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Ashes

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  938 Ratings  ·  179 Reviews
Thirteen-year-old Gabriella Schramm's favorite pastime is reading. With Adolf Hitler slowly but unstoppably rising to power, Gaby turns to her books for comfort while the world around her changes dramatically: The streets become filled with soldiers, Gaby's sister's boyfriend raises his arm in a heil Hitler salute, and the Schramms? family friend Albert Einstein flees the ...more
Hardcover, 318 pages
Published February 4th 2010 by Viking Books for Young Readers
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(showing 1-30)
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Eva Mitnick
Sep 04, 2010 rated it liked it
There are plenty of books about the Holocaust, for all ages and from all points of view. In Yann Martel's Beatrice and Virgil, this is problematic for the main character, a writer named Henry, because he has written what he feels is a fresh allegorical look at the Holocaust, only to realize (thanks to his editors) that in fact he has covered the same ground in the same way as countless others.


This is the challenge for any writer covering this intense, fraught, and oft-described subject. Ashes me
...more
Marjorie Ingall
Nov 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
Suffers from a slow beginning, but it gathers steam super-fast. It’s the story of 13-year-old Gaby, a pretty, book-loving non-Jew in 1930s Germany. Her father is an astrophysicist at the University of Berlin, a colleague and friend of Albert Einstein; her mom’s best pal Baba is a fabulous Jewish society columnist. Gaby’s life seems sweet – luscious descriptions of parties, society events and fabulous outfits will delight fashion-loving girls -- but the Nazis are gaining power and anti-Fascist in ...more
Ellen
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Olivia
May 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-books
This was another great historical fiction read. It was refreshing because it took on a different point of view, it was not the same old same old. Gaby and her family are living in Germany in the early and mid 1930's before WWII. This was very interesting because you could see Hitler's rise to power and how just an everyday citizen (like Gaby's family's housekeeper) could be swept off their feet by Hitler. It was also nice to see Gaby's family stick up for their Jewish friends and never backed do ...more
Alex Baugh
Oct 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: world-war-2
Life is pretty comfortable for Gabriella Schramm, 13, called Gaby by friends and family. Living in 1932 Berlin, her upper middle class family is better off than most Germans at the time. Her father is a renowned scientist, teaching astronomy at the University, and is friends with Albert Einstein. Her mother, an former pianist who gives lessons at home now, hob nobs with Baba, a well-respected Jewish society columnist for the only newspaper in Berlin that isn't pro-Nazi. Gaby's older sister, Ulla ...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
This historical novel, set in Berlin, Germany, presents the unique viewpoint of a teenage girl, not Jewish and anti-Nazi, who witnesses Hitler's rise to power in the crucial years 1932 to 1933. Gabrielle and her family have Jewish friends (Einstein!) who are affected by the growing anti-Semitism fostered by the Nazis. Her father is an astronomy professor at the university, and her mother is a piano teacher, both intellectual positions in a time when intellectuals (i.e., free thinkers) were suspe ...more
Rebecca
Jul 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Thirteen-year-old Gabriella Schramm lives a comfortable and happy life with her middle class family in Berlin, Germany in 1932. Her father is a scientist who studies and teaches physics at the university. Because of his work, Albert Einstein is a friend of the family. Gaby enjoys reading books, going on after school outings to the zoo and the movies with her best friend, Rosa, and spending summers at her family's vacation home by the lake. Her biggest worry up until now has been the teacher who ...more
Eva Leger
Jun 21, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommended to Eva by: library
3.5 - I have this listed as 'Holocaust' for my own personal knowledge but it maybe shouldn't be. If I had a list for this time period titled something else I'd use that but being that I don't and I don't think it's worth it for me to make a new one I'll use this.
I flew through this and can say for sure that the only aspect I did not like was the use of actual people in the book. Maybe that's because I don't usually read much historical fiction but it's strange to me to add the real Albert Einst
...more
Kristin
Apr 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010
As I was browsing Barnes and Noble Kathryn Lasky's latest book cover caught my eye. Without even reading the synopsis, I knew Ashes would be about some aspect of the Holocaust and World War II. I love when I stumble upon great book finds!


Ashes is a very well written novel that takes place during 1932 and 1933 at the very beginning of Hitler's rise to power. The main character, Gaby, is a teenager whose father is an astronomy professor. Her father works with Albert Einstein and the her family act
...more
Jackie Doty-abbott
Gabriella is living the typical life of a 13-year-old school girl in Berlin, Germany, during the time leading up to the rise of Adolf Hitler. Gabby's family is German, but they are not in favor of Hitler and live in denial that he could actually gain a following in Berlin. Gabby's father is an astrophysicist and associates with the likes of Albert Einstein and other Jewish physicists. Much of the story revolves around the family's friendship with Einstein and other close Jewish friends. Gabby be ...more
Josiah
Apr 30, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are so many books out there that deal with the torturous trials and horrors of the rise of Nazi Germany from the perspective of those who were being afflicted by the new Third Reich instituted by Adolf Hitler, but Ashes is of a very different blend. It's easy to forget how many Germans were strongly opposed to the Aryan supremacy rhetoric that was being doggedly pushed by their intense Führer in the early 1930s and beyond. Germany of that era is often broadly painted as a nation bent on w ...more
Leane
May 09, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: holocaust, ya-fiction
Well, I would love to give you the review this book deserves...but I can't. I 'm still way too distracted by the unusually large amount of errors I found in this book. I'll start by saying that I have an unusual talent for finding typos in books. So, on average, a person finds about 1 of 2 errors per book, correct? This book had anywhere between 10 and 15 typos. One page even had 3. This become the main focus of the book for me and I spent the second half screaming in outage that the publishers ...more
Leslie
Aug 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Handd51
Dec 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
Lesky is a brilliant writer, and this book is very good - but I'm not sure for what age. Gaby Schramm is 13 in Berlin in 1932. Her father is a non-Jewish friend and associate of Einstein, a "white Jew" according to the rising Nazi thinkers; her mother a talented musician and piano teacher. Her older sister a budding violin player who gets distracted - and knocked up - by a boy who is active in the Hitler youth as Hitler is coming to power. There is a scene where Gaby realizes very directly that ...more
Holly
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Margo Tanenbaum
Jul 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ww2, german, 1930-s
This is an interesting book about a German academic family in Berlin in 1932. Gabriella's father is a physicist, and Albert Einstein is a personal family friend. Her mother is a former professional pianist, and they have lots of Jewish friends and acquaintances. But as the Nazis are coming to power, everything begins to change for the worse. Her sister's boyfriend turns out to be a Nazi, as does her favorite high school teacher, and she and her family are disgusted when the Nazis begin to confis ...more
Sarai
Jun 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
This was an interesting read. I could have done without the quotes at the beginning of each chapter, and after a while I started to ignore them. But the plot was compelling and the characters well-written.

Product Description
Thirteen-year-old Gabriella Schramm’s favorite pastime is reading. With Adolf Hitler slowly but unstoppably rising to power, Gaby turns to her books for comfort while the world around her changes dramatically: The streets become filled with soldiers, Gaby’s sister’s boyfriend
...more
Melanie
Thirteen-year-old Gabriella Schramm, "Gaby", lives in Berlin, Germany. She tells the story of the changes in Germany as Hitler takes over the country. She is confused by the growing anti-Jewish sentiments; especially what it means for family friend Albert Einstein. Gaby is also horrified by the growing popularity of censoring and subsequent burning of books.

Lasky lists actual historical figures in the back of the book and fully explains who they were. However, she does not have an explanation of
...more
Rachel
Mar 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I read this for 5th grade historical fiction book clubs. I thought it may be too difficult for this age group and I think I'm right. The questions the kids are asking are very basic history questions and we haven't yet gotten to the point where Gaby starts obsessing about whether or not her sister is "doing it" with Karl. I will be very interested to see what the kids think of the ending.

On a personal note, I really enjoyed this book. I liked the characters and how they stuck to their values. Us
...more
Ramarie
Aug 15, 2010 rated it liked it
Laden with historical details, this is a compelling read, even if those historical details threaten to bog down the book. Set in 1932, Gaby is the 13-year old narrator, whose family of German intellectuals watches with dread as Hitler rises to power. Gaby sees the changes in her everyday life, through their housemaid, her sister's boyfriend, and even a beloved teacher. Physically, Gaby is the epitome of Aryan beauty, but her family and their beliefs are completely the opposite. She is a spirited ...more
Kathryn Spencer-kociol
Jun 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This book was excellent on so many levels! Unlike Lasky's Night Journey, the plot is sparkly new and original, a refreshing change from some of the youth literature that deals with Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. The characters were all realistic and personable, and Gaby makes for a very likable heroine. The emphasis is on the transitional government of The Weimar Republic, and the political terror and individual acts of violence witnessed by Gaby and her friends are told with realistically chil ...more
Kim Piddington
Apr 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
I really admired the protagonist, Gabriella, in this novel-she may not alwys have done the right thing, but she was willing to admit it and examine what happened. I have read many novels set during this time period, but I enjoyed how the author subtly wove historical figures into the narrative. I won't be able to share this with my 5th graders because it mentions sex- but would readily share it with 7th graders. For a more more mature audience then Number the Stars, but not as intense as Stones ...more
Jaime
Mar 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I love it! i cant wait to find out how it ends! right now (11:08pm on 3.21.11) i am at the part where she and her friend, Rosa, are at the cabarnet- the chameleon. im not really that into history related books but this one ive had for a week and have read almost 150 pages and am in love with it (and im not the fastest reader ill admit it nor do i read every time i have a free minute). this book is in the time period of hitler and the nazis and the jews. i find that time period and the salem witc ...more
Susannah
Sep 08, 2010 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nicole
Aug 27, 2010 rated it liked it
Pretty well-written. I'm trying to find a young adult book for a literature study when we talk about WWII and the Holocaust during third quarter. This one is a contender, but I have at least three more to read before I make a decision. I liked this story, but the main character came from a privileged, non-Jewish family and I think I want something more realistic for the time period. Also not sure about the non-married sister getting pregnant - that might not sit well with parents.
Lisa
Jan 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This was the last really good book that I read. It was easy to read historical fiction, and the title character was NOT a Jew. This is one girl's story about the rise of Hitler. I added to my own historical knowledge of the period because so many of the characters came to life for me as I read. Well-researched, but most importantly well written. This would be great for intermediate readers and/or middle school/JH. I'll be adding this to my library.
Beth
Jun 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
Thirteen-year-old Gabi Schramm lives in Berlin in 1932, on the eve of WWII. Through her eyes, readers learn about the rise of Hitler and the Nazis and how this affects Gabi's schoolmates, teachers, and Jewish friends, including Albert Einstein, who is a colleague of her scientist father. This is an intriguing look at a pivotal time in history, but Gabi and her friend's interest in boys and information about who is who's mistress make this totally unsuitable for a religious audience.
Kyla
Nov 15, 2010 rated it liked it
On the one hand, a nice fictionalizing of the build-up to Hitlers reign which illustrates the most common question kids have about World War II - how could the people let it happen? On the other, the amount that the main character opposes Hitler from the get go and continues steadfast in that belief seemed a little neat and some characters were cartoonish villains. I did like the quotes from other stories - as a librarian, I could build a nice display around them
Heather
Oct 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010
This book had a unique viewpoint and setting. It was interesting to watch the events unfold in Germany through the eyes of a non Jewish child who is, nonetheless, not at all sympathetic to the Nazi ideals. Unfortunately, I am not sure who the audience was meant to be. The book reads as though it is written for 4th or 5th graders, but the (semi-discrete) mentions of sex will likely baffle or embarrass this age group.
Scottsdale Public Library
It's 1932 Berlin, and Adolph Hitler is starting to become extremely popular. This is the story of one family's stance against the rising Nazi party, as told by a 13 year old girl who loves to read and is nervous about losing her freedom.

Note for parents: There are a couple swear words and passing mention of some mature themes. Best for grades 6 and up.

-Beth M.-
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ashes 1 2 Feb 26, 2016 10:43AM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: Ashes 1 3 Mar 22, 2012 04:09PM  
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Kathryn Lasky is the American author of many critically acclaimed books, including several Dear America books, several Royal Diaries books, 1984 Newbery Honor winning Sugaring Time, The Night Journey, and the Guardians of Ga'Hoole series.
She was born June 24, 1944, and grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana, and is married to Christopher Knight, with whom she lives in Massachusetts.

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