Author: Sharon Dogar
Published: January 10, 2012
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 Stars
Description from Amazon:
Everyone knows about Anne Frank and her life hidden in the secret annex – but what about the boy who was also trapped there with her?
In this powerful and gripping novel, Sharon Dogar explores what this might have been like from Peter’s point of view. What was it like to be forced into hiding with Anne Frank, first to hate her and then to find yourself falling in love with her? Especially with your parents and her parents all watching almost everything you do together. To know you’re being written about in Anne’s diary, day after day? What’s it like to start questioning your religion, wondering why simply being Jewish inspires such hatred and persecution? Or to just sit and wait and watch while others die, and wish you were fighting. As Peter and Anne become closer and closer in their confined quarters, how can they make sense of what they see happening around them? Anne’s diary ends on August 4, 1944, but Peter’s story takes us on, beyond their betrayal and into the Nazi death camps. He details with accuracy, clarity and compassion the reality of day to day survival in Auschwitz – and ultimately the horrific fates of the Annex’s occupants.
I originally bought this book way back when I was teaching in Hawaii. I went to a teachers’ conference at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC and they gave us a list of book recommendations for our classrooms. Annexed was one of the books and you know I never pass up a good excuse to buy a book!
Holocaust stories are always hard to read so I kept putting it off, but then I finally decided to pick it up and read it. I’m very glad I did. As I suspected, it was a tough read; there were several times that I had to stop to keep myself from breaking down in tears. I hate to admit it, but I have never actually read the Diary of Anne Frank. I’ve seen dramatic productions, but I’ve never read it. However, I do know the story and its details.
This book was a different perspective on the Frank’s story. It is told in the voice of Peter van Pels, in an honest, teenage mindset. We all take many things for granted; things like the freedom to open a window or to have a room to ourselves. Peter’s hopelessness in a situation that, in fact, offered a sliver of hope was so real and palpable. Seeing each member of the Annex as a real person with a personality that often scraped against one another, the constant lack of privacy, depending on a few on the outside to provide necessities . . . I never imagined having to live like that, having my very survival depend on it. This is another book that upper high school teachers should have on their shelves.
There are some adult themes, mainly a teenage boy being a teenage boy, that would keep me from allowing younger kids to read this. I would absolutely require my own teenagers, along with any under my educational care to read this book. I read it in a day and learned much from it. I recommend this to anyone interested in Holocaust history or wants a good emotional read.
Today I am one of the stops on the blog tour for Dating the It Guy by Krysten Lindsay Hager. I will be sharing an excerpt of the novel.
Emme is a sophomore in high school who starts dating, Brendon Agretti, the popular senior who happens to be a senator’s son and well-known for his good looks. Emme feels out of her comfort zone in Brendon’s world and it doesn’t help that his picture perfect ex, Lauren seems determined to get back into his life along with every other girl who wants to be the future Mrs. Agretti. Emme is already conflicted due to the fact her last boyfriend cheated on her and her whole world is off kilter with her family issues. Life suddenly seems easier keeping Brendon away and relying on her crystals and horoscopes to guide her. Emme soon starts to realize she needs to focus less on the stars and more on her senses. Can Emme get over her insecurities and make her relationship work? Life sure is complicated when you’re dating the it guy.
I took a drink of water, and it dribbled down my chin. Lovely—I was sure all the girls at the country club drooled openly. Brendon walked over to my side of the court and asked if he could have some of my water because he had finished his sports drink. I never share drinks since I saw a story on the news about how meningitis was spread through stuff like that, but I handed him the bottle. I was surprised he’d want to drink after me, but maybe he was a step away from dehydrating, and it was between sharing my spit or death.
“Wanna quit?” he asked. I nodded and went to change. There was only one other girl in the locker room as I washed up and pulled my hair up. I went out to meet Brendon, and he asked if I wanted to get some frozen yogurt. I started to answer when the girl in the locker room came out behind me.
“Hey, stranger. Haven’t seen you around lately,” she said, putting her hand on Brendon’s arm.
“Hey, Cassie,” he said.
“What have you been up to?” she asked.
I’ve seen dogs chase the mail carrier with more dignity. Brendon shrugged and said he had been busy. He introduced me, and her eyes darted over to me just long enough to size me up. I hated girls who acted like having another female in the room was competition.
“Well, give me a call sometime,” she said, walking away.
What was her problem? She didn’t know whether or not we were dating. It was like it didn’t matter if I was his girlfriend or not because I wasn’t “good enough.”
About the Author:
Besides mining her teen years and humiliating moments for her novels, Krysten is also a book addict who has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. Krysten writes about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, frenemies, crushes, fame, first loves, and values. She is the author of True Colors, Best Friends…Forever?, Next Door to a Star, Landry in Like, Competing with the Star (The Star Series: Book 2), and Dating the It Guy. Her debut novel, True Colors, won the Readers Favorite award for best preteen book and the Dayton Book Expo Best Sellers award. Krysten’s work has been featured in USA Today, The Flint Journal, the Grand Haven Tribune, the Beavercreek Current, the Grand Blanc View, the Bellbrook Times and on Living Dayton.
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Praise for Dating the It Guy:
“Dating the It Guy is an entertaining story that is as absorbing as it is hilarious.” Reviewed by Arya Fomonyuy for Readers’ Favorite
“A satisfying YA romance that is really about growing up and learning how to deal with life.” Writing Pearls book review blog
“There is so much to love about this book. Krysten Lindsay Hager knows how teens think and speak, and she understands why Emme would feel overwhelmed by everything about Brendon – his looks, his popularity, his feelings for her, his exes, his family.” Vox libris: the voice of books book review blog
Author: Marsha Hayles
Published: June 5, 2012
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 Stars
Description from Amazon:
Evvy Hoffmeister is thirteen years old when her family brings her to Loon Lake Sanatorium to get cured of tuberculosis (TB). Evvy is frightened by her new surroundings; the rules to abide are harsh and the nurses equally rigid. But Evvy soon falls into step with the other girls in her ward. There’s Sarah, quiet but thoughtful; Pearl, who adores Hollywood glamour; and Dina, whose harshness conceals a deep strength. Together, the girls brave the difficult daily routines. Set in 1940 at a time of political unrest throughout the U.S. and Europe, this thought-provoking novel sheds light on a much-feared worldwide illness. Hundreds of thousands of people died each year of TB, and many ill children were sent away to sanatoriums to hopefully recover.
This book was a simple narrative about a little girl who has active tuberculosis and goes to a sanatorium to rest and recuperate and to keep from spreading the disease. I liked the perspective of thirteen-year-old Evvy (pronounced like Chevy). She’s a sweet girl whose life is thrown upside down by her condition, she doesn’t even get to keep her stuffed bear with her in the sanatorium because of germs.
However, she moves from the scared little girl, ripped from her parents and twin brother to a mature teenager who is willing to sacrifice for her friends. And the heartbreaking journey of the patients of the sanatorium hit me right in the gut! I decided to ask Ivan about Evvy’s chart (yes there are pictures in this book! YAY!!) and his prognosis was not good. I did my senior college thesis on a local TB hospital back in Greenville, SC, so I knew a little about the stays of patients at these types of institutions.
Tuberculosis is a scary disease and my heart went out to these people. This is not an action-packed book, there isn’t any mystery or crazy drama. I would recommend this to history teachers, and they should absolutely have this book on their shelves, or to anyone looking for an easy, historical read.[Top]