The Path of Names

The Path of Names

Book - 2013
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Mysteries, mazes, and magic combine in this smart, funny summer-camp fantasy.

Dahlia Shulman 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 centre of the maze -- but it will take all her courage, smarts, and sleight-of-hand skills to get her back out again.

Publisher: New York, N.Y. : Arthur A. Levine Books, 2013
ISBN: 9780545474306
Branch Call Number: J GOE
Characteristics: 339 p. :,map ;,22 cm

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JCLChrisK Dec 17, 2013

A thirteen-year-old girl, summer camp, ghosts, a mysterious caretaker, her older brother, magic tricks, math, mazes, and Jewish mysticism.

An interesting mix of elements that worked well enough together to make an interesting, engaging story, but not quite well enough to feel like they gelled into something I could get truly swept away by--I could feel the author trying just a little too hard. By the end of the book I wanted to know more about the workings of Kabbalah as the source of this book's magic, and I wished it hadn't been so obviously glossed over as too dense to be part of an appealing story. But, while I had a very good first impression of Dahlia and felt her interactions with the other characters were believable throughout the story, neither she nor any of the others ever grew on me. Ultimately, it felt like her interest in magic tricks and math were constructs to make the Kabbalah magic seem appealing to her, not because she was a real person with real passions. Nevertheless, I liked her and was just as curious as she was to figure out what was going on.

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