This YA book touched my heart on many levels. Like stay-up-too-late-so-I-can-see-what happens-next, levels. Not only is this book expertly crafted (super smooth reading), it touches on two things that are near and dear to my heart; adoption and knowing our family histories.
Twelve-year-old Imani, who is adopted and Jewish, helps her family mourn the loss of her Great Grandmother Anna; someone she barely knew. But as the family sorts through the elderly woman's items, Imani discovers a dusty and forgotten diary stuffed in the stacks of books. As she reads, the world of nazi-occupies Luxembourg unfolds as Kirsch family struggles with which of their seven children to smuggle to America, including Anna and her twin sister Belle. In a cruel and unexpected twist, only Anna is sent with the smuggler.
Once settled in American with distant cousins of her family, the pages of Anna's diary are a documented tale that is written as a way to keep the "string of connection" real with her beloved twin, Belle. The entries in Anna's diaries go through the wide-eyed wonder of having food to eat, soap to use and all the sites that NYC has to offer to desperation and dismay and news from her family abruptly stops and letters are returned. The story is mesmerizing and it launches young Imani into a flurry of research to find out all she can about her family's history while also raising questions about her own birth parents and ancestry.
Soon even the items found in Anna's apartment, that were deemed as "old lady keepsakes," become treasured keepsakes. Things like a ratty stuffed bear, a big of marbles, a ticket stub to the 1941 World Series and a picture postcard of a group of mysterious people will ultimately hold deep meaning as the story unfolds.
In a nutshell, this book is a winner. This is an exceptional book to help readers understand the struggles and sacrifices of Jewish families during the Holocaust. Two thumbs up.
- Hardcover: 384 pages
- Publisher: Dial; 1 edition (15 May 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0735229473
- ISBN-13: 978-0735229471
- Product Dimensions: 14.8 x 3.1 x 21.7 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 481 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 79,352 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)