Author: Eva Wiseman
Genre: YA, Middle Grade, Historical
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Page Count: 300
Kanada. The name meant untold riches and promise to Jutka, a young Hungarian girl who was captivated by stories of a vast, majestic country where people were able to breathe free of hatred and prejudice. Freedom was in short supply, but hatred was everywhere in Hungary as hundreds of thousands of Jews were deported to concentration camps during the last year of WWII. Jutka, her friends, and her family are sent to Auschwitz.
In that hellish place, there was another Kanada. It was the ironic name given to the storehouse at Auschwitz where the possessions, clothing and jewelry stripped from the victims were deposited, and where Jutka was put to work.
The war may have ended, but it did not end the suffering of many of the inmates of concentration camps. Many had no homes to go to, and if they did, they were not welcome. Hundreds went back to Poland and were murdered. Famished, diseased, and homeless, they lived in the hopelessness of camps, wondering if they could ever find a home in the world. Some went to Israel, but for Jutka there was only one dream left her: the dream of a country full of hope, where she would no longer have to live in fear.
Eva Wiseman’s powerful novel describes the war and its long, difficult aftermath with compassion and tenderness.
Definitely have a box of tissues prepared for this book. I had gone into this completely blind, and ended up sobbing my eyes out.
This was very good, although super sad as it’s another Auschwitz story. I hadn’t realized that in going in so allow me to inform you that you definitely should have a box of tissues prepared. Jutka is a believable character and the story is powerful, emotional, and full of historical references. From Hungary to Canada, this was a really good read. I can definitely see why it was the winner of the Geoffrey Bilson award back in 2007. Jutka, a young Hungarian girl, is just trying to survive and not get killed all because she was born a Jew. The story is told before, during and after World War 2. It’s beautifully written, and vivid with descriptions of the time and place of what it was like living as a Jew during that era. It was quite sad, and yet Jutka pressed on and survived. Very recommended for those who like historical fiction!
Until next time,
-Pass Me That Book