STONES IN WATER by Donna Jo Napoli

STONES IN WATER

Age Range: 12 - 14

KIRKUS REVIEW

From Napoli (Trouble on the Tracks, p. 144, etc.), a powerful novel set in a vividly realized wartime milieu. Roberto, a Venetian boy who is about to graduate from middle school, is so eager to attend a rare American movie that he makes a worrisome bargain with a boy who is always in trouble. On top of this small sin, he attends the movie with a Jewish boy, Samuele, an unwise idea when restrictions and dangers are multiplying. German soldiers enter the theater and capture all the boys; at first, Roberto can't make sense of what is happening to him. Transported to desolate regions, the boys are forced into labor building a tarmac; food is scarce, the climate is life-threatening, and survival seems remote. Now called Enzo, Samuele, who has a deeper understanding of the situation and who constantly watches for a chance to defy his captors, tells Roberto stories that become crucial to his sanity and lend a semblance of humanity to their desperate situation. When Roberto escapes, the book becomes a memorable survival story: He learns not to speak and give away his nationality, puzzles out the changing borders and alliances of the war, eats slugs in snow-covered streams to survive, and battles wild animals. Finally, by participating in the partigiano, who sabotage the war and work to hide endangered Jews, Roberto goes from victim to hero, seizing control of his life for a noble cause. Riveting. (Fiction. 12-14)
Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-525-45842-5
Page count: 210pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 1997




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