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The Spider's Web
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Grade 7-9-A well-written story about the relationship between a young skinhead and an old lady. Through flashbacks, readers learn that the elderly woman, Ursula, was one of Hitler's children and that she tormented her Jewish peers. As the novel begins, Lexi Jordan, 13, is running away from the police after desecrating a cemetery. She is invited into Ursula's home for shelter when the woman finds her hiding on her porch. The old lady reminds Lexi of her late grandmother, the last loving relative in her life. The girl's father left years ago and her mother is an alcoholic. Lexi, with her shaved head and spider's web swastika tattooed on her scalp, awakens shameful memories of Ursula's hideous past in Hitler's Germany. The confused adolescent is depicted both in her dysfunctional home and with her neo-Nazi "family," a group of mostly older skinheads who provide the sense of belonging that she so desperately needs. In the end, she becomes disillusioned with them and begins a promising relationship with her mother. This novel of a troubled young adult shows how destructive hate can be, and the lengths to which one will go to find love and acceptance.
Bram Handwerger, Brewster High School, NY
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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