The Boy in the Striped Pajamas – John Boyne

the boyThe Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
First Published: 2006
Publisher: David Fickling Books
Recommended Age: 11+
Pacing: Slow
Genres & Themes: MG/YA, Historical Fiction, Holocaust, Friendship, Family


BLURB:

If you start to read this book, you will go on a journey with a nine-year-old boy named Bruno. (Though this isn’t a book for nine-year-olds.) And sooner or later you will arrive with Bruno at a fence.

Fences like this exist all over the world. We hope you never have to encounter one. Continue reading

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My Brigadista Year – Katherine Paterson

my brigadista yearMy Brigadista Year by Katherine Paterson

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
First Published: October 10th, 2017
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Recommended Age: 8+
Pacing: Slow
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Historical Fiction, Cuba


BLURB:

In an engrossing historical novel, the Newbery Medal-winning author of Bridge to Terabithia follows a young Cuban teenager as she volunteers for Fidel Castro’s national literacy campaign and travels into the impoverished countryside to teach others how to read. Continue reading

The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

20912424The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Publication Date: January 8th, 2015
Publisher: Dial Books
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 9+
Pacing: Fast
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Family, Historical Fiction, WWII, Disability

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BLURB:

Nine-year-old Ada has never left her one-room apartment. Her mother is too humiliated by Ada’s twisted foot to let her outside. So when her little brother Jamie is shipped out of London to escape the war, Ada doesn’t waste a minute—she sneaks out to join him.

So begins a new adventure of Ada, and for Susan Smith, the woman who is forced to take the two kids in. As Ada teaches herself to ride a pony, learns to read, and watches for German spies, she begins to trust Susan—and Susan begins to love Ada and Jamie. But in the end, will their bond be enough to hold them together through wartime? Or will Ada and her brother fall back into the cruel hands of their mother? Continue reading

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

7824322Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Publication Date: March 22nd, 2011
Publisher: Philomel Books
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 13+
Pacing: Slow
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Labor Camps, World War II

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BLURB:

Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they’ve known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin’s orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.

Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously–and at great risk–documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father’s prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart. Continue reading

Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk

26026063Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Publication Date: May 3rd, 2016
Publisher: Dutton BFYR
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 11+
Pacing: Slow
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Historical Fiction, WWII, Bullying

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BLURB:

Growing up in the shadows cast by two world wars, Annabelle has lived a mostly quiet, steady life in her small Pennsylvania town. Until the day new student Betty Glengarry walks into her class. Betty quickly reveals herself to be cruel and manipulative, and while her bullying seems isolated at first, things quickly escalate, and reclusive World War I veteran Toby becomes a target of her attacks. While others have always seen Toby’s strangeness, Annabelle knows only kindness. She will soon need to find the courage to stand as a lone voice of justice as tensions mount. Continue reading

The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

19370304The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Publication Date: February 23rd, 2016
Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books
Point of View: 1st Person & Alternative
Recommended Age: 13+
Pacing: Slow
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Family, Alaska

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BLURB:

In Alaska, 1970, being a teenager here isn’t like being a teenager anywhere else. Ruth has a secret that she can’t hide forever. Dora wonders if she can ever truly escape where she comes from, even when good luck strikes. Alyce is trying to reconcile her desire to dance, with the life she’s always known on her family’s fishing boat. Hank and his brothers decide it’s safer to run away than to stay home—until one of them ends up in terrible danger. Continue reading

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

25614492Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Publication Date: February 2nd, 2016
Publisher:Philomel Books
Point of View: 1st Person & Alternative
Recommended Age: 13+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, World War II

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BLURB:

Winter, 1945. Four teenagers. Four secrets.

Each one born of a different homeland; each one hunted, and haunted, by tragedy, lies…and war.

As thousands of desperate refugees flock to the coast in the midst of a Soviet advance, four paths converge, vying for passage aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that promises safety and freedom.

Yet not all promises can be kept.

Inspired by the single greatest tragedy in maritime history, bestselling and award-winning author Ruta Sepetys (Between Shades of Gray) lifts the veil on a shockingly little-known casualty of World War II. An illuminating and life-affirming tale of heart and hope. Continue reading