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Paper Hearts

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  2,055 ratings  ·  374 reviews
A novel in verse, Paper Hearts is the story of survival, defiance, and friendship. Based on historical events about a group of girls who were slave laborers at the munitions factory in Auschwitz.
332 pages
Published October 13th 2015 by Margaret K. McElderry Books (Simon & Schuster) (first published September 1st 2015)
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Tristyn It is pretty clean. I am younger than 15, and I thought that it was more about friendship, and didn't really have anything disturbing, or gory.…moreIt is pretty clean. I am younger than 15, and I thought that it was more about friendship, and didn't really have anything disturbing, or gory.(less)
Tristyn It was made in 2017, but if you mean age range it is 12+

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 ·  2,055 ratings  ·  374 reviews

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Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List




This is based on the true story of Zlatka and Fania who were in Auschwitz together, they had lost their families, they had lost everything, but they found each other. And they survived! They had some friends named Giza, Guta and Bronia that survived with them. They all took care of each other the best they could in such a horrible place!



Mama's good girl
Followed the rules.
At home.
At school.
in syn
"Surviving was the best revenge."

Paper Hearts is a novel in verse based on true events. Usually, I like novels in verse but for some reason I don't think it was the best choice for this story. Meg Wiviott did a lot of research for this novel but I feel like the historical details that would have transported the reader back through time was merely glossed over in this form. It also made it a bit difficult to connect to the characters at times. Paper Hearts alternates between two points of view bu
Aug 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Paper Hearts by Meg Wiviott is beautifully haunting, inside and out.

The story follows two jewish girls who have been taken to Auschwitz during the holocaust, and their incredible will to survive. Although they've lost everything, friendship becomes weapon against oppression and hatred. Zlatka and Fania's story feels real, and then your stomach drops because you realize the are, and it is. It is all true, and it hurts.

It has been a long time since I read a novel written in verse, but Paper Hear
Sep 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
An absolutely heartbreaking story, told in verse, about a group of young women held captive in Auschwitz. I think this is an important book for everyone to read, especially now with the current political climate in the USA. As the book simply states, "Never again. Never again. Never again." ...more
Alex  Baugh
Sep 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: world-war-2
When the Germans arrive in June 1941, life changed for the Jews living in Prużany, a small town in Belarus. For 17 year-old Zlatka Sznaiderhauz and her family - mother, father, younger brothers Iser and Lázaro, younger sister Necha - life became more and more difficult. Restrictions meant no freedoms, no school, no jobs, little food and eventually life in a Nazi-created ghetto. Before long, daily lists began to be posted for transports to Auschwitz-Birkenau. On the third day, the Sznaiderhauz fa ...more
I have such conflicted feelings about this book. On the one hand, a verse novel about one of the most horrific events in human history seems, in many ways, a brilliant way to pierce the hearts of readers in an unfamiliar way. On the other hand, because of the nature of novels in verse, there is quite a bit lacking in terms of fleshing out characters, events, and other things you would expect in any book. Rather than being able to learn about specific characters, I only felt that I was reading ab ...more
Urtė Jakubauskaitė
Feb 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Carol (Reading Ladies)
In Paper Hearts, two unforgettable girls find themselves tragically imprisoned at Auschwitz during the Holocaust and become friends. Through the bonds of friendship and a bit of defiance, Zlatka and Fania find bits of hope and a will to live. In this true story, Zlatka, along with the help of a few other girls, masterminds making a surprise birthday card for Fania. A secret project that would be a crime punishable by death if caught, each girl signed the paper hearts card with her hopes and wish ...more
Sep 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
Written completely in verse, Paper Hearts is a heart breaking account of what occurred before, during, and after Auschwitz and what it means to survive such horrifying experiences told by two young Jewish girls. These accounts were based on a true story and as close to historically accurate as the author could manage, which made it all the more devastating to read. I didn't expect to read it so fast, but this quickly became a book I couldn't have put down even if I'd wanted to. ...more
Jule ☀
Mar 08, 2019 rated it liked it

This is an incredibly important story that taught me something new. It's haunting and terrifying while also surprisingly hopeful. However, though I usually enjoy poetry and stories in verse, I feel like I would have preferred it if it was written in prose instead.
Apr 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This novel in verse is based on a true account of a group of women in Auschwitz during World War II. Zlatka and Fania meet shortly after they arrive at Auschwitz. Zlatka has fallen into a deep depression after her mother and brother are murdered by the Nazi's and her younger sister dies. Fania and a group of women form a friendship with her. This friendship and the bond that they form get them through their darkest days.

This story is told in alternating chapters from the points of view of Fania
Feb 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school
Such a beautiful and important story.
Generally I am a huge fan of novels in verse. Paper Hearts is not my favorite one. Maybe Holocaust stories just aren't meant to be told in verse. Zlatka and Fania's stories deserved to be told in full. I loved the courage of these two girls and their friends, but I just felt there were missing pieces in the story that simply don't lend themselves to this genre. The book was HIGHLY recommended to me by several students, but having read it myself now, I am wondering if they really understood the f ...more
Jun 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Simply powerful. The writing style is beautiful. The simplicity of the poem format oddly enough adds to the power of the subject. Auschwitz and the Holocaust are not light subjects. This book is dark and heavy, but the writing style makes it so easy to read. I read this in one sitting. I finished this within a few hours. Highly recommended to anyone who loves reading stories involving the Holocaust and German history.
Sarah Reads
Jun 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is a beautiful story based on the true events of what happened in world war 2. The story was so well written and is just so sad....SO MANY TEARS!!!!!!! Definitely a 5 out of 5 stars! Would really recommend it to anyone who likes historical fiction and likes to read books in verse form!
Christina Hanson
Jan 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Simple things we didn’t have.
Simple things once taken for granted.
Simple things bright great risks.

Paper Hearts by Meg Wiviott is a Holocaust novel in verse based on true events. The story is told by Zlatka and Fania, best friends in the Auschwitz concentration camp. Zlatka wanted to make Fania a birthday card for her upcoming birthday. But Zlatka knew making something so positive and uplifting for her friend could come at a deadly cost. Even th
Jul 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017
Paper Hearts was a touching story, and very sad. It walks you through the lives of young women who are taking to Auschwitz. The two in particular are Fania and Zlatka. You follow their journeys from the time they were taking to the camps all the way to the Red Army finding them and nursing them back to health.
Apr 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
All I can say is WOW. Great book, I hope you're ready to cry. ...more
Chesley Jones Nichols
This story of love and friendship in such miserable inspiring. I really can't describe how much I loved this book. ...more
Ari Q
Nov 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Ari by: Victoria
"It would take longer
To learn to live

Okay, so I have an obsession with historical fiction novels, but more specifically, with books dealing with World War Two, the effects it had and events that took place in different parts of the world. I believe this fascination stems from a combination of many things. Mostly, it is the beauty that I find the darkness of this era can produce, as in, the way that humanity surpasses incredible suffering and retaliates in astounding and awe inspiring ways.
I ran across this book completely by accident. (I was straightening up the teen fiction shelves and this book was completely out of place so I decided to read the synopsis before I put it back which led me to deciding to check it out instead.) This book is about a group of girls, narrated by two specifically but really it's about all of them banding together, and their experiences before and during their internment at Auschwitz.

Now I don't know why but I am a sucker for books set during the Hol
Overall Paper Hearts is not poorly written, though I think at times the poems could have been stronger. The only major issue I had with the writing was that the two main characters, which are the POVs in the book, sound exactly alike. Their poem structures differed at times but it was not enough to differentiate the women and I felt as though this weakened the book.

Exposing all readers to history is important and I think Wiviott did it in a manner that younger readers could absorb and understan
May 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
1. This is one of the best Holocaust books I have ever read. I loved the verse format, the figurative language, the characters. It was just beautiful.
2. Love the theme of friendship in this book. It is literally the thing that got them through the torture. If it wasn't for the small kindnesses they showed each other, would they have ever made it?
3. The paper hearts symbolism made me tell everyone about this book. Most of the Holocaust books I read say the same thing. They had to keep to themsel
Madison Weidner
Apr 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Paper Hearts by Meg Wiviott is a poetic narrative written in verse and is based on true events. The story is written from the point of views of two young women, Zlatka and Fania, that become friends in Auchwitz-Birkenau after both of their younger sisters did not survive. The story gives the reader insight on what the prisoners of Auchswitz went through and how friendship can give someone strength to survive. The paper heart that Zlatka gave Fania for her birthday gave her enough strength to cha ...more
Madison Baity
Apr 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: elm335-wow-books
This book tells the true story of two Jewish girls, Zlatka and Fania, who were taken to Auschwitz during the Holocaust. The girls witness so many truly awful things happen to those around them; they witness death from starvation, terrible beatings, and people being taken to the furnace. But they lean on each other and persevere in a way you wouldn’t even think to be possible. When Zlatka gives her friend Fania a paper heart birthday card, it gives her the strength to fight to survive. This book ...more
Jan 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was the longest short-read that I have read in a long time. I kept putting the book down because it was depressing. That being said, it was a wonderful book told in verse. The Holocaust continues to haunt as I see hate repeated and taught in today’s world.

Paper Hearts is the story of Fania and Zlatka, two young girls who find each other and encourage one another to live. That friendship inspires a handmade Birthday card that could have been the death of all who participated, and instead it
Brooke Banks
Read for free on Riveted Lit. April 2019.

I had never heard of this amazing true story until I read this! Definitely something everyone should learn about though. I'm so grateful for Wiviott spreading the word and sharing it in such an accessible way.

I like this a a verse book. Keeps it impacting but doesn't delve into torture porn and appropriation. The alternating POVs work beautifully together to show why these girls reached out for each other, and how they survived together. Keeping hope and
Mar 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book, at first I thought the format would make me like it less but it grew on me and I think it helped with the story. It was such a compelling story that I didn't want to stop reading, its always hard to hear the brutality of what the holocaust was like but also very important. The story kind of lost me at times but that's really my only complaint. Overall, I recommend this to just about anyone who is interested. ...more
Mar 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Paper Hearts is a great story of friendship to help overcome the horrible life the girls were living during the Holocaust. The story is about two girls Zlatka and Fanin who become friends due to their time in a concentration camp. They help each other to survive the horrible tragedy that is happening around them. Zlatka and Fanin are real people who went through this. The author kept this story as true to what was told of her. What a great story that is told in free verse.
Aug 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2000-2015-pub
This is really interesting!

A brief summation of my thoughts:
I thought the writing style—verse—was effective and conveyed so much emotion.
The characters are so strong and defiant! They keep on fighting, regardless of what everyone else says.

So many good quotes in here.

I love the title and its symbolism.
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Meg Wiviott is the author of the picture book BENNO AND THE NIGHT OF BROKEN GLASS (Kar-Ben 2010) and PAPER HEARTS, a YA novel-in-verse based on a true story of friendship and survival in Auschwitz (Margaret K. McElderry Books/Simon & Schuster). She holds an MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Meg and her husband have two grown children and live in New Jers ...more

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“How could a society produce such masters and such monsters?” 3 likes
“We are monsters, I said, Doing dirty work for the Germans.
No! Zlatka was firm. We are surviving.-p. 173”
More quotes…