Author: Alan Gratz
Published: March 1, 2013
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 Stars
Description from Amazon:
Survive. At any cost.
10 concentration camps.
10 different places where you are starved, tortured, and worked mercilessly.
It’s something no one could imagine surviving.
But it is what Yanek Gruener has to face.
As a Jewish boy in 1930s Poland, Yanek is at the mercy of the Nazis who have taken over. Everything he has, and everyone he loves, have been snatched brutally from him. And then Yanek himself is taken prisoner — his arm tattooed with the words PRISONER B-3087. He is forced from one nightmarish concentration camp to another, as World War II rages all around him. He encounters evil he could have never imagined, but also sees surprising glimpses of hope amid the horror. He just barely escapes death, only to confront it again seconds later. Can Yanek make it through the terror without losing his hope, his will — and, most of all, his sense of who he really is inside?
Such a great book!! Though a work of fiction, this book has all the realistic emotions that memoirs like Night and All But My Life elicit. The perfect book for a teenager to read for a look into the mind and heart of a young Holocaust survivor. Written as a simple record of events, Yanek becomes the teenage everyman of the Holocaust. He’s forced to grow up far sooner than any child or teen should. He is faced with death, torture, hatred and an uncertainty about his future, and all that tragedy colors his world view. That kind of major effect on Holocaust survivors, especially the younger ones, is rarely discussed in books. And with Yanek being so young, kids would be able to identify with him in a way that would be difficult in the books written by adult survivors. I would say every teacher from 6th grade and up should have this book in their library. In fact, had I known about this book when I was teaching, it would have been required reading for every single one of my students. 5 stars, easily!!