Monday, September 17, 2018

Yeled Tov by Daniel M. Jaffe

(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

As he’s about to turn 16 in the mid-1970’s, Jake Stein notices a prohibition in Leviticus that never caught his eye before:  “Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind; it is abomination.”  This discovery distresses Jake, an observant Jewish teen, because he’s recently been feeling increased attraction to other teen boys and men.  He’s even been engaging in sexual exploration with his best friend.  In an attempt to distract himself, Jake joins his high school’s production of The Diary of Anne Frank, but falls in love with the romantic male lead, obsessively fantasizing about him.  Jake feels lonelier than ever.

The next year, while a freshman at Princeton University, Jake falls for his handsome roommate, is beset by serious temptations, and engages in a traumatic sexual encounter with a stranger.  Seeking help from God, Jake tries to alter his desires, even dates a young Jewish woman in the hopes that she can change him, but to no avail.   Jake concludes that God could never love an abomination like him,so he attempts to prove his faith by ending his own life.

After he’s saved by his roommate, Jake receives unexpected support from doctors, family, and friends, some of whom have been suspecting his secret.  With their help, Jake explores a different way of thinking about the rules of Torah and himself, and begins to consider that he might actually be a yeled tov, a good Jewish boy, just the way he is.

Praise for Yeled Tov

“Jaffe writes in a polished prose style…locating Jake’s conflict in the particulars of Judaism and Jewish culture, while also presenting a story that will feel relatable to a wide audience…. An empathetic story of faith and desire.”  —Kirkus Reviews

Praise for previous works

“Jaffe is a marvelous storyteller.” –Congregational Libraries Today
“Jaffe has a particular gift for capturing the complicated emotional currents swirling around coming out.” —Out in Print

“Jaffe is unquestionably a gifted writer with much to say in a voice that is rarely heard.” —Xfacto
my thoughts:

Wow! What an emotional read! I fell in love with Yeled Tov by Daniel M. Jaffe - what a story!

Yeled Tov explores the struggles of a young man coming into his own - sexually, emotionally, and spiritually.  Jake is a teenager when he realizes that he is gay and that his religion finds his sexuality to be an "abomination."  Confused, upset, and hurt, we read about his attempts to cover up his burgeoning sexual life.  We read about his relationships with both men and women.  We learn about the deep pain he feels when he finds himself believing that God doesn't love him and the heartbreaking manner in which he tries to reconcile with that idea.  And we see Jake finally find himself surrounded by the love and support of his family and friends as he begins to openly embrace the fact that he is gay. 

Talk about a terrific coming of age story! I just loved Jaffe's writing - the realistic and honest manner in which he portrays Jake is just so heartfelt and authentic.  You can feel Jake's struggle within himself and it is eye-opening and heartbreaking all at once.  The writing, characters, and story are top notch - engaging, unforgettable and completely unputdownable. I LOVED meeting Jake and following him on his journey of self-discovery - it was truly such a great story.

I would definitely recommend Yeled Tov to anyone and everyone looking for their next great read - you will LOVE this book!!

Here's the link to the TLC Book Tour schedule for: Yeled Tov
Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!


bermudaonion said...

This sounds like just the kind of story I like.

Unknown said...

Nadia, many thanks for taking the time to read my novel, Yeled Tov. I'm deeply grateful for the sensitivity of your approach.

Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours said...

Thanks for being on the tour for this great coming of age story!

Nadia said...

Kathy, I think you would really enjoy it. Such an engaging and interesting story.

Daniel, thank you so much for this novel - it was fantastic! I absolutely LOVED it!! Cheers!!

Heather, thanks for having me on this tour!