Chaya Lindner is a teenager living in Nazi-occupied Poland. Simply being Jewish places her in danger of being killed or sent to the camps. After her little sister is taken away, her younger brother disappears, and her parents all but give up hope, Chaya is determined to make a difference. Using forged papers and her fair features, Chaya becomes a courier and travels between the Jewish ghettos of Poland, smuggling food, papers, and even people.
Soon Chaya joins a resistance cell that runs raids on the Nazis' supplies. But after a mission goes terribly wrong, Chaya's network shatters. She is alone and unsure of where to go, until Esther, a member of her cell, finds her and delivers a message that chills Chaya to her core, and sends her on a journey toward an even larger uprising in the works — in the Warsaw Ghetto.
Though the Jewish resistance never had much of a chance against the Nazis, they were determined to save as many lives as possible, and to live — or die — with honor.
Jennifer lives at the base of a very tall mountain in Northern Utah with her husband, three children, and a naughty puppy. She loves the smell of rainy days, hot chocolate, and old books, preferably all at once. She is a former speech teacher, theater director, and enjoyed a brief but disastrous career as a door-to-door pollster. In her spare time, Jennifer tends to panic, wondering what she has forgotten to do that has allowed her any spare time.
This book completely took my breath away. It may be Nielsen's best, and I'm someone who swears by "The False Prince."
An incredible look at the work of Jewish resistance fighters during the Holocaust, "Resistance" pulls no punches - there is no sugar-coating of the atrocities committed by the Nazis, and the atmosphere of terror, suspicion, and desperation. And yet, this book is filled with hope, and pride, friendship and love. It's honestly incredible that a story featuring such a dark time has so much care and feeling.
And, my favorite, Nielsen manages to capture the pride and connectedness of the Jewish people. Chaya is fueled by the idea of saving as many of her people as she can. Others cling to their faith, finding solace in that and their people in the face of inhumane savagery.
This book is a genuine gem, and I hope it gets the recognition it deserves, and makes its way into curriculums and classrooms.
Resistance by Jennifer A Nielsen. WoW WoW WoW! Powerful WWII story. Lots of action and loyalty to each other but to the Jewish people. Such love and tragedy. Chaya and Ester were amazing heroic ladies! They were all brave, heroic resistance fighters within the Jewish Ghettos.
Fascinating book about couriers- Jewish youth who looked "Aryan" enough to smuggle things into and out of the ghettos- and the Warsaw ghetto uprising. It took me a bit to get into this book, I really didn't have a sense for who Chaya was until the book was well underway. But when it got going, it was very intense and heartbreaking.
You all know I'm a little bit disappointed with the way that The Traitor's Game wrapped up. I admit, I still have some beef with that. But this book. THIS BOOK. This one came first, so it can't really Make Amends considering it dates before TWC, but...it sort of makes amends.
Chaya is probably the least interesting protagonist I've read about in a long time. That's the biggest downside to this book and I want to start off with it. If you're looking for Nielsen's trademark sarcastic, plucky, hand-to-mouth, me-against-the-world protagonists, this is not the place you'll find one. Chaya is not Audra or Gerda (plz tell me that name is right) or Kestra or Simon or Jaron or Nic. I wished there was more about her from the get-go.
However, I do think that in the end, it was a purposeful choice to not give her too much of a personality. Chaya is a blank slate because she is there to represent dozens, hundreds of other resistance fighters who really lived. She has the backstory of a thousand others and the front-facing goals anyone could have had within those bunkers. Because we are seeing the story through her eyes, and therefore, through those of the real people who did the things she did. And while it makes the story a little weaker, it's a brilliant choice on Nielsen's part, when given the thought it deserves.
With a flat protagonist, the side characters really get to shine. The minor ones, the real ones who say the real lines quoted in the epilogue, are firecrackers. And I'd be amiss not to mention Esther, the shy, terrified fighter who has so much more to her than anyone thinks.
The plot is nothing we haven't seen before from a WWII book, but it gives a new perspective: the Jews of Poland who were willing to take up arms to protect themselves and their people. This was a real event. This story consists of a million smaller stories pieced together. And that's what makes it beautiful.
I cried at the end. This book made me truly teary. It may not be the pinnacle of storytelling, but it has so much strength and courage in the face of impossible odds. So yes, I recommend this.
In many ways, this book was awesome. Jewish resistance fighters! Kids! Accurate descriptions of how little help the Allied forces were when atrocities were being committed against Jews and they described zero Jewish refugees as "too many!"
But something felt off to me. Maybe it's because I was raised Jewish, but I didn't find this book particularly Jewish. The mentions of the Shema seemed like they were written by an outsider (perhaps because I've only heard it as the Shema and not the Shema Yisrael as Nielsen writes). The Shema is also almost always sung and, though the tune was in my head whenever I heard it mentioned, I don't know if Nielsen meant all of the iterations to be sung. The frequent mention of a meal as The Last Supper was cute, but an obviously Christian reference point. To use that term without any nod to the fact that Jews don't really care about the Last Supper felt like an oversight. It was also odd that Yiddish was mentioned often, but rarely if ever included.
I will also admit: I'm scared that people will read this book and look down upon those who were killed without a fight. I have relatives who died at the hands of civilians during peak anti-Semitism in Europe. I'm sure I have relatives who died by Nazi hands. I'm happy to see a book with so many Jewish characters with agency, but I don't want to think of my ancestors as any less brave because they didn't become Akiva resistance fighters.
I was very excited to be the first to get this from my library only a few days after it released. I love the point of view this book took. I loved zooming into the eyes of Chaya, seeing how hard it would be to watch her world crumbling out from beneath her. The loneliness that was portrayed was so deep rooted I felt it for the characters. I rooted for them all and was hit by the realistic flow of relationships. I was on the edge of my seat through the last part and feared for all the characters lives. The only thing that I didn't like was Chaya's rather apathetic view on her beliefs. She is standing for the Jews, but she doesn't really care about her faith. I was expecting this from a secular author, but it was still sad to watch her just brush off everything with a "God will understand." That conclusion was bittersweet but really good.
Overall, a very good book, but a little weak in her faith.
Wow! I finally finished this one! First off, this was a fantastic, heartrending, amazing, inspiring read! It took me a while to finish because I got distracted with other books...not because this book was boring. Okay, with that out of the way...wow! I love Jennifer Nielsen's writing style, actually after reading her books I decided to try first person for the first time and fell in love! Chaya's story is so...just like I can't describe how amazing. I didn't realize all that couriers did during WWII or how horrible the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was...definitely painted a clearer picture for me. A horrible reality presented in a way that just...makes you keep reading. You're learning so much history but you don't realize it because its peppered in and done so well! I seriously loved this book and just can't find the right words to describe my emotions and thoughts at this moment. Chaya was a lovable MC, Esther was an enduring Side character....and so many other great and evil characters came across the pages and I just love how Chaya never gave up! Even when things seemed hopeless, pointless, and doomed. Man, I really loved this book!
This book is a true gem! It is Young Adult Historical Fiction, with enough true events and people to have made it a eye-opening, learning experience for me. The main character, Chaya, is a teenage girl. However, the book doesn’t go the route of some that have the teenage angst and star-crossed lovers. (Of course, not that it makes those stories all bad!) This is a story about the courageous young people of a resistance group during WWII (Ghettos and the Holocaust of the Jewish people) I had never heard of called, Akiva. This novel is about this Jewish resistance group and the job of its couriers, among other things. I loved it and recommend it highly! Especially for high schools who still teach about the Holocaust (sadly, fewer and fewer here in the US all the time). If, when reading, you feel some of the action seems a bit far-fetched or over the top - be sure to read or listen to the explanations at the very end. I learned a lot!
This story was one of those that you can't believe ever could've happened - but it did. Many times over.
Chaya was the courageous main character who I really wish I could meet in real life. She lived to save lives and wasn't worried about dying in the fight. Her love for her family and her religion was really amazing to read about.
Esther was probably my favorite character, though. She was often ridiculed because of her parents and her background, but she tried her best and learned from her mistakes. She stood proud in the face of adversity and didn't complain when circumstances were hard. Her character arc was inspiring, and I want to be as brave as she was.
The plot wasn't perfect and was a little bit confusing sometimes, but the overall story was beautiful and heartbreaking.
This one wasn't an easy read -- World War II was and will always be really horrible, but the lesson of standing up for the right was well worth it.
YA book following the life of Chaya Lindner, who following the disappearance of her younger siblings and inability to convince her parents to leave their the Tarnow ghetto, Chaya joins the Jewish Resistance. Using her blonde hair and fair complexion, she smuggles food, medical supplies and eventually guns into and babies out of various ghettos in Poland during the Nazi occupation. The highlights of the book are the inner turmoil faced by Jews and non-Jews during traumatic times and events, especially the failed Warsaw rebellion. Nielsen's afterword is also not to be missed. The reason for 3 stars is that I did not really care for Chaya, despite her bravery, or the other main characters, who kept appearing and disappearing.
As a MG book, I give this 4⭐️. 4⭐️ for content, but 3⭐️ for writing. I found the idea for the story much better than the execution. It wasn't what I expected from this author as I really enjoyed her Ascendance Trilogy plotline and it's characters. I did not sense an urgency to keep reading until 3/4 of the way through when I finally felt a connection with the protagonist. I did love the angle of this story, though, so that carried me through.
Oh. My. Word. This was by far one of the BEST books I have ever read. With The False Prince around there too. I laughed, I cried, yeah- mostly cried, but simply could not put it down. It was glued to my hands. I read it in one day. It was AMAZING. Thank you, Jaiden, for letting me borrow this!!!!
If you ask me, this book is so VERY lucky to get a 4.31 average. I hated this book for so many reasons, and I didn't even finish it- I didn't even get halfway through!
To begin with, how about how boring it was? I found that the book was very slow and repetitive, but you can only write about World War II for so long.
Secondly, Chaya was such a brat. She couldn't appreciate good help when it came to her. And those other weird teenagers that thought it was okay to die? How even did they make it into the book?
Third, another reason I was SO bored with this book was because I was disappointed in it. Ms. Nielsen's other two books that I read- The False Prince and The Runaway King- were EXTREMELY amazing. I was hoping for the same review out of this one.
Lastly, I hated how they pretended like Catholics were evil. I mean, she was EMBARASSED to have a crucfix around her neck? "Even though she went to Catholic mass, I hoped she would still be a Jew when she grew up." Honestly....
To conclude, I was very disappointed in Resistance and would not ever finish it. Those of you who were patient enough to read my entire review: Thank you so, so much and have a great day! :)
AUDIO PERFORMED BY⇢ Jesse Vilinsky BOOK COVER⇢ The cover is spectacular. SETTING⇢ Throughout Poland SOURCE⇢ Libby Audiobook (Library) AUDIOBOOK LENGTH⇢ 9 hours, 28 minutes
Billed as Middle-Grade Young Adult, this holds no punches when it comes to the atrocities inflicted on the Jewish people of Germany and Poland. This book, in particular, revolves around the country of Poland, more than Germany. Featuring Chaya (the C is silent when it is pronounced) who I liked and didn't like at different intervals throughout. Esther...or maybe her name was Hester...was kind of forgettable which is kind of obvious...because I'm not even sure what her name is.
The story started out strong for me, I was really feeling it, but somewhere along the way it lost something, it felt bogged down, a little sluggish even...it could be just the subject matter itself, though. Overall, it was a decent look at the resistance fighters in WWII and how difficult it was for them. I'm glad I took the time to listen to it. Jesse Vilinsky's narration was performed very well.
"All people are equal brothers; Brown, White, Black and Yellow. To separate peoples, colors, races, Is but an act of cheating!" (Also on my blog ) I just finished this book, and I still feel overwhelmed (there will be typos). Resistance is about the final stand of many Polish Jewish resistors as they refused to be swept away by the final solution without a fight. I’ve read a lot of books about “Aryan” or Polish rescuers, and Jewish survival, I’ve read about fighting for your country, and your beliefs, but there is a unique twinge to Resistance— in it’s futility. “Even I found myself smiling more than usual, sometimes laughing as I worked among other resistance members. And eventually, I understood why. It was because the ending our story was already written.” This book changed the way I thought about the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, and the way I think about victory. “Ultimately, the Warsaw Ghetto fighters held out longer than the entire country of Poland did against the initial German invasion.” Chaya is a teenage Jewish girl who’s radiant youth and been destroyed by not just the war, but by facing the brunt of discrimination. From the Nazis and her countrymen alike, her innocence is ripped away as she discovers that the people who used to show her respect, kindness, walk the streets with her, travel in the same train cars, now spurned them and surrendered her people to the Nazi’s monstrosity. She is confronted with force of the most nefarious hate that world perhaps has ever scene and turns her convictions to resistance, not in the hopes of victory over the invaders, but the impenetrable wall of death. This book does more than show the dangers of resististing Nazism, but the near hopelessness of it. Success for these Jewish rebels becomes not about dispelling the German forces, but spitting in the face of evil. That to me made reading this book very special— the tone echos the rage of one kind hearted Jewish girl, who just wanted to live a good life with her family. “I wanted to tell her everything if the world would only give me a chance.”
This book is hard, no denying it. But it also is strangely satisfying. The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, which before I had only regarded with pity at a failed resistance attempt, now seems superhumanly heroic.
Resistance more than the story of good, but the story of strength. It doesn’t fall back on the old “Love is stronger than hate” motif, which naïvly implies a guarantee of morality, but asserts a rallying cry. If we want love to be stronger than hate, we must make it that way. “It was a reminder that hatred runs deeper and wider than a single race or nationality, and if love was not stronger, hated would run through the generations. I intended to be stronger.”
Just typing this sends a surge of emotion through me. That passage summarizes so much why books like this touch me so deeply. Of course I loved this book; there were moments in the story I sometimes found cliche and plot twists I thought too manufactured, but the driving message through this book overruled all of that.
I particularly appreciated the homage to the historical Jewish heroes; I’ve always held a special reverence for Mordechai Anielewicz and Mira Fuchrer and it’s wonderful to finally see them eulogized.
Loved this book!! Well, I love anything by Jennifer A. Nielsen! XD So, this was a great historical fiction (?) book! Content: Spiritual: The main character is a Jew. The Nazis are killing Jews. So, Jews. Christians. Catholics are mentioned. Language: N/A Well, none listed. Nielsen does a good job of just saying "I cursed" etc. Romance: 2 kisses on main character's cheek. Violence/ blood: Well, this book took place in World war 2, so... There was guns, bombs, fighting, blood, death, danger, and stuff like that. Other: Wine I think is mentioned... Really good book to read when you are learning about World war 2 in school! Or just for fun!
Really loved this book. Jennifer A. Neilson is always a fantastic writer, and I think I love her historical fiction just as much as I do her fantasy. While I personally didn't connect with the characters in this quite as much as I have in some of her other books, I still really loved all of them, and was waiting of the edge of my seat to see if they would get out of the continuous peril.
Not only did this book have likable characters, it was incredibly well-informed. Jennifer obviously did her research unlike some authors, and the result is that the reader really felt like they were in Nazi occupied Poland, in the ghettos, fighting for freedom. And an added plus: no inaccurate propaganda and sentiment was added to this book.
Overall, a really solid WWII novel that I would highly recommend. 4.5/5 stars
What a powerful story of courage and bravery of the Jewish people during WWII. I loved learning about the true events that took place during WWII through this fictional story. I never knew about the couriers and what they risked for their people. I also didn't really know much about the resistance fighters within the ghettos. I thought this book did a great job at showing the Jews' courage as they suffered at the hands of the Germans and their own countrymen, yet risked their lives to help each other. Many of the Jews knew that their resistance movements wouldn't "win," but it wasn't about winning; the goal was resistance and standing up to the Nazis and showing the world that they wouldn't be silenced. Because of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the Allies finally decided to stop turning a blind eye to what was happening to the Jews in Europe.
OH. MY. GOD. WHYYYYYYYY, WHYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!! Okay, so this book is *SPECTACULAR* and *BREATHTAKING*. The ending shoooooook me. So first of all, the praise. This is a story that deserves attention because it's real events that deserves memorial. The characters were terrifically plotted out and carefully made. The plot, of course, was the highlight. I love that you can write beautiful historical fiction that is very accurate. Secondly, the criticism, I can't really think of anything right now but until I do, your book is perfectly imperfect. Thank you for telling the stories of the brave heroes and about the Holocaust, with both sadness and hope-one balancing out the other-because its spot-on.
This wasn't as enjoyable as the author's other historical fiction novel, A Night Divided, that I have read. I didn't like this main character. The story takes place during WWII. The events in the story are horrific, both real and imagined. There is a bit of a happy ending, but it is mostly left open.
This book did not sit well with me. Maybe the heavy repetition of Anielewicz’s “not all sheep go like lambs to the slaughter” sentiment was well-intended, but it increasingly came across as a judgement each time. The author’s ending disclaimer that she makes “no judgments upon anyone for the choices they had to make” did not assuage my concern.
It was obvious to me, someone who is not Jewish, that this was written by someone who is not Jewish and is not as familiar with the culture and religion as one would expect from a story told by a Jewish child about Jewish people. If it were a subtle enough lack of familiarity that only Jewish people picked up on it, maybe that would pass. This was just too conspicuous.
I can see why this book would have value in attracting middle grade readers to learning about the Holocaust. The action scenes are well-written.
Overall, though, the characters are flat and nearly static and many of their insights are not believable for their ages and positions. The story has an overabundance of historical context for a low-ranking child soldier stuck in a war zone and tries to cover too much time and too many events.
Received an ARC of this at a conference. As an avid reader of WWII historical fiction, I appreciated this tale of Jewish Resistance fighters in Poland, with the main character Chaya moving through various city ghettos, culminating in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Within the story there is a lot of information about the evolution of the Final Solution, how difficult it was to mount any kind of resistance, and the bravery of anyone that did.
What I could not get used to was Chaya's "voice". I found her way too wordy as she made her way through this horrific life. I could see it as a device to impart the facts about the Holocaust, as well as a teen girl's approach to it (she is still a teen after all). But for me it diluted the power of the story. There were a few exciting moments, but then I felt it would go to calm as Chaya worked her way through it. Maybe it's just me.
You'll find a plethora of WWII historical fictions on the shelf, but Resistance is a children's WWII historical fiction that all ages can enjoy. This quick read is action packed and inspiring. Chaya, the main character, is the type of character you want to read more; she is a strong girl willing to do hard things. If you add a well paced story and an excellent storyline to the mix you have a fantastic read. -Megan G.