Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate
Author: Madelyn Rosenberg and Wendy Wan-Long Shang
Publisher: Scholastic Press
David Da-Wei Horowitz is preparing for his Bar Mitzvah while trying to keep the peace between his grandmothers, friends, and the threat of the Cold War. Growing up half-Jewish and half-Chinese is no easy task. David’s friendships are put to the test after the cool kid, Sam, invites him and his best friend, Hector, to join his trivia team. Sam and David’s friendship, and their building of a fallout shelter, challenge David and Hector’s friendship. David finds a way to bring his grandmothers and friends together, while gaining enough courage to talk to the girl of his dreams, before he “becomes a man” at his Bar Mitzvah and realizes that he isn’t half-Jewish and half-Chinese, but all of both.
This is Just a Test is a coming-of-age novel that explores identity, family, and friendship. This book is wonderfully written by two authors, Madelyn Rosenberg and Wendy Wan-Long Shang. They worked together to create a seamless tale of growing up and the challenges middle school brings. David’s struggle with his two friends is authentic and relatable. The author’s explore the anxieties of growing up and navigating the difficult changes that occur during these formative years. Readers will learn more about the Cold War and how this affected the lives of children during the 1980’s. The authors do a wonderful job of bringing the conflict between the grandmothers to life, and their characters feel genuine. There is much to enjoy in this book and would be a great read, particularly for middle school readers.