#WeHaveDiverseBooks: Discover This is Just a Test by Madelyn Rosenberg and Wendy Wan-Long Shang

#WeHaveDiverseBooks: Discover is a spotlight on OOM dedicated to connecting readers with books written by distinct voices. We’ll take a look at the books that we can’t stop talking about— books that make us laugh and cry and think and feel, and see our world in new and interesting ways. Come join the conversation!

When long-time friends and critique partners Rosenberg and Shang began writing together, they drew from their own Jewish and Chinese backgrounds, and, “figured out just how much dumplings and kreplach had in common.” From the comical bickering of family to the realistic tension between friends, This Is Just a Test offers a nuanced look at what it feels like to be caught between opposing cultural and social pressures with wit, humor, and a lot of heart. And the impending threat of nuclear annihilation only adds to the tension the protagonist David, experiences as he tries to figure out who he wants to be in this world, and how he’ll ever survive it.

Stuck in the middle. That’s how seventh-grader David Da-Wei Horowitz feels in Madelyn Rosenberg and Wendy Wan-Long Shang’s hilarious and heartwarming new novel This Is Just a Test (Scholastic Press, Ages 8-12). It’s 1983, and though David’s country might be on the brink of nuclear war with Russia, battles closer to home are causing him the most stress. His Chinese grandmother and his Jewish grandmother argue about everything from whether Peking duck belongs on the family’s Thanksgiving Day menu to the wording on the invitations to David’s bar mitzvah. But they fight so politely that sometimes David thinks he’s the only one who realizes how they really feel about each other. David’s friends, on the other hand, are way more obvious. Scott can’t stand Hector, and he’s never shy about letting David know it. In fact, Scott wants David to help him dig a fallout shelter—in case the world goes up in smoke—but Hector isn’t invited. David just wants everyone to get along. If they could, he might be able to concentrate on his bar mitzvah speech, winning the upcoming trivia tournament, and talking to Kelli Ann Majors without getting nervous.