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What We're Scared Of

Written by Keren David

Key Stage 3 Key Stage 4 Gritty Reads Religion / Bible Stories Thrillers

LoveReading View on What We're Scared Of

Two very different twin sisters are forced to confront their previously unacknowledged Jewish heritage and the realities of modern day anti-semitism

Selected for The Book Box by LoveReading4Kids

Published just before Holocaust Memorial Day this book could not be more important or timely. Author Keren David has talked about her own challenges bringing up Jewish children and about Jewishness only being reflected in Holocaust literature. She wanted to write a story in which young Jewish people could see themselves as well as hopefully giving all young people something to think about. She has done a remarkable job with this immensely readable and authentic story.


The short, dark and curvy extrovert, Evie, could not be more different from the tall,blonde ,willowy, anxious Lottie. They go to different schools and have very different interests. Their Jewish mother has never discussed their heritage or family history and they follow no religious or cultural customs. But Lottie makes friends with Hannah and not only has her eyes opened to the casual bitchy racism of her classmates but relishes and enjoys the Jewish life Hannah shows her. Of course, the reader is learning alongside Lottie and Hannah is so refreshingly modern, for example challenging gender roles in her faith, that this is a vibrant and positive view of the community.  Meanwhile the twin’s  mother meets an old friend and her son Noah who have fled racist attacks in Paris. In her new role on radio she decides to announce her Jewish status and denounce racism. The ensuing Twitter storm of abuse and trolling opens Evie’s eyes too, as does Noah’s contacts with young Jews trying to take action to confront racists. Both girls are faced with very real danger and in the aftermath, they attend a talk by Mala Tribich- a very real Holocaust survivor. David very cleverly uses her actual testimony to ensure that readers can distinguish that this is the actual truth and not fictionalised. Mala’s inspiration is just what they need to renew their enthusiasm – for Evie in activism and for Lottie in religion and for their family to  finally feel a real part of their heritage and history.


While dealing with some intense modern issues, this is a real page- turner populated by some very convincing and engaging young characters that will have absolutely no difficulty in finding enthusiastic readers. Highly recommended.

Joy Court

What We're Scared Of Synopsis

Evie and Lottie are twin sisters, but they couldn't be more different. Evie's sharp and funny. Lottie's a day-dreamer. Evie's the fighter, Lottie's the peace-maker.

What they do have in common is their Jewishness - even though the family isn't religious. When their mother gets a high-profile job and is targeted by antisemitic trolls on social media, the girls brush it off at first - but then the threats start getting uglier. . .

Book Information

ISBN: 9781407196442
Publication date: 21st January 2021
Author: Keren David
Publisher: Scholastic
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 320 pages
Year Groups: Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4
Topics: Gritty Reads, Religion / Bible Stories, Thrillers

About Keren David

Keren David worked as a news reporter and feature writer before publishing her compelling debut YA novel, When I Was Joe, while taking a course in Writing for Children at City University. Keren now teaches the City University course and is an editor for The Jewish Chronicle . Her novels have won and been nominated for numerous awards including the Carnegie Medal and the Branford Boase award. Keren lives in North London

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