Liz Read


BOOK REVIEW: King of the Class

King of the Class is set in a futuristic Israel where the religious and secular citizens lead separate lives. In 2019, robots provide not only housekeeping and babysitting but also the security necessary in the difficult political climate. Hoverboards have made it easy to move around but guard posts ensure each citizen occupies his rightful place.

The story centres on Eve, who is studying in Israel and engaged to Manny. With her North American attitudes and values, she is bewildered when her fiancé becomes drawn to a religious life. Eve must decide if she is willing to give up her scholastic dreams and live according to strict rules. At the same time she has visions of a soul named Ben who is counting on her and Manny to become his parents. Are the needs of the pre-soul as important as her ambitions and freedoms? Can marriage to Manny lead to a fulfilling life?

Eventually Eve makes a decision. When her story continues, the reader discovers the character referred to in the title, King of the Class. It is her son, Netsach, gifted in basketball skills but bullied by jealous classmates. Manny is suspicious of and does not understand the mystical link between mother and son and it is driving a wedge in their marriage.

Faced with a terrifying situation in which she is powerless, Eve must find strengths in herself and in her relationships. While the people around her all face their own challenges, they must unite to prevent a tragedy.

Gila Green does an excellent job of ramping up the tension in the final chapters. The reader becomes drawn into the suspense, and there is a satisfying resolution when Eve’s choices prove to be honourable.