Karl Stern, a 14-year-old Jewish boy living in late-1930s Berlin, finds himself the protégé of German boxing legend, Max Schmeling amidst the backdrop...moreKarl Stern, a 14-year-old Jewish boy living in late-1930s Berlin, finds himself the protégé of German boxing legend, Max Schmeling amidst the backdrop of Nazi-bred violence that threatens his family’s safety. Karl realizes his dream of a boxing title is quickly slipping out of his reach as Germany inches its way to World War II and violence against Jews escalates. Fans of historical fiction will appreciate this raw, intensely emotional look at Germany’s tumultuous past told through the eyes of a Jewish teen longing to prove his worth both in and out of the ring.
I was concerned I wouldn't like this book, as some sports-themed novels focus too much on play-by-play action and my eyes start to glaze over. I thought this had just the right amount of boxing action to keep that plot line relevant to the story without bogging it down too much. I really liked how this book showed how the Nazi's power impacted the whole nation, not just the Jews, and that almost anyone could be a vicim of their terror.(less)
Seventeen-year-old Althea tries desperately to find a wealthy suitor to alleviate her family's financial woes and to secure her young brother's future...moreSeventeen-year-old Althea tries desperately to find a wealthy suitor to alleviate her family's financial woes and to secure her young brother's future as heir to their ancient, crumbling castle. Jane Austen fans will love Althea's outspoken attitude in this lighthearted look at nineteenth century British customs and courtship.
This was Jane Austen "light" and I loved every minute of it. Althea has spunk and made reading her story very fun. I was not overly impressed with Mr. Fredericks - I actually despised his character and so the ending was not very believable to me. But still a very fun read. I hear there will be a series of books taking place in Lesser Hoo. I am really looking forward to the next one!(less)
This was a beautiful, quick read about a tragic aspect of history that I never knew about - the displacement of thousands of people from the Baltic co...moreThis was a beautiful, quick read about a tragic aspect of history that I never knew about - the displacement of thousands of people from the Baltic countries to Soviet labor camps in Siberia during World War II.
This book is not an easy read. I cried several times and the hopelessness felt very real. The displaced people's struggles are sad and horrific, told through the eyes of 16-year-old Lina. Despite that, Lina, her family and those around them cling to hope and use that as a driving force for survival. I was anxious to see how this book ended and Sepetys' notes at the end provide a beautiful tribute to this forgotten chapter of history.
I absolutely loved this book. I listened to the audio for this one. It has been awhile since I listened to a book where I was so engrossed in the stor...moreI absolutely loved this book. I listened to the audio for this one. It has been awhile since I listened to a book where I was so engrossed in the story I didn't want to get out of my car.
This is the story of Hattie Inez Brooks, a 15-year-old girl who doesn't really have a home. Her parents died when she was young, and she has since been shuffled from one extended family member to another, never feeling "at home" anywhere. She receives a letter letting her know that her Uncle Chester (her mother's brother) has passed away, leaving her the claim to his Montana homestead. Hattie sets out alone to tame the wild land, hoping to forge a place that she can call home.
The Montana prairie is as rugged and wild as it is expansive and beautiful. Hattie is quick to make friends with her neighbors and settle in to prairie and homesteading life. Her spirit is strong despite the many hardships and obstacles she has to overcome along the way. Will she be able to "prove up" on her claim and officially own the land, or will she fail as a homesteader and have to find a new place to call home?
Larson is a gifted author who obviously did considerable research to write this story. I enjoyed learning that she based Hattie's story on that of her great-grandmother who also homesteaded in Montana as a single woman.
I adored this story. Hattie's voice is clear and strong and the supporting cast of characters is equally entertaining. The imagery in this book is amazing. I have never been to Montana but I feel like I took a little literary trip there while I read this book . . . colors and smells and overall scenes are spelled out in poetic detail. Several times I felt like Hattie sounded too old her 16 years of age, but then I reminded myself that she truly was "old" for her age having experienced much more in her 16 years than other girls her age. Having to homestead on her own made her grow up fast, especially when confronted with the hardships thrown her way. I found her a noble, strong character: a perfect female role model who was not afraid to stand up for herself and others and work her fingers to the bone for something she wanted.
The narration of this audio book was outstanding. This was a story I didn't want to end. I
A definite thumbs up and a perfect middle grade read. (less)
I picked up this book after having seen the cover of its sequel "The FitzOsbornes in Exile," which has a stunning cover. Sadly, the cover of this one...moreI picked up this book after having seen the cover of its sequel "The FitzOsbornes in Exile," which has a stunning cover. Sadly, the cover of this one lacks, but I digress . . .
This is the supposed journal of Sophia FitzOsborne who lives on the almost-abandoned island country of Montmaray with her sister Henry, her cousin Veronica and Veronica's insane father, King John. The family lives in a crumbling castle amidst the small village that is virtually empty. Sophia's entries in her journal reflect on the usual ups and downs of teenage life that seems to transcend any time period: boys, her future, her relationship with family members, etc. The tone changes dramatically halfway through the book as Sophia and her family must confront forces from beyond their peaceful enclave that threaten the future of the tiny kingdom. The growing violence in pre-World War II Europe finds its way to Montmaray.
I enjoyed this book but found the format distracting. I understand the author's desire to put Sophia's thoughts in a journal format but the inclusion of so much dialogue made the format feel unbelievable. There were very long passages of in-depth dialogue that most people do not include in a journal. I also found the beginning of this book to be kind of all over the place in terms of Sophia's wistful thoughts. However, the book gained momentum about halfway through and I found myself enjoying it more. Sophia uses great imagery describing her homeland. I also thought the character development was very good, especially considering the other characters had to be described through Sophia's writing.
I am looking forward to seeing what happens in book two of this series. Overall, a very nice read for any teen who enjoys historical fiction. (less)
This book was OK. Kind of schmaltzy and saccharin but the story kept me interested. The characters were over-the-top - Letty in particular was SO swee...moreThis book was OK. Kind of schmaltzy and saccharin but the story kept me interested. The characters were over-the-top - Letty in particular was SO sweet and naive that I really didn't like her part of the story at all. I am intrigued enough to read the next one in the series so it wasn't that bad :p(less)