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Someday We Will Fly

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  633 ratings  ·  137 reviews
Warsaw, Poland. The year is 1940 and Lillia is 15 when her mother, Alenka, disappears and her father flees with Lillia and her younger sister, Naomi, to Shanghai, one of the few places that will accept Jews without visas. There they struggle to make a life; they have no money, there is little work, no decent place to live, a culture that doesn't understand them. And always ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published January 22nd 2019 by Viking Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 3.76  · 
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 ·  633 ratings  ·  137 reviews

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Kate Olson
Dec 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Powerful historical fiction. The fact that I just read an excellent adult novel that was about this exact same topic and time period may have taken my appreciation of it from love to like, however ~ if you want an outstanding adult story of Jewish refugees in Shanghai during WWII, definitely read “The Song of the Jade Lily” by Kirsty Manning.

ETA: 2020 Sydney Taylor Award (Young Adult). The Sydney Taylor Book Award is presented annually to outstanding books for children and teens that authentical
Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell
Found this in my closet while cleaning! Just added it to my YA to-read pile.

I don't think any of my friends have reviewed this book either!
Samm | Sassenach the Book Wizard
I don't know how to explain this book other than "touching." It truly is a very different type of story and experience that Lillian goes through . The cultural and language I pact alone but then add I. Your mother, hovering Japanese soldiers, poverty and having to step up at 15 to take care of your sister who clearly has some just can't not feel for her. I loved how Lillian makes this effort to keep doing little things that remind her of home or her mom but then she also says ...more
Feb 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The author of FOREIGN BABES IN BEIJING and BIG GIRL SMALL, Rachel DeWoskin, now brings a new novel to the stage --- SOMEDAY WE WILL FLY. This novel captures an unknown moment in history during World War II and the Holocaust: Jewish refugees in Shanghai.

Before May 17th, 1940, Lillia's parents, Bercik and Alenka, were circus performers in Warsaw. Lillia had a healthy younger sister, Naomi, and lived in a comfortable home with her family. On May 17th, 1940, Lillia’s whole life is turned over. Becau
Oct 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
An increasing number of books are highlighting a lesser known aspect of World War II: the Jews who escaped Europe and found their way to Shanghai. Desperate times make people act in ways they might otherwise never consider, as Lillia Kazka discovers in “Someday We Will Fly” by Rachel DeWoskin (Viking). Lillia, her father and younger sister flee Poland for Shanghai, which was occupied by the Japanese army. Lillia’s mother was supposed to leave with them, but disappeared when the police raided wha ...more
Amy Soma
Apr 28, 2019 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book. It highlights a piece of history about which I knew very little and the story seems like a good idea. It was just such a slog and I did not find the writing compelling.
Liza Wiemer
An outstanding audiobook.

Powerful, emotional, heartbreaking and heartfelt story about WWII, the Holocaust, and the Jews who fled to Shanghai.
That author's note was incredible!

Feb 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is an amazing, well-researched, and well-written book about the immigration of Jews from Poland to Shanghai during World War II when China was occupied by the Japanese army. Lillia, a fifteen-year-old girl, leaves Warsaw accompanied by her father and baby sister after having waited almost too far into the Nazi occupation for escape because her parents persisted in believing that fleeing was not necessary. Sadly, Lillia's mother is left behind in a murky turn of events that resulted from a N ...more
Trigger warnings: war, death, Holocaust, racism, death of a loved one, antisemitism, serious illness, grooming.

I desperately wanted to love this because, like, it's a World War II story that's very different to what we usually get in YA. Yes, it's about a Jewish girl fleeing Poland and the Holocaust with her family, but this time they flee to China. A China that's already been occupied by Japan for several years.

But ultimately, this was just a little too bleak for my liking. I mean, I'm not sa
Mar 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Rachel DeWoskin it is historical fiction. Some day we will fly talks about a 15 year old girl who lived in Poland with her family and then one day her parents were performing and the German soldiers came and raided there building and took her mother so they had to go to china without her even though she didn't want to leave her behind. My favorite part of the book is when she meets a Chinese boy at the school she goes to and starts helping him with his work. I recommend this book to anyone who l ...more
Yet another WWII historical setting that I knew little, if anything about. European Jewish refugees fled by train and boat to Shanghai, China. Struggling to stay alive, they fought to keep their faith traditions alive and create a community there under Japanese occupation. A beautiful, wrenching story of multicultural friendship—really, family—forged through the depravity of war and yearning for a home that may no longer exist.
May 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Truly a heartbreaking account of a Jewish girl, most of her family having fled to Shanghai, the last place that will allow them entry. I was not aware of Jews fleeing to Shanghai, and while they didn't jump from the frying pan into the fire, they jumped right next to the japanese. Worth looking into actual accounts, which are neatly documented at the end of the book ...more
Paige Green
Jan 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Disclaimer: I received this book from Viking Books. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Rating: 4/5

Publication Date: January 22, 2019

Genre: Historical Fiction

Recommended Age: 16 (trigger warnings for sex trafficking/abandonment)

Publisher: Viking Books

Pages: 320

Amazon Link

Synopsis: Warsaw, Poland. The year is 1940 and Lillia is 15 when her mother, Alenka, disappears and her father flees with Lillia and her younger sister, Naomi, to Shanghai, one of the few places that will accept Jews without visas.
Sasha Rosado
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A book you can’t put down! I had no idea that 23,000 Jews had escaped to Shanghai during the Nazi Regime. Lilia’s story is one that could have happened with people much like the characters in this book. Surviving and helping her family stay alive as a 14 year old girl was beyond scary, but she did it to the best of her ability. The relationships she built with girls at school, her best friend Wei who was Chinese, and even her nightly job, all helped her continue to grow and learn how to live in ...more
Lisa Bernstein
Dec 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
I liked that this book illustrated a part of the Holocaust that is rarely approached in historical fiction: the Jews who were able to flee to Shanghai. The main character, a teenage girl named Lillia, tells the story of fleeing Poland, a distant father, missing her mother, and coping with a baby sister with some kind of developmental delays. The description is good, and yet it felt like some characters and events were thrown in without adequate explanation or development. The ending was predicta ...more
Nov 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Maybe it's my fault I've been reading too much WWII fiction lately. I enjoyed this book, but after The Girl in the Blue Coat and Grenade, it lacked drive. The premise was great - I had no idea Jews evacuated to Shanghai - but the focus meandered. It was a refugee story, a war story, a lost mother story, a baby with a developmental disability story, an almost-prostitution story, and then, in a bizarre plot twist, an [spoiler] abducted captive story [/spoiler].

A second tier recommendation.
Patti Cook
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Heart-wrenching story of WWII I hadn't heard of before - That Japan allowed Jewish refugees during their occupation of Shanghai. Seemingly very well researched, very detailed of what life was like and the means of survival while the war creeped closer and finally arrived. Perhaps a little too many issues and unrealistic "happy" ending, but a compelling and beautiful book nonetheless. ...more
Carol Moore Kollar
Aug 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
Lillia's Jewish family is forced to flee the Nazis in Warsaw and sail to Shanghai. As a young teen refugee, she must take care of her sister, learn the language and try to find work when not in school. A story of survival. ...more
Jada Coburn
Nov 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was really good. It was a very heartwarming book.
Katrin von Martin
Dec 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
To be completely honest, Holocaust-era novels aren’t usually my jam. I usually find them to be overwrought, cliché, and overdone. Yes, I’m a horrible, heartless person. Yet, I was drawn to Someday We Will Fly by Rachel DeWoskin because it offered something different. In my university days, I read a couple novels about adolescents fleeing with their Jewish families, but never one that featured a Polish family seeking refuge in Shanghai. I wasn’t aware that Japanese-occupied Shanghai had been an o ...more
Mar 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Interesting premise. Different than most WWII Jewish survival stories in that this one was set in Shanghai. Story was sometimes disturbing with what refugees had to do to survive and sometimes hopeful with ways they managed to retain their humanity.
May 15, 2019 rated it liked it
This book is really good, I really enjoyed it, I wish it had more chinese characters in it though, it is hard to explain why I didn't like it. ...more
Aug 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ehs
Evocative, powerful, hard at times to read. Just as Sepetys' Between Shades of Gray, this book opens up a period in history that I knew nothing of. A satisfying if realistic ending. ...more
Allison Liu
Jul 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Honestly, I generally avoid World War II historical fiction novels for a few reasons, mostly because I've read so many for school, and because they mostly all have the same, general plotline. Jewish refugees somehow fighting against the Nazis to survive, and attempt to escape going to concentration camps. What drew me to this book was not because the main character was a Polish Jew, but because her family escapes to Shanghai, China to avoid the Nazis. As most of the book is set in Shanghai, the ...more
Patricia Powell
Sep 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult

Following an evening performance as acrobat/dancers with the Stanislav Circus, teenaged Lillia, her father, and her baby sister flee Poland, as planned. But her mother, in the chaos, goes missing. The three members of the Jewish Kazka family head for Shanghai in 1941 in “Someday We Will Fly” (Viking 2019) by Rachel DeWoskin. I hadn’t known that Shanghai was a refuge for Jewish people. It turns out that the Chinese once considered Jewish people mystical—and therefore desirable.
By foot, by train
Maya Crystal
Decent book. Really interesting historical context. Plot was meh. Some of the characters were good but many were under developed.
Mar 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Emotional, raw, beautiful. I felt like I was reading a piece of art rather than a YA novel. There were so many quotes in this book that evoked so much meaning - the author did an excellent job transforming this character, truly displaying her thoughts, desires, concerns, passions. Throughout the book, I became fearful when she was afraid, relieved when she found hope. I felt like I could truly sense her emotions and connect with her in a way that made me want to keep reading. The ending was sati ...more
Jamie Gregory
Sep 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful story highlighting Jewish refugees who fled to Shanghai during WWII. Something I knew nothing about. Lillia, her sister Naomi, and father flee Warsaw but are separated from her mother Alenka. However, they have to use their tickets to escape to Shanghai while they have the chance and just hope that Alenka will find them. DeWoskin captures what it means for Lillia to help her family survive, changing her in ways that she could never have imagined before the war. She tries to hang on to ...more
Jul 24, 2020 rated it liked it
When I added this to my reading list I was unaware that it is marketed as young adult literature. Even so, the story about a Jewish circus family fleeing Warsaw for Shanghai is touching (especially since I’m reading it while moping about being separated from loved ones because of COVID lockdowns) and the history is well researched. I found the dialogue sections somewhat uneven and repetitive, and would have been interested to have been led into a few more Hongkou alleyways that have been left un ...more
Sep 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
This book surprised me a lot. I consider myself as somewhat well-versed in WWII and the history of it. I don’t know everything (and I certainly can’t label all the different planes used in both the Pacific theater and in Europe, like my grandpa), but I feel like I’m not clueless. There has been some absolutely stellar historical fiction that has come out in the past several years about WWII and if you haven’t read any of it, then you are sorely missing out. However, as an educated and intelligen ...more
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Rachel DeWoskin is the author of Foreign Babes in Beijing, a memoir about her inadvertent notoriety as the star of a Chinese soap opera, and a novel, Repeat After Me. She lives in New York City and Beijing and is at work on her fourth book, Statutory.

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