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Almost Autumn

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  460 ratings  ·  99 reviews
Everything starts this autumn.

It’s October 1942, in Oslo, Norway. Fifteen-year-old Ilse Stern is waiting to meet boy-next-door Hermann Rod for their first date. She was beginning to think he’d never ask her; she’s had a crush on him for as long as she can remember.

But Hermann won’t be able to make it tonight. What Ilse doesn’t know is that Hermann is secretly
Hardcover, 278 pages
Published January 3rd 2017 by Arthur A. Levine Books (first published 2009)
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Average rating 3.66  · 
Rating details
 ·  460 ratings  ·  99 reviews

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Aug 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
I am Jewish. Some people of my family survived WWII by hiding, some went to a concentration camp and died, but some lived. This book speaks to me, and I’m sure it also speaks to every Jewish people out there. Some people weren't lucky enough. And this is what this book is about : how can one moment change your life for the worst or the best? How can one moment condemn you or save your life?

This book isn’t a romance. I know the synopsis can make it sound like one, but it isn’t. It’s s
Feb 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book sneaks up on you.

It's quiet. So quiet. A teenage girl who doesn't get along with her mother is stood up by her date. An older sister who dreams of working in the theater. Normal things. Life things.

And then we see a father who wants to protect his family from harm--hiding the nasty slogans painted on their shop window every morning. A boy striving to do right, to smuggle Jews into Sweden, but tongue tied by his inability to tell the truth. A neighbor who tells himself there is no nee
A quick YA read, historical fiction about a young Jewish girl in Norway in 1942.

Its almost autumn, and the world is opening up for Ilse Stern. She is 15, young, and going on her very first "date" with a boy. Everything begins in Autumn. Yet, skies are darkening, as the threat to Jews is expanding to Norway. Autumn is the beginning all right, but not the one she'd thought.

Read it in a day. Good quick autumn themed, WW2 themed, young adult novel. Maybe 3.5? Had never heard the Norwegi
Kang Ying She
Sep 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have always love history, but the second world war not so much. It is too heartbreaking to read when they die.

This is a lovely story. When I finished this book I was crying inside me. (I never cry outloud because my mother will ask me what happend.) I will say everyone should read this when it is tranlated to English.
Jun 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow, this an amazing book and story, I am soooo pleased that it was published in English!
Oct 10, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-2019
This book was okay. I liked how it had an epilogue at the end, though I wish it had told more from Isak and Hermann's point of view. It tells you the beginning of their stories, but you don't really find out what ends up happening to them, and how they got where they were in the epilogue.
‘Almost Autumn’ is a quiet yet haunting work of historical fiction exploring the experiences of the Norwegian Jewish community under German occupation during World War II. This story draws together the lives of multiple characters, from those who made the choice to actively resist the regime to those who chose to look away and pretend they couldn’t see what was happening, but is ultimately centred on one family separated by chance during the forced deportation of Jews to Auschwitz in October of ...more
Jan 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a young adult book by a Nordic author translated into English. This Norwegian author is a first for me and I will be reading many more. This is the story of 3 Jewish sisters, their parents and what happened in Oslo when the German Nazi's rose to power right before WWII. Often, we read stories from survivors of the Holocaust or written first-hand accounts from those not so lucky to have survived the atrocities committed against human beings for simply being Jewish. At least for me, I had ...more
Selah Pike
Jan 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
In the same genre as Code Name Verity and Between Shades of Gray, this is a powerful WWII story. I found the language, even in translation, to be powerful, sad, and ultimately hopeful.
Apr 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Hidden Jem! Loved this one so much it really stuck with me for a long time after reading it! Here is my full video review -
Nov 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
First sentence: Summer is over.

Premise/plot: Almost Autumn is set in Oslo, Norway in 1942. The heroine is a young teenager named Ilse Stern. She has an older sister and a younger sister. The novel opens with Ilse sneaking out of the house wearing a white dress with red polka dots. It's clearly a summer dress, and it is almost autumn. But she's meeting a boy, Hermann Rod, and it's more important to be beautiful than warm. He breaks the date, and disappoints the girl. But he's broken t
Kim Tyo-Dickerson
This was a tough book to finish. Not because the story wasn't compelling, set in Norway during World War II and I currently live in Norway and wanted to know more about its history, but because the world is so full of stories of the systemic oppression and dehumanization of people happening right now. But plotting my progress in Goodreads helped me ease back into the fate of rebellious, restless Ilse Stern and her Jewish family and her first crush, the young Hermann Rod who is supposed to be tak ...more
Kelly Snyder
Jul 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a powerful book that looks at the lives of the Jewish people of Norway and the people who helped them or at least tried. I found this book different than many of the other books I have read about the Holocaust as this one shifts from one person to another and blends the thoughts of everyone so well. Ilse Stern is a headstrong 15-year-old girl who happens to be Jewish. Because she is so headstrong she survives. Why and how she survives and what happens to her family I will leave that up t ...more
Apr 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 1/2 stars. This is YA literature at it's finest. An incredible story of chance - missed chances, chances taken, circumstances that happen by chance.... Very beautifully written, the story takes place in Norway during the German occupation. I feel that it is equally important to read the afterward where the author talks about where her idea for the novel came from and her personal family history in this time period.
Carlie Corson
May 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was pretty good. It had a slow start, but eventually had some action. The ending was kind of vague in certain senses, but it was still a good book.
Sue Jackson
A World War II novel set in occupied Norway, as seen through the eyes of a teen girl, and exploring the role of chance. Read my full review (plus more WWII novel recommendations) at:
Jan 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Listened to as audiobook via Hoopla
Almost Autumn is a realistic fiction story set in Norway in 1942. The story follows multiple members of the Stern family, but the main protagonist is 15 year old Ilse Stern.

The Stern family is Jewish and is subjugated to the acts that were enacted against Norwegian Jews. Isak, the father, owns a tailor shop and has been steadily losing business because no one will visit Jewish run shops. Sonja, the eldest daughter (19) dreams of designing costumes for th
Mar 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, 2017
What is it about European authors that have a way of evoking such emotional reactions in me with such small, quiet sentences? Is it the translation? I don't think so. What I thought would be a book about a teen dating a boy in the Resistance turned into much more: while those two are at the heart of the story, the book ends up being comprised of short, vignette-like stories of other characters. I wish the American version had a different cover because I think boys would also get into the story b ...more
Jul 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-novels, wwii
I started off not really enjoying this book because of the style of writing. Once I got used to it (it is a translation), I was able to really get into the book more. It does begin slowly, but I had a sense of dread the whole time, because I knew what was coming, even if the characters didn't.
When books show the moral quandaries that people find themselves in, it makes a book a little more believable. You can understand why not everyone stood up to the Nazis - some slowly got taken in, and some
Jun 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-but-unowned
The last normal day for Isle Stern was when the boy she has had a crush on for forever, the boy next door, Hermann Rod, asked her to go to the movies with him, but then he never showed. Isle waited for over 2 hours to make sure she had the right movie time, but Hermann didn't show up at all. That day was the last normal day for Isle.

Because after that, the Germans came and took her father away. He was under arrest because he was Jewish. And this begins the very trying life that will happen for
Jul 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
According to the author's note at the back of this book, Marianne Kaurin was inspired to write this book because of a single idea: What if, during the German occupation of Norway in 1942, a single member of a Jewish family happened to be away from home when the Nazis came to take them to the concentration camps? In addition to being inspired by her own family's history (many of the characters in the book are named after family members or friends of her family), Kaurin wanted to explore the idea ...more
Every time that I think I've read all the Holocaust stories that could possibly be told, here comes another one that reminds me that there are thousands of different tales and experiences, many not recorded yet. This one is set in the most unlikely of places--Oslo, Norway during the German occupation. As other reviewers have mentioned, the story starts quietly in an all-too normal setting as a teen girl dreamily contemplates her romantic future. Like many others her age, fifteen-year-old Ilse St ...more

Featured in World War II Wednesday on Intellectual Recreation.

Almost Autumn follows a group of people living in the same apartment complex in Nazi-occupied Oslo, Norway. Ilse Stern is a Jewish girl in love with the boy across the hall, Hermann Rod. Hermann is working with the Norwegian Underground. Ilse's sister, Sonja, dreams of working as a seamstress at the theater. Ole, their upstairs neighbor, is a taxi driver.

Norwegian author, Marianne Kaurin weaves their stories together in a beautiful, harrowing, and sad tapestry.
Jan 06, 2019 rated it liked it
After hearing good things about this book, I decided to give it a try. Historical fiction, especially those set in the WWII era, are one of my favorite genres to read about and I really thought I’d come out loving this book. I forced myself to read chapter after chapter in hopes it would get better. By the time I read fifty percent of the book, I decided that was enough for the day and moved on to other things.

(view spoiler) ...more
Library Lady
I really liked this, even though as others have noted, it was very slow in the beginning. I found the spare text to be almost poetic which I liked. At first the switches between characters was a little jarring, but I quickly got used to this. One thing that struck me is how differently this story affected me than other Holocaust novels I've read. Maybe it's because most have been from a teen or young adult perspective, but I never really thought about how what happened affected women, specifical ...more
I want to recommend this book to everyone now.

The author's end notes and why she wrote the book are exactly why I think it is so essential that everyone tells their story. All stories are necessary... but this one...

Anyway, read it.

It's amazing.

If you want more details of the story so you know what you're picking up read this review, it's extremel
John Clark
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Our world is so instantaneous, we can't imagine terror and loss of all we value, creeping in like night time fog, but that's what happened to Ilse Stern and her family. Part teen romance, part historical novel, part 'there but for the grace of God, go I.' It’s an excellently understated story of how a large number of innocent human beings were terrified before being carted off to be executed simply because of their ethnicity. We need books like this to remind those who have forgotten and make aw ...more
Feb 12, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very interesting (fictional) read to see the Holocaust from the perspective of a Norwegian Jewish Survivor. The story line is a little slow at the beginning but it does draw you in as you get to the middle and you can't put it down afterwards. I really liked how the story was told from different character viewpoints and it seemed to make the book more enthralling. Kaurin is a wonderful storyteller. This book has made me want to research more of the history behind the German occupation ...more
Almost Autumn took me a little bit to get into; I think it was the writing style. I'm so used to historical fiction books written in the past tense, that it took awhile to adjust to present tense. It was interesting to hear the story from different character's viewpoint, and I really enjoyed the author's note at the end where she explained her connection and inspiration for the story. World War II continues to fascinate me, and I loved the idea of reading about it from the perspective of a young ...more
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Play Book Tag: Almost Autumn by Marianne Kaurin, 3.5 stars 2 12 Nov 01, 2018 05:22PM  

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Marianne Kaurin er født i 1974 og har gått forfatterutdanningen ved Norsk barnebokinstitutt. "Nærmere høst" er hennes første bok.
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