My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars Received: Publisher Publication Date: September 12th, 2017 Publisher: Delacorte Press Point of View: 3rd Person Recommended Age: 11+ Pacing: Slow/Normal Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Historical Fantasy, WWII, Friendship, Love
Karolina is a living doll whose king and queen have been overthrown. But when a strange wind spirits her away from the Land of the Dolls, she finds herself in Krakow, Poland, in the company of the Dollmaker, a man with an unusual power and a marked past.
The Dollmaker has learned to keep to himself, but Karolina’s courageous and compassionate manner lead him to smile and to even befriend a violin-playing father and his daughter–that is, once the Dollmaker gets over the shock of realizing a doll is speaking to him.
But their newfound happiness is dashed when Nazi soldiers descend upon Poland. Karolina and the Dollmaker quickly realize that their Jewish friends are in grave danger, and they are determined to help save them, no matter what the risks. Continue reading →
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
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 →
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
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 →
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
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 →
My rating: 2 of 5 stars Received: Borrowed Publication Date: June 7th 2011 Publisher: Quirk Point of View: 1st Person & Masculine Recommended Age: 12+ Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Fantasy, Parnormal, World War II, Family, Photography
A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs.
A horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.
A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows. Continue reading →