This is one of the best WWII books I’ve read and devoured it in 2 days. It’s a unique story, inspired from true life events of survival against horrible odds.
Yona (not the name her parents gave her) is two years old when an old woman kidnaps her from her wealthy German parents and takes her to live in the forests of eastern Europe during the years in which Hitler starts to gain his power. The old woman teaches Yona everything she needs to know about survival in the woods, as well as self defense and how to kill someone bigger than her. Yona is not allowed to have any contact with the outside world and knows almost nothing about what is going on. When the old woman dies Yona continues living in isolation in the woods until she comes across of group of Jews fleeing the Nazis.
The group is barely surviving and despite warnings from the old woman to stay isolated, Yona befriends them and teaches them how to survive in the wilderness. In turn, they teach her about living in a community and opening herself up to other people. When Yona is forced to enter a village, past lives collide and Yona’s new-found peace and identity is shattered.
I read this book in a day and half. I just couldn’t put it down. The book flows effortlessly and the author does a fantastic job of painting a picture of Yona’s struggles and determination. Some atrocities of the war are described, but there is nothing too graphic depicted. A few of the side characters are well-developed as they relate to Yona and further her story along, but the other minor characters are fairly stereotypical. However, this is not too distracting because the main storyline is so compelling.
I know that there have been a plethora of WWII books released in the last several years and we’re all a bit tired of reading them, but you should make an exception and pick up this amazing book. You’ll thank me for it later.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley and Gallery Books. All opinions are my own.