The Styling Librarian

In my opinion, books are the best accessory.

Styling Librarian: Book Review: Brooklyn Love

Review of Brooklyn Love by Yael Levy:

Most know that I normally have not written book reviews in this style but I’ve taken on two books recently to officially review. I’m still quite brief when I review though.

I sat and thought about the premise of Brooklyn Love for quite a while. Orthodox Jewish young women with the weight of their parents expectations and religious restrictions on their shoulders and the hope of love guiding them into their future. Reflecting on the fact that I adored the Faye Kellerman series about Rina Lazarus and Peter Decker with Rina’s Jewish practice, I thought this might be a good fit book. Although I grew up in a Jewish home, I was curious about the Jewish Orthodox culture and how individuals respect, practice, and tolerate numerous rules that I personally would never appreciate practicing personally. Then, I sat back and enjoyed the book. The storyline was quite interesting with a focus on one family and their daughter after another, not necessarily all were friends with one another. At the beginning I realized I needed to slow down because many characters were being introduced and I was mixing up which person was family versus friend, etc. I appreciated the transitions throughout the book from one character’s life to another with the high expectations the elders had with each of the children. The community feeling was beautifully conveyed in the book. I wondered how people could live in such a tough community with judgements and control. Additionally, I felt like it was a beautiful, honest approach with each person’s experience to high expectations, etc. Sometimes I honestly wanted to bonk some of  the characters over the head since I became frustrated with how they dealt with situations. Yael Levy did a great job making those characters come to life! I appreciated the way characters also progressed and grew in their self confidence and interpretation of how they should approach life. I made connections from this book to other romance titles but personally found that I’d connect this with Emma by Jane Austen.

I wondered over and over whether this book is truly a YA Romance- I think now that it is wonderful for 11th/12th graders, not quite positive if I would be comfortable with any younger readers enjoying the book. Something for them to anticipate in the future.

I recommend this book!

Here is the official book promotion from the publisher:

For any young woman, it can be hard to follow the rules … especially when you’re falling in love.

But for Rachel, Hindy, and Leah, it’s especially hard. Because as Orthodox Jews, they live by a whole different set of rules. No touching a guy—any guy!—before marriage. No dating—unless they are considering marriage—and then, only marrying a man who rates high on their parents’ checklists.

All Rachel’s mother wants for her daughter is to see that her daughter marries well. Naturally, this is where the rich, Columbia University educated lawyer comes in. The problem is, Rachel’s already found a guy who makes her heart race. A Rabbi. But how could a struggling Rabbi possibly give Rachel the security her mother demands?

Hindy is very pious and only wants to marry a Talmud scholar. The problem is, she’s in love with an Orthodox Jewish guy she works with. How long can she keep saying no when her heart says yes? And will she be able to stick to her values amidst temptation?

Leah wants to be a doctor, but her mother insists she study computers even though she hates computers. Her mom, a struggling immigrant, has fixed ideas about the course to success and marriage—which doesn’t include any of Leah’s wishes. What will it take for Leah to break out of her mom’s—and community’s—expectations and follow her dreams?

In Brooklyn Love, three Orthodox Jewish women who are caught between crushing guilt of defying their mothers and their desire to be “normal” are there for each other as they try to figure out who they really are … and what they really want.

Publisher: Crimson Romance
Sept. 17, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-4405-5655-5
YA Orthodox Jewish Contemporary Romance, 324 pages

Basic Information about Yael Levy from her Author Biography

A freelance illustrator and journalist, Yael Levy has been published in numerous venues, including The Jerusalem Post during her three-year stay in Israel just east of the bustling capital city of Tel Aviv.

She holds a degree in Illustration from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. But it’s the questioning journalist inside her that launched a new career in writing literature. Her debut novel Brooklyn Love (Sept. 17th, 2012, Crimson Romance) hones in on Levy’s interest in the underlying thoughts and expressions of the Orthodox Jewish culture.

A native New Yorker, Levy currently writes for The Times of Israel about her experiences as a Jewish mother now living in Atlanta. She is also studying for a Masters in Law at Emory University.


Twitter: @YaelLevy2

Facebook: Author Yael Levy

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