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Anya's War

3.3  ·  Rating Details ·  161 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
Anya Rosen and her family have left their home in Odessa for Shanghai, believing that China will be a safe haven from Hitler's forces. At first, Anya's life in the Jewish Quarter of Shanghai is privileged and relatively carefree: she has crushes on boys, fights with her mother, and longs to defy expectations just like her hero, Amelia Earhart.

Then Anya finds a baby—a newbo
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published February 1st 2011 by Feiwel & Friends (first published January 22nd 2011)
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Julie Goot
Dec 27, 2010 Julie Goot rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great window into a fascinating and horrific time period set in Shanghai and from a child's perspective.
Loved how the author explored the innermost thoughts of Anya, and painted a picture of everyday reality with the ominous backdrop of what is yet to come. I can''t wait to read more about Anya's world - I am looking forward to a Book 2! A must read for all middle school and high school reading
Jun 20, 2011 Ruth rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
This is the kind of book people write up because they have too much time on their hands and just go fired from their job.

I always compare books to food, but this time is an exception. So go rest your eyes or something before you read what I'm about to write next.





Margo Tanenbaum
In her debut novel for young adults, San Francisco writer Andrea Alban mines her own family history to weave a compelling coming-of-age story of a fourteen-year old Russian-Jewish girl and her family in 1937 Shanghai. Anya and her family had left their comfortable life in Odessa, where Mama was an opera singer and Papa was a journalist, because Papa wouldn't join the Communist Party, and sought safety from the Russian Secret Police in far-off Shanghai, then a safe-haven for many Jews.

The story
Charles Weinblatt
Dec 17, 2010 Charles Weinblatt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anya’s War is a tender coming-of-age tale of a Jewish girl whose family escaped to Shanghai from the impending Nazi takeover of their home in Russia. Fourteen year-old Anya Rosen’s father believed that China would be a safe reprieve for Jews escaping from Hitler’s vow to punish the Jewish people. Although the characters are fictional, the story is real and based upon the author’s ancestors.

Alban’s compelling characters elucidate the very real terror of Jews living in China during the early year
Oct 25, 2011 Rachel rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
The first book I read was Anya's War by Andrea Alban.. Anya, is a Jew living with her family in Shanghai, China on the eve of WWII. Her father refused to join the communist party and so the family left Odessa. But then Anya finds an abandoned baby on the street. Her hero, Amelia Earhart, is lost. And the Japanese ships in the harbor are a threat. She wonders if there is any place safe enough for anyone to be Jewish. She struggles with her religion and her dreams and her family. While the histori ...more
This is historical fiction for real lovers of historical fiction. Although there are a few well-crafted sequences of suspense that will appeal even to those who typically shun historical fiction, most of the narrative is devoted to detailing Anya's daily life in Shanghai, and will be best appreciated by those who truly love to immerse themselves in another time and place.

Full review at Reading Everywhere.
Samantha Hastings
Author Andrea Alban packs a lot of character development, culture, and history in her novel about two days in Shanghai. Teens will find the story compelling and Anya’s character to be likeable and entirely relatable. Despite what is happening around her, Anya is still a teenage girl who is worried about her bra size, cute boys, and telling her parents about her dreams for the future.
Claire Hattendorf
Jun 24, 2013 Claire Hattendorf rated it it was amazing
This book was a page turner for me. I couldn't put it down! The research that went into this book created an all-consuming view of a horrible past for the Jews. The author writes in a way that takes the reader 'right there' inside the story.

I'm so proud to know Andrea; it's great to have a friend that is such an accomplished writer!
Vivian Murray
Dec 09, 2012 Vivian Murray rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Currently I am reading all things "Shanghai" and since my mom was a girl growing up in Shanghai, I found Anya's War to be an interesting perspective. Simple read but a fresh perspective of a complex subject in a very multi-cultural city during the beginning of WWII.
Mar 05, 2011 Becky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book wasn't really what I thought, but I still enjoyed it. The author captured the thoughts and feelings of a 14-year-old girl really well.
Kathryn Mueller
Anya's War was not what I expected. I knew it was about a Jewish family around the time of World War II--but this family moved to Shanghai, China, where they could live freely as Jews. And in China, the coming war is presented from a different perspective. The main threat comes not from the Nazis, but from the Japanese.

Even so, the tension that comes up most often in the narrative (other than family squabbles) is not from the Japanese military invasions, but rather the obvious and occasionally a
Chrys Fey
Anya is a young Jewish girl living in China with her family after they left their home in Odessa to escape Hitler. One day, while going on an errand, she finds an abandoned baby girl near her house. She tries to chase after a woman she suspects is the mother, but loses her. So she feels she has no other choice but to bring the baby home.

I had thought the story was going to be about this baby girl she finds, but soon after she brings the baby home, it becomes about boys. One boy who she knew in s
Jun 26, 2011 Adrienne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teen
Fourteen-year-old Anya is a Jewish girl who has recently moved with her family from their home in Odessa to Shanghai to escape persecution in the years prior to World War II. Anya must deal with changes in her family (her mother is no longer the loving, fun woman she was in Russia), adjusting to a new country, and the normal aspects of being a teenage girl (namely, dealing with boys). At the same time, she is worried about her missing heroine, Amelia Earhart, and whether or not Japan will be att ...more
Elle Drue
Anti-Semitism is on a rise in Europe, and many countries are no longer safe for Jewish families. Anya Rosen and her family are forced to move from their home in Ukraine to start a new life, free from oppression in Shanghai, China. Anya is a typical fourteen-year-old girl but with dreams as monumental as her hero Amelia Earhart. Her ambitions consistently rebel against her traditional Jewish heritage, as well as her mother’s overbearing desire to see Anya become an opera singer. When Anya decides ...more
anya and her family have moved to shanghai from odessa to escape persecution from stalin's goverment. anya struggles with her family's expectations of her, especially her mother. in the midst of it all, she finds an abandoned newborn in the street and attempts to take her in/find her a home.

liked it a lot. not super heavy on plot, that might rub some readers the wrong way. loads of information-can be slightly overwhelming, especially because of the staccato writing style (though I felt like that
I enjoy reading historical fiction because it never stops to amaze me how little I know about the past, even on a topic like World War II. I often feel I have read so much about it, learned so much about it in school and yet there are always new things to discover. Like here: I had no idea that there was an exiled Jewish community in Shanghai. This book provides an interesting glimpse into what there lives looked like. I was also fascinated to find out that the story is based on the author's fam ...more
This was a fairly interesting "lifetime" story. Anya is certainly an entertaining enough heroine, with a good amount of opinions and no lack of gumption. And it is not many Authors who explore the Jewish communities which sprang up in Shanghai during this era. But is it an entertaining story? An engaging one? Well, for a relaxed evening, where you just want a short little read with a not very complex storyline, it is a fitting book. It's a fast read, but it's definitely one that you have to be i ...more
Mary Ann
Aug 05, 2011 Mary Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anya and her Jewish family have moved from Russia to Shanghai prior to WWII. The persecution of Jews has led many to leave their homelands and seek sanctuary elsewhere. At fourteen Anya is more concerned with a normal teen’s interest until faced with the reality that babies girls were being discarded if they were girls. Though this doesn’t deal with the actual war it does address the value of human life.
Oct 20, 2011 Heidi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting perspective on being a Jew during WWII ~ but in Shanghai, where the threat comes from the Japanese, not the Nazis. I enjoyed that it was based on a true story. It was definitely interesting to see the Chinese and Jewish cultures intermingled. The plot and writing style could be stronger, but I still enjoyed it.
I enjoyed this look at the Jewish refugee community in China. Where it disappoints is that it is supposedly for YA readers, but provides too few clues to the history and context and waaaay too many characters and scenarios. It took over 50 pages for me to feel invested enough to commit to finishing it. I don't think teens will give it that chance.
Megan Fuller
Jan 29, 2017 Megan Fuller rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book, as I live in the city where it is set. I had no idea how much tension there was between Jews and others at the time, even in Shanghai. And my heart broke for the unwanted babies (especially baby girls). This book gave me a new appreciation for children, mothers who had more than one child, and those who fought for their childrens' lives.
Linda Bogaard
It was a good story of a young teen's experiences as a Jewish girl and her family who are refugees from Russia in the late 1930's and early 1940's. I read it mainly to know more about those experiences after I visited the Jewish refugee museum in Shanghai in Nov., 2011.
Amelia Bloomer List

Anya Rosen and her family flee Odessa, Ukraine for Shanghai, China in order to find safety from Antisemitism in Europe. This book is based on the true story of the author and her family in the 1930s.
Tyler Wiegmann
This book was okay. There was hardly any character development at all. It was very slow moving and boring in a lot of parts throughout the book. Although in many ways it was interesting. It taught me a lot. 3.5
I was attracted to the historical premise of Jewish refugees in Shanghai during WWII. Some of the descriptions were very nice, especially the traditions of Shabbat. However, I think the plot and character arc could be stronger.
Sep 09, 2011 Amanda added it
Shelves: took-back
Didn't get too into this one and didn't finish before taking back. I may check it out again sometime when I have more leisure time. I'm a fan of Andrea Alban's children's books, but I couldn't make the leap to the autobiographical nature of this one yet.
Emily Diehl
May 23, 2016 Emily Diehl rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: summer-2k16
The story was promising, however I did not enjoy the writing. Often it was confusing, actions rushed, with no real plot line. Extra information seemed hurriedly tossed in and made for a bit of a mess. I wish the writing had been better as the story itself could have been amazing.
Teri Hennessy
Based on a true story,
WWII novel, Jews 1937-1945
Left home in Odessa and moved to Shanghai to be safe from Hitler's purge.
Found abandoned Chinese baby girl
Admired Amelia Earhart
Rina Tamayo
Apr 09, 2013 Rina Tamayo is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
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Andrea Alban (a.k.a. Andrea Gosline) was born in 1959 in Baltimore, MD but spent her childhood reading voraciously in San Francisco, where she still lives with her family. On a weekly basis, she visited the Merced Branch Library and returned home with a pile of books on many different subjects. She received her B.A. cum laude in English/Creative Writing from San Francisco State University.

More about Andrea Alban Gosline...

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