Tuesday, April 13, 2021
Intensity. Protagonist Ari Eden finds his life turned upside down after his family moves from their insular ultra-Orthodox Brooklyn neighborhood to the fleshpots of Florida, even inside the walls of the Jewish academy where he faces his senior year in high school. The debut novel titled, The Orchard, by David Hopen captures the essence of adolescence and the intensity of life among a small group of smart and privileged friends. Prompted by a charismatic rabbi, the students examine their religion and philosophy in ways that disturb their comfort. Ari’s reinvention in Florida feels nothing like the life he left behind in Brooklyn. Many readers will finish this novel thinking about divine intervention and suffering as well as the resilience of youth. Rating: Four-star (I like it) Click here to purchase The Orchard from amazon.com.