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Double Crossing Hardcover – October 1, 2005

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Cinco Puntos Press (October 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0938317946
  • ISBN-13: 978-0938317944
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,247,703 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-8–As conditions worsen for Jews in Eastern Europe in 1905, 11-year-old Raizel accompanies her father to America. Traveling by wagon, train, and on foot, they arrive in Antwerp to board the ship to New York. When they finally arrive at Ellis Island, Benjamin's shabby appearance, persistent cough, and emaciated body cause the inspector to declare him liable to become a public charge and unfit to enter America. Raizel and her father receive passage to return home. With the help of kind strangers, he makes the difficult decision to give up his Orthodox Jewish way of life–shaving his beard and eating unkosher food–for a second chance at entering America. This theme of assimilation as the only means for survival may trouble some readers. With treacherous boat trips and interesting secondary characters, Tal's fictionalized account of her grandfather's journey to America is fast paced, full of suspense, and highly readable. Similar to other immigrant stories such as Karen Hesse's Letters from Rifka (Holt, 1992) and Kathryn Lasky's The Night Journey (Puffin, 1986), Double Crossing offers the unique perspective of immigrants who were denied admission into America.–Rachel Kamin, Temple Israel Libraries & Media Center, West Bloomfield, MI
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Gr. 7-10. Based on the experience of the author's grandfather at the turn of the twentieth century, this novel starts off as the archetypal Jewish coming-to-America story. Raizel, 12, leaves the Ukraine with her father, a devout peddler who flees pogroms and conscription into the czar's army, intending to send for the rest of his family later. The separation, the trauma, the dream of golden America, the journey across Europe, the ocean voyage, the inspections and arrival at Ellis Island--the historical detail is dense. But Raizel's lively first-person narrative is anything but reverential. She misses her brother, but she is jealous because he gets to go to school, and she resents her father's keeping kosher, which means they stay hungry during the journey in the crowded ship. Her view of adults and kids, family and strangers, back home and on the perilous adventure, brings the people on the journey very close. Best of all is the shocking surprise that changes everything, even Papa--a haunting aspect of the immigrant story left too^B long untold. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

I was born in Brooklyn, grew up in Rockville Centre, Long Island and have lived on Kibbutz Hatzor, Israel since the 1970s. I have a B.A. from Oberlin College, an M.Ed. in special education from C.W.Post and an M.A. in children's literature from Hollins University. I published picture books in Hebrew, one of which, New Boy, has been published in a dual language version by Milk and Honey Press. My first YA historical fiction,Double Crossing, was based on my grandfather's immigration story of rejection at Ellis Island. It was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Awards and won a Paterson Prize. The sequel, Cursing Columbus, was published in Oct. 2009 by Cinco Puntos Press.
Learn more about me and my books at: www.evetal.com

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By George Pickett on March 12, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book seems sequestered into the young adult niche, but I loved it. Picked it up because of its cover; read the first page and did not stop till the end. It is a beautiful story, told with rhythm and pulse. The most enlightening book I've read regarding the late 19th and early 20th century trek of Jews from the pale to the new world It might bother more orthodox jews because of its emphasis on assimilation, but as someone without the cultural past, it was mesmerizing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By T. Pickett on March 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
In 'Double Crossing' Eve Tal has done something remarkable; she has combined the cadences of storytelling/almost of a fairy tale with the reality of living in a Jewish shtetl in czarist Russia at the turn of the century. With wonderful dialogue, lovely stories and vivid descriptions, Ms.Tal allows us, through her heroine Raizel, to truly feel both the warmth and fear that were part of Jewish life in czarist Russian. She brings alive the pain of separation, the pain of the choices Jews had to make to survive. I think it is something of a disservice to label 'Double Crossing' a book for young adults. It is absorbing, instructive and just plain enjoyable for all ages.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bibliophilic on June 17, 2010
Format: Paperback
Eve Tal clearly knows how to write fun, readable prose. Her main character is extremely engaging. I found her interweaving of Yiddish folktales into the book enjoyable and beautiful. The description of the Ellis Island experience is very informative.

That said, this is NOT a Jewish book. I'd actually describe this as an anti-Torah book. The cover I read complimented Tal on her historical research, but she didn't do sufficient research into Judaism. Very early on in the book, she describes a supposedly very Orthodox family celebrating the Sabbath...and includes error after error about how they do it (examples: picking flowers and weaving them in a chain, carrying a child on your back in an open field). Tal says Raizel isn't allowed to purchase food while they are on the train, but it's late summer: surely there was fresh fruit available (and she acurately notes later that fresh fruit is generally kosher)?

On their train ride, Raizel is also told by her father that he has no answers for her regarding why trouble occurs to good people. This father is supposed to be a talmid chacham (very learned individual), but someone with that name would have had answers (or at least suggestions of answers) based on basic Jewish texts like the book of Job, commentaries on the Tanach, the work of Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, and others. When Raizel asks her father why she can't break the Torah, and why she doesn't get punished by God on the spot when eventually does, she is given no answer, though these are basic fundamental questions and he should also have an answer for that. Clearly, no one religious checked out Tal's text for errors.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amanda Cockrell on December 12, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Eve Tal's Double Crossing is the kind of young adult book -- rich in historical detail, with compelling characters -- that adults as well as adolescents will love. Raizel doesn't want to go to America, although everyone else in her family thinks it is a wonderful opportunity for her to escape Czarist Russia and the pogroms that threaten every Jewish village. She will help Papa start a new life for all of them. But Raizel has never been away from home, and the journey across Europe and the Atlantic Ocean seems even more dangerous and frightening to her, especially since her ultra-religious father won't let her eat anything that isn't kosher, and practically nothing is. In the end, though, it is Raizel, taking charge and taking matters into her own hands, who makes the journey possible. We journey with her every step of the way, through separation, loneliness, the indignity of immigration health inspections, and the capricious rules of Ellis Island. Based on Tal's grandfather's immigration story, this is a book for anyone who has ever had to brave an unknown and cross into uncharted ground.
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