The Dubious Pranks of Shaindy Goodman

The Dubious Pranks of Shaindy Goodman cover
The Dubious Pranks of Shaindy Goodman by Mari Lowe

By Mari Lowe
Levine Querido, 2023
176 pages

Ages 9-12

Admired for being smart and “nice,” the girls in Shaindy Goodman’s sixth grade class at Bais Yaakov Orthodox Jewish day school don’t bully Shaindy outright, but neither do they befriend or include her. She may as well be invisible. So when her popular neighbor, Gayil, invites Shaindy to join her in pulling pranks on their classmates, Shaindy is thrilled to have Gayil’s attention. But the High Holidays—a time to make amends—are approaching, and the not-so-harmless pranks soon make Shaindy uneasy, especially as their classmates and teacher grow increasingly upset and eager to catch the perpetrator. By the time Shaindy realizes that there’s a pattern to the pranks (all of the victims shared a bunk with Gayil and Shaindy at summer camp), it’s too late. Shaindy herself is the final target on Gayil’s list: Gayil frames her for all of their wrongdoing. Suspended from school, enraged, and completely ostracized by her classmates, Shaindy seeks an explanation for Gayil’s manipulative, vengeful behavior. What she learns makes her reevaluate her own role in a traumatic event that occurred at summer camp. Both girls have done wrong. As Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, comes around, Shaindy learns that moving forward will require a lot of her and her classmates: a willingness to apologize, to forgive, and to extend hands in tentative friendship. ©2023 Cooperative Children’s Book Center