Sons of the 613 by Michael Rubens.
Publication Date: September 2012
List Price: $16.99
Review: Sons of the 613 is written by Michael Rubens. Michael Rubens was a producer for an award-winning television show. Rubens' first adult novel was published last year. This is his first youth novel. The two main characters are Josh and his younger brother Isaac. Josh is an undefeated wrestler that has been in college and recently dropped out to pursue a different path. Josh has moved back into his parent's home with the rest of his family, Isaac and Lisa. Isaac is turning thirteen and is going to have his bar mitzvah which is a celebration when a boy becomes a man in the Jewish faith. Isaacs's older brother Josh has a different idea. Before Isaac can make his bar mitzvah, Josh develops his own Quest for his little brother to complete. If Isaac can complete the Quest he will be a man in his brother's eyes.
The whole family is home, including Josh who is home from college. Isaac is preparing for his bar mitzvah which is in three weeks. Isaac has been keeping a secret about his bar mitzvah though. The tutor that is supposed to help him hasn't been showing up for the class times. Isaacs's parents are going to Italy, and he is worried because he still has so much to learn for his bar mitzvah. When Isaac's parents leave Josh in charge, Josh sees that his brother is worried about his bar mitzvah and decides he will help. He helps Isaac become a man in the Jewish faith and in his own eyes. To make Isaac a man in his eyes, Josh puts him through a Quest that only an older brother can conjure up. Josh wakes him up early everyday and decides whether it should be a physical or mental day. Each day Josh has a different challenge he tells Isaac about. If Isaac can complete the challenge Josh will finally see him as a man. Can he complete the tests? If he can, is he going to finish them in time? And why did Josh put Isaac through the bone rattling Quest in the first place?
I really liked Sons of the 613. However, the book started out slowly. After a couple of chapters, however, it started to pull me back in. I enjoyed learning about the Jewish faith because it taught me to stay close to my family. I liked the detail that Michael Rubens put into the book as well. I especially liked the characters because Rubens put so much thought into their backgrounds. I wish that Rubens was able to get to the Quest in the book sooner though, and then I would have been more eager to complete the book in the beginning. Overall, I really enjoyed Sons of the 613.
Review written by Michael (7th grade student).
We would like to thank Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for providing a copy of Sons of the 613 for this review.
Have you read Sons of the 613? How would you rate it?