and anger make her
act like a jerk. But at the same time, her first-person narrative reveals how bad she feels
about the terrible things she says to those she loves.
Middle-schoolers will find themselves accurately and sympathetically represented at Lurie's