Left with an aunt when their widowed father escaped Poland in 1940 (``It's not safe for Jewish men...[but] No civilized country would hurt women and children''), Jacob Gutgeld and his brothers were sent to different hiding places outside the Warsaw Ghetto as the Nazis' intentions became evident. In 1941, Alex and Mela Roslan took Jacob in; at the risk of their lives and their children's, they deceived neighbors and German searchers, giving up one home, then another, on Jacob's behalf. His uncle, a doctor, prevailed on them to take in Jacob's brothers: Sholom, who died of scarlet fever, and later David, who—like Jacob—came to love the Roslans as parents. The authors fictionalize this true story with believable dialogue and dramatic scenes (Jacob being smuggled into a hospital for a life-saving operation; a vicious massacre in retaliation for Partisan activity) and frame it as an explanation to Jacob's daughter, who's meeting the Roslans for the first time—which helps bring the story closer to the present, as do photos of the boys and the Roslans, then and now. The story's immediacy is also enhanced by realistic minor discord—the Roslan boys' initial hostility, Mela's and Alex's debates over the choices they've made. After the war, the boys were sent to their father in Israel; the authorities' callous disregard of their bond with the Roslans is a bitter taste of war's lingering injustice. A fine, authentic account of quietly sustained heroism of the highest order. Afterword. (Fiction. 8+)

Pub Date: May 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-553-08976-5

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Bantam

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1993


From the Today Tonight Tomorrow series , Vol. 1

A dizzying, intimate romance.

Rowan teams up with her academic nemesis to win a citywide scavenger hunt.

Rowan Roth and Neil McNair have been rivals in a never-ending game of one-upmanship since freshman year. Now, on the last day of senior year, Rowan hopes to best Neil once and for all as valedictorian, then win Howl, a scavenger hunt with a $5,000 cash prize. She also hopes to sneak away to her favorite romance author’s book signing; no one’s ever respected her passion for the genre, not even her children’s book author/illustrator parents. But Rowan’s named salutatorian, and vengeful classmates plot to end her and Neil’s reign. At first their partnership is purely strategic, but as the pair traverse the city, they begin to open up. Rowan learns that Neil is Jewish too and can relate to both significant cultural touchstones and experiences of casual anti-Semitism. As much as Rowan tries to deny it, real feelings begin to bloom. Set against a lovingly evoked Seattle backdrop, Rowan and Neil’s relationship develops in an absorbing slow burn, with clever banter and the delicious tension of first love. Issues of class, anti-Semitism, and sex are discussed frankly. Readers will emerge just as obsessed with this love story as Rowan is with her beloved romance novels. Rowan’s mother is Russian Jewish and Mexican, and her father is American Jewish and presumably White; most other characters are White.

A dizzying, intimate romance. (author’s note) (Romance. 13-18)

Pub Date: July 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-4024-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: April 7, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020


Evocations of Narnia are not enough to salvage this fantasy, which struggles with thin character development.

A portal fantasy survivor story from an established devotional writer.

Fourteen-year-old Eva’s maternal grandmother lives on a grand estate in England; Eva and her academic parents live in New Haven, Connecticut. When she and Mum finally visit Carrick Hall, Eva is alternately resentful at what she’s missed and overjoyed to connect with sometimes aloof Grandmother. Alongside questions of Eva’s family history, the summer is permeated by a greater mystery surrounding the work of fictional children’s fantasy writer A.H.W. Clifton, who wrote a Narnialike series that Eva adores. As it happens, Grandmother was one of several children who entered and ruled Ternival, the world of Clifton’s books; the others perished in 1952, and Grandmother hasn’t recovered. The Narnia influences are strong—Eva’s grandmother is the Susan figure who’s repudiated both magic and God—and the ensuing trauma has created rifts that echo through her relationships with her daughter and granddaughter. An early narrative implication that Eva will visit Ternival to set things right barely materializes in this series opener; meanwhile, the religious parable overwhelms the magic elements as the story winds on. The serviceable plot is weakened by shallow characterization. Little backstory appears other than that which immediately concerns the plot, and Eva tends to respond emotionally as the story requires—resentful when her seething silence is required, immediately trusting toward characters readers need to trust. Major characters are cued white.

Evocations of Narnia are not enough to salvage this fantasy, which struggles with thin character development. (author’s note, map, author Q&A) (Religious fantasy. 12-14)

Pub Date: Jan. 30, 2024

ISBN: 9780593194454

Page Count: 384

Publisher: WaterBrook

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2023

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