AGE: 11 UP
Misha is a talented 14-year-old boy, but he has a dark secret that he must keep from his friends: his father, Vladek, is a violent criminal who has done time in jail, and after failing to find a job, has returned to crime. Misha’s beautiful mother Yana works in a café and Misha himself works after school in the home of an elderly history professor who has become a father figure. After the family moves from Jerusalem to Netanya, the situation deteriorates further: Vladek begins beating Yana, who sinks into depression and is hospitalized. Vladek is involved in a violent robbery and flees to Russia. Yet all these upheavals don’t break Misha’s spirit, and he finds consolation in a classmate, Mika, who is charming but also capricious and spoiled, and doesn’t understand what he is going through. But when Misha’s vigorous grandmother arrives from Russia to help Yana, Misha joins her in Jerusalem and starts working again in the professor’s house. Gradually his mother’s mental condition improves and Misha finds a true soul-mate in Ayellet, a lovely, sensitive girl. Now he can reveal his terrible secret and free himself from the shadow that has been haunting him.
The more one gets into this surprising, moving book, the more one identifies with and admires Misha.