Ashes by Kathryn Lasky

A book review by Faith Thompson

 

Gaby has a happy life, living in Berlin, Germany with her astronomer father and violin teacher mother. She and her best friend Rosa are in the same class, her teacher is her idol, and her sister Ulla has a nice boyfriend. They spend their summers at the lake house next door to Albert Einstein’s. But all is not right — World War II has broken out right there in Berlin, and Nazi activists are turning up everywhere, trying to get Gaby and Rosa to join their ranks. And there is something weird about Ulla’s boyfriend, something not quite right. Worst of all, people are burning Gaby’s beloved books!

 

Find it in APL TEEN Fiction YA FIC Lasky, K.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

A book review by Faith Thompson

 

Liesel Meminger has no idea what home is. Her mother is giving her up, and on the train ride to meet her new family, her brother dies suddenly. In the snow by his grave, Liesel discovers a book, half-buried: The Grave Digger’s Handbook. Her foster father teaches her to read, and suddenly all kinds of doors are opening wide to her.

In this book, told interestingly and narrated by Death, we see that even in Nazi Germany, some good still shines through, as a family who was supposed to be part of the Party and fight for Hitler hides a Jew, revolts against book burnings, and loves one another. Liesel and her friend Rudy do some questionable stuff, but all in all I think this is a good book that we can learn a lot from.

 

Find it in APL TEEN Fiction YA FIC Zusak, M.