Saturday, April 10, 2010


Cover Image


Kathryn Lasky



February 2010

FTC: I received this book from the publisher with the understanding that I would provide an honest review for no compensation.

Characters 15/20

Plot 10/20

Setting 20/20

Cover 15/20

Ending 20/20

Total grade: 80% B

Sexual content: mild

Violence: mild

Drugs: none

Underage drinking: none

Swearing: mild

Total rating: 12+

Summary: (Amazon)

In 1932 Berlin, blond 13-year-old Gabriella looks like the Aryan purists’ ideal, but her strongly anti-Fascist family members are derisively called “white Jews,” and her astrophysicist father is friends with Einstein, whose theory of relativity is termed “Jewish physics” by the Nazis. From Gabriella’s viewpoint, Lasky tells a gripping story about Hitler’s early rise to power, including the Germans’ bitterness about their suffering after World War I. Though the filling in of background history sometimes feels slightly contrived, the story is strengthened by the complex, individual characters, such as the pro-Hitler maid who is tired of being poor; the beloved teacher, who wants Gabriella to be a Hitler Youth leader; and Gabriella’s sister, who becomes pregnant while dating an ardent Nazi. Like Anne Frank, Gabriella loves American movie stars. She is also a big reader, and at the start of each chapter, there is a quote from authors such as Hemingway, Heine, London, Remarque, and Twain, whose books are among those publicly destroyed in the wild, historic book burning that is the climax of this story. From the opening quote, by Heine—“Where they burn books, they will end by burning human beings”—the personal and the political history will haunt readers.

My Thoughts:

When I heard of this book I assumed it would be deeper into the holocaust but this was not what it was. It was the very start of World War Two. It just barely touches that at the end. This book was more about the takeover of Germany. I guess the reason that didn’t interest me as much was because if I have to read books from this horrid time period I am a holocaust person. The way mankind treated those people just horrifies me.

I would recommend this book to students in 20th Century Studies classes as well as World War 2 classes. If your interested in World War 2 this is the book for you.

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