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Zebra Forest


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About the Author

Adina Rishe Gewirtz has worked as a freelance journalist, a high-school tutor, and a business-writing consultant. The author of How to Say It: Business Writing That Works, Adina Gewirtz now coaches writers and spends most of her time focused on her first love, fiction writing. Zebra Forest is her first novel. She lives in Washington, D.C.


Gewirtz veers away from melodrama, deftly capturing nuances of family dynamics in spare prose. ... [A]udiences will appreciate this novel's multilayered characters and touching message of hope and forgiveness.
--School Library Journal (starred review)

Debut author Gewirtz successfully conveys the terror and tedium of being trapped...An emotionally honest family story with an ending that's hopeful without being implausibly upbeat.
--Publishers Weekly (starred review) Gewirtz's emotionally intense debut novel about the complications of families offers a perceptive heroine and poetic, impressive prose.
--Kirkus Reviews The tight narrative--laden with symbolism, such as a copy of Treasure Island missing half of its pages, a backdrop of the Iran hostage crisis, and the forest itself--is held together with the strength of the characters. This slight, tense debut novel will interest children looking for suspense or family drama.
--Booklist [T]he absorbing voice and short chapters make this a taut, accessible read (and older readaloud), and kids will be engrossed by Annie's dilemma.
--Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books With well-crafted characters and an engaging plot that doesn't plod, Zebra Forest nails the basics. It's a family mystery that slowly unwinds, with doses of suspense and intensity. ... A skillfully crafted debut novel from an author to watch.
--100 Scope Notes (SLJ Blog) Clever plot twists, lyrical writing and empathetic characters make this book a must-not-miss.
--Georgia Times-Union

Gr 5-8-It's almost summer and 11-year-old Annie Morgan has a small list of things she hopes to accomplish during her vacation: grow tall, have an adventure, and meet her father. Sadly, the last wish is impossible given her father's death in a brutal fight many years before. Annie and her younger brother, Rew, live with their caring, but mentally unstable, grandmother in the backwoods of Sunshine. The siblings pass the time in the "Zebra Forest" of birches and oaks behind their house, weaving elaborate fantasies of their dad as a pirate or secret agent. When a prison escapee barges into their house and holds them hostage, the siblings are shocked to discover that the interloper is their presumed-dead father, Andrew Snow. Gran's fragile state renders her incapable of helping the children process this revelation. Rew lashes out against his captor, refusing to believe that this man is his dad. Annie is torn between siding with her brother and her desire to know their father. Gewirtz veers away from melodrama, deftly capturing nuances of family dynamics in spare prose. Another notable element is the thematic parallel with Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island, which the children read throughout the story. Despite Zebra Forest's slow start, audiences will appreciate this novel's multilayered characters and touching message of hope and forgiveness.-Lalitha Nataraj, Escondido Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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