A to Z, A to Z 2016, Book Reviews, Reviews

F: (A) Faraway Island by Annika Thor

AFarawayIslandI was going to do this on Firefight by Brandon Sanderson since I have another Historical Fiction review in just a couple days, but since it’s such an awesome book, there are too many people waiting for it and I couldn’t get it in time. It’s the second book in the Reckoners trilogy (Steelheart, short story Mitosis, Firefight, and Calamity). If you see any of those books around, pick them up! They’re awesome. ;D

So instead, I’m doing A Faraway Island. This was actually the book I planned to do for F in the first  place, but then my H is another historical fiction based during World War 2, and I thought we might need a bit of a change. Don’t feel shortchanged though! Annika Thor writes some pretty great stories, and this is one of them.

Stephie and Nellie are far from Austria. Far from Momma and Poppa. Far from home. All because of Hitler and the ever spreading Nazi Germany.

Nellie doesn’t mind the sudden change to Sweden, but Stephie does. She hates the sudden culture shock: the new language, the new culture, the new school, her new foster mom, and Nellie’s easy transition. Stephie’s foster mom is harsher than Nellie’s too. Stephie doesn’t understand her or why she is the way she is. Why oh why couldn’t she have a nice foster mom?

Nothing’s much better when she goes to school. She’s the only Jewish girl there and still learning Swedish. Momma and Poppa were suppose to have their travel vistas by now. Why weren’t they there? Stephie’s afraid that they’re never going to come back. She begs her foster parents to try to get them over to Sweden, but nothing works.

Before long, Stephie tries to run away. After all, no one really wants this lonely, weird sounding, strange looking girl anywhere near them. Yet that’s only the beginning.


I think that part of what was so interesting about this story was that I’ve never heard about this part of history. I’ve heard of Jews fleeing and of Jews in concentration camps and of English fleeing the bombings, but never of a story told from this point of view.

Stephie’s character was created in a profound way. Annika Thor did an amazing job of portraying her confusion, frustration, fears, hopes…

This was a book written for tweens, but I would suggest it for older teens and young adults interested in learning about the reaches of the German Reich. If you see it in your library or at a book store, be sure to pick it up! It’s well worth the while. 😀

Happy reading!

P.S. Click here to read a very interesting interview with Annika Thor.

 

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