Saturday, April 23, 2011

Anya's War by Andrea Alban -- ADVISABLE

Alban, Andrea. Anya’s War, 184 pgs. Feiwel and Friends [Macmillan], 2011. $16.99. Sexual Content-G; Language-PG (4 swears [I didn’t count the ones in Yiddish or Russian]); Violence-PG. Based on a true story, Author Andrea Alban creates a fascinating novel about a little known piece of World War II history. Anya Rosen and her Jewish family have left their home in Odessa (Russia) and sought refuge from Stalin in Shanghai with thousands of other Jews. One day Anya is riding her bike and she finds an abandoned newborn Chinese baby. She tries to find the mother, but fails. She takes the baby girl to the orphanage only to find out that baby girls are not wanted and if she leaves her, the baby will die. Anya takes the baby home and tries to hide her from her parents and grandparents. Her Chinese servant Li Mei agrees to help her find the mother or a home for the baby. Meanwhile, Japanese forces are preparing to invade China. Anya and her brother Georgi are at an amusement park when a bomb hits nearby. Author Andrea Alban packs a lot of character development, culture, and history in her novel about two days in Shanghai. Teens will find the story compelling and Anya’s character to be likeable and entirely relatable. Despite what is happening around her, Anya is still a teenage girl who is worried about her bra size, cute boys, and telling her parents about her dreams for the future. MS/HS – ADVISABLE. Samantha, Public Librarian.

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