Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Ashes by Kathryn Lasky

Published by Viking-Penguin Group in 2010, 320 pages, for age 11 and up, historical fiction, young adult

Amazon link:

Authors site:

This book was borrowed from the library for the purpose of reading/reviewing.

Gabriella lives in Berlin, Germany with her parents and older sister Ulla. The time period for most of the book is 1932 during the rise of the Nazi party and Adolph Hitler. Gaby's father is an astrophysicist working in the university. Her mother is a pianist. Older sister Ulla is finishing her school studies and has become involved with a young man. The family is close friends with Albert Einstein and his wife, they spend much time together. Gaby's family is anxious and fearful about Hitler and the Nazi's sickening ideology. Their country is changing dramatically. Gaby struggles with the normal angst of being an adolescent; but more entanglements are happening in her life by those that believe in the Nazi party.
The book is written in the first person's perspective, which is Gaby a young adolescent girl. Her feelings are expressed freely in the change in her country, the change in her sister Ulla, and her anxieties about her peers. Many of her neighbors and school friends are disappearing because they are Jewish. The German people are expected to adhere to Hitler and his dream of a blonde hair race of peoples. Gaby has blonde hair, yet does not want any part of this ideology. She is a strong character, she is a person of insight and conviction.
I thought this was an interesting book, I liked it. It gave me (of course fiction) an idea of what an adolescent girl endured during this period in German history. She feels as if she does not have a valid voice because of her age, and because of fears of retaliation. I saw a maturity develop in her during the course of the book.
I especially felt connected to her because of her love of reading. She carried a book with her wherever she went (I can relate).
I counted one curse word in the book (I make mention of this for the parents, some do not want their child to read or hear a curse word).
Blissful Reading!

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