Staff Review: Aviva vs. the Dybbuk

Aviva vs. the Dybbuk

By Mari Lowe

For anyone who feels like they don't fit in, or have had friends suddenly become not-friends, "Aviva vs. the Dybbuk" is a book of quiet loss, personal challenge, and rebuilding important relationships. It has the friendship-lost and oddball themes going, along with pain and confusion from trauma that isn't exposed until later in the book. This story about 11-year-old Aviva and her Jewish community does end on an upswing, but before it does her dybbuk (an impish mythological spirit) causes chaos and trouble that Aviva gets blamed for, and she can't quite control it or shake it off.

If you aren't already familiar with Jewish terms, traditions, and everyday Jewish Orthodoxy, this book will be a learning experience: Embrace it! Stand by with a dictionary and prepare to be heart-challenged as you root for this girl and her shattered reality. Although written for juvenile readers, the relevance of the subject matter will engross anyone who's lived a life not made of fairytales (just an occasional fairytale ending).