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The Young Survivors

4.48  ·  Rating details ·  182 ratings  ·  66 reviews
What if everyone you loved was suddenly taken away? Five siblings struggle to stay together as the tides of war threaten to tear them apart. When Germany invades and occupies France in the Second World War, the five Laskowski children lose everything: their home, their Jewish community and most devastatingly their parents who are abducted in the night. There is no safe pla ...more
ebook, 410 pages
Published July 23rd 2020 by Duckworth Books
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ʚϊɞ Shelley's ʚϊɞ Book Nook
This is going to be short because I seem to be lacking words for how much I loved this book. In fact, saying I loved it almost seems wrong because reading this novel was so poignant and such an experience that...I don't have the proper words.

This book is startling, horrifying, and yet the story is told in a charming way. Debra Barnes' prose is lyrical she is truly gifted as a writer. The beauty of the writing, almost like poetry, carries the story along and takes you with it effortlessly.

My Review

The Young Survivors concerns the children of the Laskowski family – eldest son, Pierre, his younger brothers, Samuel and Claude, and his two young sisters, twins Georgette and Henriette. Alternating between the first person narratives of Pierre, Samuel and occasionally Georgette, their experiences are related without any literary flourishes, reflecting both their youth and the fact they don’t always understand, at least to begin with, the full import or implications of the things they s
Jun 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley-arcs
Thank you to NetGalley and Duckworth Books for the arc of The Young Survivors by Debra Barnes.

Thank you Debra Barnes for writing such a tear jerking, emotional and gripping book which i really enjoyed.

The Young Survivors is the tear-jerking story of which involves 5 siblings in which are all Jewish and where raised in France when Germans took over the country. They are forced in which to flee their apartment in Metz and relocated to the city of Sarry. They ended up living in a house with extend
The Book Club
Oct 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Laskowski children, during the Second World War, have to endure the painful fate that comes with being Jews. With their parents arrested, they have to go their separate ways for a chance at survival. Until the war is over and with the hope of being one day reunited.

Even if we study at school about the Holocaust and we have watched, probably, hundreds of movies about it, I still can’t shake the dreadful feelings I feel when reading the survivors testimonies.. this book based on the author’s
Heidi Marvin
Mar 25, 2020 rated it liked it
The Young Survivors is the story of five Jewish siblings that were raised in France when Germans occupied the country. The family is first forced to flee their apartment in Metz and relocated to Sarry. There they lived in a house with extended family and were quite happy despite the father having lost his business. Eventually all the adults are arrested and hauled off to concentration camps. This is the story of what happens to the children.

It did take me a couple of chapters to get invested in
Jul 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
"The Young Survivors is a tribute to the 76,000 French Jews who lost their lives in the Holocaust" - Author Debra Barns

After reading the acknowledgements, it made it more touching and heartbreaking the similarities Debra incorporated to mirror her moms life as a Holocaust survivor. This read was effortless. I enjoyed the story alternating perspectives of the Laskowski children since not many books capture that viewpoint especially Jewish children. I think I hyped the plot too much so it fell a l
Little Local
Aug 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Genocide doesn’t start with concentration camps and gas chambers. Hate doesn’t appear from nowhere. People need to take a stand against racism, whenever they see it.

Three statements that you would think would be perfectly obvious in 2020. Yet, as I started reading this book, a storm was raging on the internet, where rap artist Wiley, the ‘Godfather of Grime’ was indulging in an hours-long rant against Jews, unchecked by either Twitter or Instagram, supported by his followers and ignored by most
Aug 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Young Survivors by Debra Barnes is a marvellous historical debut novel. It is completely absorbing and I could not put it down.
The novel is grounded in fact as it is based on the author’s mother’s wartime experiences. It is a tribute to the indomitable human spirit and to the six million who perished in the holocaust.
Set between 1938-1945 in France the story follows the plight of a Jewish family. There are some truly heart-breaking scenes to read. The five siblings have a strong bond and lov
Cheryl Sokoloff
Jul 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Laskowskis were content living in Metz France 🇫🇷, (very close to the Maginot line). In 1938, brothers Pierre, Claude and Samuel, visited their mom in the hospital to welcome the newest members of their family, twins Georgette and Henriette on the day of their birth. At this same time, the family knew the invasion of France by #Germany 🇩🇪 was inevitable.

While some members of the extended Laskowski family left France for England and America, Mr. Laskowski, Albert (father), chose to remain in
What Fern Reads
Jul 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
What if everyone you loved was suddenly taken away? Five siblings struggle to stay together as the tides of war threaten to tear them apart.

When Germany invades and occupies France in the Second World War, the five Laskowski children lose everything: their home, their Jewish community and most devastatingly their parents who are abducted in the night.

There is no safe place left for them to evade the Nazis, but they cling together, never certain when the authorities will come for what is left of
Aug 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
From the first chapter, I was drawn into this wonderfully warm, brave family. The story, which primarily follows the journey of the children, is totally engrossing and there was no way I could put it down until I knew the fate of each and every one.
Set in wartime France, The Young Survivors visits the less-often told story of the French Jewish experience. I was amazed at how quickly this family’s life was turned upside-down, and how they went from being a close-knit, multi-generational household
Lesley Margolin
Jul 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Historical and compelling

I couldn’t put this book down - as hard as it is to read a book about the Holocaust - because it intrigues the reader to know what happened to this French family. Well written, the characters become your friends and you follow each one with hope that they will survive.
The history of France during WW2 is not one which Is generally covered and I learned much about the attitude of the French during this time.
Happily a descendant was able to write the book - something that
Jul 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was given an ARC of this book for a review but that last few months have been crazy and I finally got to the book a couple of days ago. I thought I would read a few chapters one afternoon but once I got started I stayed up the whole night reading. I Had to know what happened to each child.

The book tells the story of the five Laskowski children and their family in France during World War II. The book is told by the various children as their experiences varied so widely. Separated from their par
Louise Marks
Aug 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Young Survivors is sad but uplifting, compelling and gripping. Although set during the darkness of the Holocaust, the book is about the children of the Laskowski family rather than the horrors of the war itself.
A real page turner with vivid and memorable characters, I read the book in less than a week, not able to put it down.
Highly recommend for all ages - thank you Debra Barnes for a wonderful debut novel.

Dec 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this moving historical novel - a Holocaust survival story of five Jewish children after their parents were abducted. The sory is fiction but based on a true story of the author's mother.

It is beautifully written. The characters are well written, realistic and relatable. I cant say that it was an enjoyable read, but it was a worthwhile read.

I certainly recommend it.

Thank you to netgalley, the publisher and the author for sending me this ARC.
Pam Robertson
Jul 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Inspired by a true story, this novel drips with authenticity. It takes a look at the persecution of Jewish families during the Second World War through the eyes of children. Taking the perspectives of various siblings who were living in France at the time, you see the callousness of their treatment and the barbarity which occurred. You share with them, the inexplicable nature of what was happening and how powerless they were to avoid it. Their innocence makes the cruelty all the starker.
I was
Jul 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An absolutely beautiful, yet haunting book. Based on the author's own mother's story this book tells of five siblings and their journey through WWII. It's very difficult to imagine adults during this time, let alone children. And for these children to have survived so long without their parents is amazing. The author did a wonderful job of telling their stories without being maudlin and yet making you feel attached to these children. Beautiful job!
I received a free copy of this book from Netgall
Debie Orrell
Jul 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
This is a fiction story based on the true story of the surviving of Debra Barnes Jewish mother of occupied France during WWII. This is written from the Laskowski children’s perspective as both parents and other close family members were arrested by the Nazi’s early in the war. Pierre, Samuel, and twins Georgette and Henriette.

Amazing read detailing the experiences, and hardships of the children taking care of each other after all adults have been removed and the hard decisions that must be made
Aug 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Such an emotional page turner. Couldn’t put it down. There’s definitely a follow on book with the lives of the surviving children after the war.
Kiran Sandhu
Dec 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A book worth reading!
Aayushi Gupta
Apr 08, 2020 rated it it was ok
2.5 Stars.

The Young Survivors is the story of harrowing experiences faced by the Laskowski family, especially the five children aged 4 to 16 years old when their parents are arrested by the Gestapo in the Nazi ruled France. Based on the story of the author’s mother, the story recounts the experiences of the siblings through the years 1938 to 1945.

The story in itself is deeply moving. Narrated from the point of view of the siblings i.e. the young survivors of the war, who were separated one-by-on
Charlie Sandino
Jul 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book "The Young Survivors" is one of the best books written about a family during the Holocaust that I have read in a long time! It is the story of the family of Polish decent living in Metz when the story begins.
The author has put together a very good story telling, which keeps you want to continue reading it. Storys that took place during WW II were very dramtic and often so barbaric that, it became scary and quite horrible.
Here Debra Barnes tells us with genuine and loveable characters t
Mar 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Young Survivors by Debra Barnes is a haunting story of five young Jewish siblings that end up being alone after their parents and adult family members are taken away by Gestapo during the occupation in France during WWII.

The harrowing journey that these children went through, and all that they lost, was horrible and heartbreaking. The chapters alternated with different siblings and the reader was able to see those alternate viewpoints which added to the complexity of the novel. We see their
Amy Louise
Jul 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Debra Barnes’ debut novel The Young Survivors casts light on two elements of the Holocaust often overlooked by fiction – the plight of Jews in occupied France, and the experiences of Jewish children placed into orphanages following the disappearance or arrest of their parents.

Inspired by the survival of Debra’s own mother during the Holocaust, the novel tells the story of the five Laskowski children. Forced to flee their home in Metz shortly before the Nazi invasion of France, the family is furt
Brittany (brittany.and.the.beast)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 15, 2020 rated it liked it
The Young Survivors is the story of five Jewish siblings, aged 4 to 16 years old, and the heart-rending experienced they faced during WWII. Living in France, they were forced to flee from their home in Metz to Sarry where they shared a house with extended family. Although their father lost his business they were still quite happy and untouched by the war. Then the adults are arrested one by one and hauled off to concentration camps. The rest of the book recounts the childrens’ experiences from 1 ...more
Nick Lampert
Aug 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is an incredibly impressive debut novel which tells the story of five Jewish children separated from their parents in Vichy France. Some of the family will perish in the Holocaust, some will survive. The novel is the story of the children, and we share their many tribulations and adventures. Debra Barnes has done a wonderful job, in so many ways: it is compelling as a narrative (I was always wanting to know what next), beautifully written in an unadorned style which seems just right, and it ...more
Alisa Heimann
Apr 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Young Survivors opens up a window on a part of the Holocaust narrative that is often overlooked, that of the fate of the Jews in France. Recounted through the eyes of three children, the reader bears witness to the confusion, anxiety and ultimate despair as they watch their family slowly disintegrate as the events of World War II unfold.

This book will bring you to tears but you will also share in the joy that even the darkest moments of life often bring. It is both immersive and compelling w
Shirley McAllister
Orphans and War

Not a lot is written about the orphanages full of Jewish children whose parents have been arrested by the Nazi's and sent away. While many Jewish families were rounded up and sent away together, some parents were arrested and children left to fend for themselves. These children often ended up in orphanages set up around the country,

This story is written about a Jewish family that was torn apart by the war. The parents sent to camps and the eldest son still a child was left to care
Jean Kolinofsky
Jun 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Debra Barnes draws from family history as well as correspondence with Holocaust survivors to write a moving story of the Laskowski family. Forced from their home in the early days of WWII, the adults are soon taken, leaving the five children under the care of Pierre, the eldest. While he struggles to feed them and keep them safe, he realizes that he can’t do it alone and his two brothers and twin sisters are placed in a series of orphanages and trade schools. The chapters alternate between each ...more
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Debra Barnes is the debut author of The Young Survivors. The book was inspired by her mother, Paulette, who was born in France in 1938.

Since studying journalism in London, Debra has worked in a number of different communications roles as diverse as PR for Newcastle Brown Ale and internal communications manager for Mothercare.

​Debra joined The Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR) in 2017 to work o

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