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They Went Left

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4.30  ·  Rating details ·  3,150 ratings  ·  593 reviews
Germany, 1945. The soldiers who liberated the Gross-Rosen concentration camp said the war was over, but nothing feels over to eighteen-year-old Zofia Lederman. Her body has barely begun to heal; her mind feels broken. And her life is completely shattered: Three years ago, she and her younger brother, Abek, were the only members of their family to be sent to the right, away ...more
Hardcover, 364 pages
Published April 7th 2020 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 4.30  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,150 ratings  ·  593 reviews


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Donna Backshall
Apr 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who appreciates a Holocaust novel
Choose to love.

When everything seems hopeless, when you're coming out of something that seemed unsurvivable, when you're overwhelmed beyond belief, you can still choose to love.

They Went Left is one of those books that ties your stomach in knots, and makes you want to shout out in anger, but when you're done, you know you have changed. Your heart is crying out to your sense of decency, kindness and compassion, telling you how necessary it is to let these guide your daily actions.

Most WWII g
...more
CeliaMcMahonReads CeliaMcMahonReads
Thank you Edelweiss for this phenomenal e-galley!

I cannot stress this enough: I am a sucker for punishment and will read every WW2 book out there no matter how heart-wrenching, gut-punching, how completely soul-destroying it is.

THEY WENT LEFT tells the unique story of what happened AFTER the concentration camps were liberated. Zofia, who has lost her entire family, holds onto hope that her little brother, Abek is alive. Accompanied first by a Russian soldier, she arrives back home only to find
...more
Zoe
Mar 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Heartwrenching, haunting, and hopeful!

They Went Left is a poignant, compelling tale that sweeps you away to post-war Germany and into the life of Zofia Lederman, a young Jewish girl who after being liberated from a Nazi concentration camp and with a mind traumatized by cruelty and violence travels from her home town in Poland to the Foehrenwald Displaced Persons Camp to search for the one family member who may not be lost forever and that she swore to protect, her younger brother, Abek.

The prose
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Diana Bautista
"Today I am choosing to love the person in front of me."

I'm an avid reader of WWII stories, but it does tend to end either heartbreaking or with a happily ever after ending. This book shows us another part of the story, what happened when the horror ended? What happened when the thousands of prisoners realized that their lives weren't magically going to restore to normality?

This book changed my perspective of love and forgiveness. I don't know if there's a better praising you can ever give
...more
Skip
May 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical, e-books
A bit like Cilka's Journey, this book takes place in the aftermath of Nazi concentration camps. Zofia has been rescued by a Russian soldier named Dima who brings her back to her home in Poland, where she yearns to be reunited with her younger brother, Abek. The rest of her family "went left" into the showers, where they were killed by poisonous gas. Rather than wait for him, Zofia heads off to Germany to find Abek in desperation for something to keep her tethered to this world. She ends up in a ...more
Kathy
I admit, I’m not exactly in the right mood for Holocaust fiction at this point in 2020, but I went into this book for a specific reason: I wanted something hopeful. Something about finding light at the end of a tunnel and holding onto it, despite how easier it might be to turn and walk right back in. Nothing blindingly happy. Just reaffirming.

And that’s what I got. A story set right after the end of WW2, during its first few months of tentative chaos, with people trying to pick up the pieces of
...more
The Nerd Daily
Apr 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Nathalie DeFelice

Long after I finished this book, I remained in awe of what I read. The melancholic tone of this story is hauntingly memorable, and offers an insight into an aspect of war that I don’t get to read too often in stories: what happens in the aftermath. Unpacking trauma as well as figuring out how to continue on in a world that no longer contains those we hold most dear. My heart clenched as I went through each page, desperate to cli
...more
Maddie
Reading Rush: Day 5
Fulfilled the genre prompt.
Stephanie Fitzgerald
Sep 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Mature Y.A. readers and older, with adult guidance
A difficult book to read, because it is about the horrors of the Holocaust, and therefore filled with much sadness. A book I would categorize as a “five-hanky read”, because one would have to be made of stone not to tear up while reading it. This book is also a wonderful account of people who, despite the unspeakable atrocities they suffered at the hands of the Nazis, survived and refused to lose their very humanity.
Due to the subject matter, I would recommend this for very mature Y.A. readers a
...more
Bianca Escada (planningwithlove)
What a phenomenal read! My heart!

Heart wrenching, thoughtful, informative, hope filled book! This author did not pull any punches!

I love a book that covers all bases! You can tell the author took the time (a lot of time) to research this subject, to really recreate the time and places described in the book. You can taste the food, smell the air, touch the fabric of the clothes, imagine yourself in the protagonists shoes.

This book is a well executed masterpiece! Moral: to have hope in the darke
...more
Jaye Berry
Jul 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Oh so you SAD sad 😭😭. This shit HURTED but I liked that about it.

They Went Left is about a girl named Zofia who has just been liberated from a concentration camp in 1945. They said the war is over but nothing feels over to Zofia whose body has just begun to heal but her mind feels broken. Three years ago, her and her younger brother Abek were the only ones in their family sent right- away from the gas chambers. Eventually they were split up but now that they are out, Zofia wants to find him. The
...more
Kristel Villar
Actual rating: 3.5 stars

It's another Holocaust book that holds so much promise but fell short to my taste. You know that feeling of eating your favorite food that needs, say, more salt? That's what I felt after reading this book.

It tells the story of Zofia and her journey to find her brother Abek after war has ended in Europe. I fell in love with the plot. I've read a lot of Holocoaust novels set during the war, but not so much about stories after. But Zofia's journey is not as promising as what
...more
Kelly McWilliams
Feb 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A gorgeous, heartbreaking tale about the life of a young woman after the liberation of the Gross-Rosen concentration camp, THEY WENT LEFT asks how we move forward after the unimaginable. This book haunted me for weeks; it’s the kind of novel that has the power to change you, forever, for the better.

I particularly appreciated the way THEY WENT LEFT spun its memory tale, probing the depths of the human psyche after trauma. I hope everyone finds their way to this story at some time or other. Ultima
...more
Erin
Nov 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Find this and other reviews at: https://historicalfictionreader.blogs...

If I had stopped to think, I would have saved Monica Hesse's They Went Left for another time. I do not think anyone is truly ready for a story like this, but I was not craving something intense when it fell into my lap. That said, I did not stop, and I'm not at all sorry I jumped straight into it. The world's state had me in a funk when I started this book, but there is a beauty in hard stories, an importance to embracing th
...more
Kristen Majkut
Monica Hesse delivers in yet another historical fiction novel about WWII and the Holocaust. This story begins after the liberation of camps all over Europe, specifically in Poland and in Germany. The main character Zofia is looking for her younger brother Abek, after her entire family was sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau and they were sent to the LEFT. Only Zofia and Abek were sent to the right. Zofia is actively looking for her brother across various displaced persons camps and isn't having any luck. ...more
J Wells
Nov 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One doesn't see as many books about the aftermath of WW2, and this story is one that needs to be told over and over. Just because the war was over doesn't mean the horror stopped. Zofia's story had a pit in my stomach the whole book, I just wanted her horror to stop, Hesse did an amazing job of bringing true emotion to this sad but hopeful time in history.
Heather
Aug 15, 2020 rated it it was ok
DNF. I just could not get into this book. It was boring and uninteresting to me. After reading about 30% through I just decided to stop
Amy
Many thanks to EdelweissPlus and the publisher for providing me with a DRC of this title for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

I can not say enough how good this book was. All the stars, all the accolades, all the YES to this book. It was exactly what you want from a historical fiction book: moving, informative, timely. I put it down and immediately went back to reread certain parts again. This is not something I normally do, but Hesse's words and prose stuck with me in such a way, I coul
...more
Sarah
Oct 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: e-arcs, mom-2020
This book was phenomenal, and I think my favourite of Hesse's books so far.
Zofia has survived a number of concentration camps and is now beginning the work of trying to reunite with her younger brother. She is doing that through a patchwork of numerous charities - no central database and with the possibility that he has died/been mislabeled in German files/wants to move on without reuniting hanging over the process.
I thought Hesse's choice to explore the immediate post-war era was inspired - I'v
...more
Maureen Grigsby
Jun 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
There are so many books out there about Holocaust survivors that end with liberation of the camps. There are far fewer that are about those same people trying to find a new place for themselves in a world that in utterly changed. Although this book is listed as YA, I wouldn’t suggest it as reading for someone quite young in that group due to some more mature content. I thought this book was beautifully written!
Dini - dinipandareads
Wow, talk about complete emotional devastation! I'm so glad this was put on my radar through the Fantastic Flying Book Club blog tour because otherwise I would've missed out on a powerful and heartbreaking read that is different to most WWII historical fictions that are my usual picks. Rather than following characters during the actual Holocaust period, we learn about the aftermath of the liberation. I'm ashamed to admit that I never considered what happened after they were "free" to return home ...more
Heather
Sep 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book takes place during WWII and Oh my gosh it was amazing!!! I read Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica after going to a book convention where she was there signing that book. Everyone seemed to love that book and I read it and loved it too! Therefore I had to pick up her new book once it was published and this book has held up to my expectations! I loved each of the character and I loved watching the main character go through each phase of the war searching for her brother. The determination ...more
Alicia
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"...everyone traveling in a different direction, and every direction was someone's home, as if the world were a board game and all the pieces had ended up scattered in the wrong corners of the box."

"Choose to love."

Significant visual and messages from Hesse's new book to be released in 2020. I'm beyond happy as a bookworm that I chose this to be my first book of 2020 because I knew I wouldn't be disappointed. She manages to weave another sentimental and informative historical fiction while manag
...more
megan
Aug 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Leighellen Landskov

“No amount of warm poultices or aspirin powder can ever fix pain when it comes to ghosts.”

There are many books written about WWII and the horrors of the Holocaust. But few talk about what comes NEXT. What happened to the jewish people when the war ended? This YA historical fiction novel is set in 1945 Germany and follows the plight of 18 year old Zofia Lederman after she is liberated from the Gross-Rosen concentration camp. When she first arrived, her entire family was “sent left” into the gas c
...more
❀ Alex ❀ (The Scribe Owl)
Aug 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who doesn't mind having their heart ripped open by a WWII recovery novel.
4/5 stars

Choose to love.


This was such an interesting take on a Holocaust novel! I'm a neophyte to the genre, but I haven't read one about the problems after the war is over. Everyone still has to heal and sort themselves out, all the problems aren't magically fixed. This was a beautifully written story full of hope about what comes next.

The absence of pain is not the same as the presence of happiness


The war is over. The Reich has been defeated by the Allies, and everyone is liberated fro
...more
Mrs. Bradshaw
SUCH a great book! I couldn't put it down. Monica Hesse has done such a wonderful job with the research for this book and then bringing it to life. I hate to admit how little I have thought about what life after the Holocaust was like for survivors, but all Holocaust education tends to stop with the war, so I am woefully ignorant about what happened after that. Therefore, I was enthralled with the story and grateful to Hesse for bringing to my attention how much I still have to learn.

I highly
...more
Taylor Evans
Jun 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Once I started reading this book, I could not put it down! Zofia is the kind of character that you laugh with, cry with, hurt with, and hope with. The plot moves fast, and I couldn't hardly stop as I journeyed with Zofia throughout Europe as she relentlessly searches to find her little brother Abek.

I deeply appreciated the author's note at the end, and if you read this book, don't skip it. The way Hesse crafts her characters from Holocaust survivors' memoirs, stories, and truths makes this book
...more
K.
Trigger warnings: war, Holocaust, death of family members, implications of sexual assault against children, mental health, mentions of medical experimentation, grief, antisemitism, assault, PTSD.

3.75 stars.

I desperately wanted to love this because there are so few stories written about what comes after the war, what comes when the camps are freed and people have to try to find their families and start their lives again. And there are even fewer written for a young adult audience. So I really d
...more
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Monica Hesse is the national bestselling author of the true crime love story American Fire, and the historical mystery novel Girl in the Blue Coat, which has been translated into a dozen languages and won the 2017 Edgar award in the Young Adult category. She is a feature writer for the Washington Post, where she has been a winner of the Society for Feature Journalism's Narrative Storytelling award ...more

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