Mock Printz 2023 discussion

The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia
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Mock Printz 2015 > The Family Romanov by Candace Fleming

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message 1: by Kathy (new) - added it

Kathy (thebrainlair) | 198 comments Kirkus gives The Family Romanov a starred review saying "It is full of rich details about the Romanovs, insights into figures such as Vladimir Lenin and firsthand accounts from ordinary Russians affected by the tumultuous events." Let's just test that...


message 2: by Paul (new)

Paul | 26 comments My only complaint is the format. I wish it was a little more "inviting" I guess I would say. BOMB I thought did a good job of this. Other than that, this book was excellent and on the same level as BOMB in terms of presenting history in narrative form. The juxtaposition between the ruling class and poor is done so well, and the arrogance of the Romanov family will make you angry and shocked all at the same time. I couldn't put this down. Be warned, the end is pretty intense!


Maureen (mhsquier) | 79 comments Excellent book, one of the best I've read this year, I would love to see this one on the Printz list! Candace Fleming manages to take a story that many of us know, and present it in a way that keeps the reader entranced right up to the end. The addition of contemporaneous accounts into the narrative blends into the story while adding different voices/accounts of shared experiences. Fleming's research is well documented in the bibliography and notes, and there are two sections of photographs that complement the story.

I do agree with the previous comment regarding the format, it was definitely underwhelming in comparison to many current YA nonfiction titles.

I would heartily recommend this book to anyone! I have a BA in history, and found this book very informative and also approachable to YA readers.


Mary HD (marymaclan) | 84 comments This was a terrific book (my undergraduate degree is in history, too, Maureen); I couldn't stop reading it! It's quite an achievement; with a well-calibrated focus on various historical figures, Fleming has managed to tell a very important and complex story in a fast-moving but relatively brief 250 pages. What I particularly admired was Fleming's ability to reveal the essential character of so many of the main players; I found her psychological portraits novel and memorable.

I worry somewhat about the audience for THE FAMILY ROMANOV, though. Fleming makes it resoundingly clear that Nicholas and Alexandra were two of the most inept rulers ever inflicted on a major nation. Why, therefore, would a teenager be interested in reading about them? TFR is so well written one could almost call it entertaining, but it doesn't have the intrinsic appeal of a book like BOMB, which takes place mostly in the US.

Perhaps a major literary award might help! We can only hope!


message 5: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Hicks Stupid question ladies, but what is BOMB?


Mary HD (marymaclan) | 84 comments It's a history of the development of the atomic bomb by Steve Sheinkin, won just about every children's literary award possible


Kelly A (kayessay) | 7 comments I liked this book a lot - great to read some nonfiction in the spate of Major Feelings YA entries lately. I agree with Mary's thought above about the audience. Presumably, any teen who reads this book is reading because they know about Anastasia and the other daughters. I wish there had been more about the children in this book - it would have been a lot more engaging for teen readers to see how these young girls (and boy!) lived among the chaos.


Jess (jessmonster) | 26 comments I agree that the format could have been improved, with pictures interspersed with the text. But otherwise I can't find fault with it. As to audience, I would have LOVED this book in middle school/high school. I think it would appeal to fans of history and historical fiction, despite the adults being more prominent than the children (probably because they were the ones actually making decisions/affecting history - the children didn't really get out much!) I think it's fascinating from a 'what could have been done differently to avert disaster?' standpoint, and I can picture some teens really identifying with that idea of 'why are the adults making stupid decisions?'


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