Anthem by Ayn Rand | Book Review

ANTHEM BY AYN RAND

Genre: Classics, Fiction

“My happiness is not the means to any end. It is the end. It is its own goal. It is its own purpose.”
― Ayn Rand, Anthem

Synopsis:
He lived in the dark ages of the future. In a loveless world, he dared to fall in love. In an age that had lost all trace of science and civilization, he had the courage to seek and find knowledge. But these were not the crimes for which he would be hunted. He was marked for death because he had committed the unpardonable sin: standing out from the mindless human herd. Ayn Rand’s classic tale of a dystopian future of the great “We”—a world that deprives individuals of a name or independence—anticipates her later masterpieces, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.

This seventy-fifth anniversary edition of Anthem, celebrating the controversial and enduring legacy of its author, features an introduction by Rand’s literary executor, Leonard Piekoff, which includes excerpts from documents by Ayn Rand—letters, interviews, and journal notes in which she discusses Anthem. This volume also includes a complete reproduction of the original British edition with Ayn Rand’s handwritten editorial changes and a Reader’s Guide to her writings and philosophy.

Goodreads | Amazon

I am. I think. I will.

I know there are a lot of thoughts about this book. It was my first time ever reading it and I did not know much before jumping into it. It focuses on self-identity and freedom in a collectivism society. This book came at a time of when I was trying to find myself again and the philosophy behind the words really resonated with me. This was not the best book I have ever read and felt like there was true character and plot development that was lacking. It was more of the underlying meaning that had me enjoying the story.

Rand has a way of turning a dystopian type society into parallels of our own society and what happens when the government has too much control on individuals. We face it all the time of being put into a box and sometimes that limits our full potential and even our passions. It happens with women, people of color, those who are in poverty. When the government tries to make a system that works for everyone and the whole as a collective it take away from self identity and freedom from the individual.

This book although short, was filled with ideas and concepts that make you think. It reminded me to be myself and be true to my own identity. It made me feel a lot of things and emotions that I was not expecting and not totally sure was the intention of the book.

You might also like:

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Divergent by Veronica Roth

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Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel | ARC Review

BLACK BIRD OF THE GALLOWS BY MEG KASSEL

Genre: YA, Paranormal

Publication Date: Sept. 5, 2017

Source: Entangled Publishing in return for an honest review

Synopsis:
A simple but forgotten truth: Where harbingers of death appear, the morgues will soon be full.

Angie Dovage can tell there’s more to Reece Fernandez than just the tall, brooding athlete who has her classmates swooning, but she can’t imagine his presence signals a tragedy that will devastate her small town. When something supernatural tries to attack her, Angie is thrown into a battle between good and evil she never saw coming. Right in the center of it is Reece—and he’s not human.

What’s more, she knows something most don’t. That the secrets her town holds could kill them all. But that’s only half as dangerous as falling in love with a harbinger of death.

Goodreads | Amazon 


*I would like to thank Entangled Publishing and the author for the copy of this book in return for an honest review*

A love story in the midst of mass chaos. A interesting and creative YA paranormal read that presents unique mythology and characters. It dove into the world of Harbingers of Death, beekeepers, and the hidden magic within.Angie is no stranger to traumatic events, but life has been going so much better for her, that was until a hunky boy moved in next door.

I enjoyed Kassel’s writing a lot. She uses great details and paints a beautiful picture. The way the story unfolds was a great pace although I feel like the ending was a little rushed. With 20 pages left I was unsure how she was going to wrap everything up. I liked what Kassel did with the characters and mythology. It was a unique curse that I haven’t read about before in a YA novel.

I did find Angie a little annoying at times. She carried on this whole “woe is me” a little too much. I understand everything she went though and she did have a right to some of her actions and feelings, but she really hid herself too much because of this suppose title of “freak“.I thought Reece was a great character and was really complex. Kassel did a good job at filling out his character and giving him those emotions and feelings that should be associated with someone with his curse. I also found the romance to be very typical of a YA novel. It was too fast and unrealistic. It went from a crush to madly in love in 0 to 60 seconds. The romance felt very Twilight to me. One of the notes I made multiple times while reading was this reminded me of Twilight. It just has the same vibe and a similar type of storyline.

Overall I found this to be an enjoyable and fast read. The unique mythology really intrigued me and was what sold me on the story. I loved the cast of characters and the friendships throughout the book. The reason it did not get a 5 star rating for me was because of the unrealistic romance and Twilight vibes. Although the story was different then Edward and Bella’s I could not stop comparing them and thinking about it throughout the book. The mass chaos and effects of the curse were fantastic additions that added to the overall atmosphere of the story. I recommend this to those who enjoy dark paranormals with mythology and romance.

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Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer

The Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

RoseBlood by A.G Howard

 

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord | Book Review

OPEN ROAD SUMMER BY EMERY LORD 

Genre: YA Contemporary

“You are the only person who can build emotional barriers, but you’re also the only person who can topple them. Other people can’t knock down the walls you’ve built, no matter how much they love you. You have to tear them down yourself because there’s something worth seeing on the other side.”
Emery Lord, Open Road Summer

Synopsis:
After breaking up with her bad-news boyfriend, Reagan O’Neill is ready to leave her rebellious ways behind. . . and her best friend, country superstar Lilah Montgomery, is nursing a broken heart of her own.

Fortunately, Lilah’s 24-city tour is about to kick off, offering a perfect opportunity for a girls-only summer of break-up ballads and healing hearts. But when Matt Finch joins the tour as its opening act, his boy-next-door charm proves difficult for Reagan to resist, despite her vow to live a drama-free existence.

This summer, Reagan and Lilah will navigate the ups and downs of fame and friendship as they come to see that giving your heart to the right person is always a risk worth taking.

A fresh new voice in contemporary romance, Emery Lord’s gorgeous writing hits all the right notes.

Goodreads | Amazon 

I am never drawn to contemporary books, but it is a thing to do in the summer and I am happy I picked this one up. It is based on two friends during the summer time and gave me exactly what I needed. This is a fun summer road trip following Dee’s music tour as Dee and Reagan work though situations in their lives while enjoying the time together.

I could not put this book down, it was a fast read and so much fun. I loved the friendship between the two girls and how much they were there for each other. They each had such different personalities and different ghost they were dealing with in their past. I really found a connection to Reagan and some of the things she was going through. She had developed so much throughout the story and it was really nice to see. Of course there is a love interest and at times it took away a little from the two girls,  but it added a deeper layer to the book as well.

The music aspect was so intriguing and nice to read about. I sometimes think that music isn’t used enough in books. Or is a focus in many books. I like that it showed some real realities that accompany the entertainment world and made Dee an actual human with flaws and a past.

Overall I thought this was a great and fun read. It is perfect for the summer time and included so many fun summertime things. The relationships were really well done and it showed all sides of those relationships, the good, bad and the ugly. I also really appreciated that there was a guardian figure present because in so many YA novels these kids run around all on their own. The characters were complex and the storyline was sometimes a little deeper than just a fluffy contemporary, but it was such a fast gripping read.

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Kissing in America by Margo Rabb

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward | Book Review


LOVER ETERNAL
 BY J.R. WARD

Genre: Adult Paranormal Romance

“How can you stand to have me near you?” “The only thing I can’t handle is your leaving.”
J.R. Ward, Lover Eternal

Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood
#1 Dark Lover

Synopsis:
Within the brotherhood, Rhage is the vampire with the strongest appetites. He’s the best fighter, the quickest to act on his impulses, and the most voracious lover-for inside him burns a ferocious curse cast by the Scribe Virgin. Owned by this dark side, Rhage fears the time when his inner dragon is unleashed, making him a danger to everyone around him.

Mary Luce, a survivor of many hardships is unwittingly thrown into the vampire world and reliant on Rhage’s protection. With a life-threatening curse of her own, Mary is not looking for love. She lost her faith in miracles years ago. But when Rhage’s intense animal attraction turns into something more emotional, he knows that he must make Mary his alone. And while their enemies close in, Mary fights desperately to gain life eternal with the one she loves…

Goodreads | Amazon 

review

These books. There are parts that are so cheesy and unrealistic, but J.R Ward is an amazing writer. Only the second book in the series and I am so hooked. I am not a huge fan of romance novels at all, but Ward does so well with character and plot development. Although each book focuses on a relationship they all each continue with the war between the brotherhood and the lessers and the situations going on with all of the brothers. The books are such fast reads as it has an engaging plot and the switch between POV each chapter keeps you wanting more.

I love Rhage as a character and his relationship with Mary was so beautiful. He showed such dedication and really did everything for Mary. There were times I just wanted to smack Mary, but could understand where she was coming from. I was extremely happy with how this romance played out and thought it was perfect.  We get to learn so much more about each brother in this book and really start to get to know them.

So much is going on with the brotherhood and the plot thickens as more of the background is laid for the brotherhood and the lessers. I am definitely pulled in by the plot and liked how in this book there was more of a focus on what is going on rather than the romance.

Overall I think these books are really great guilty pleasure reads. There is a good storyline, lots of action and smoking hot vampires. There is also a lot of depth the the romances and they are not easy and perfect ones. These characters are damaged and flawed and I love that.

On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons From The Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder| Book Review


ON TYRANNY: TWENTY LESSONS FROM THE TWENTIETH CENTURY BY TIMOTHY SNYDER 

Genre: Non-fiction, Political

“Modern tyranny is terror management. When the terrorist attack comes, remember that authoritarians exploit such events in order to consolidate power. The sudden disaster that requires the end of checks and balances, the dissolution of opposition parties, the suspension of freedom of expression, the right to a fair trial, and so on, is the oldest trick in the Hitlerian book. Do not fall for it.”
Timothy Snyder, On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century

Synopsis:
An historian of fascism offers a guide for surviving and resisting America’s turn towards authoritarianism.

On November 9th, millions of Americans woke up to the impossible: the election of Donald Trump as president. Against all predictions, one of the most-disliked presidential candidates in history had swept the electoral college, elevating a man with open contempt for democratic norms and institutions to the height of power.

Timothy Snyder is one of the most celebrated historians of the Holocaust. In his books Bloodlands and Black Earth, he has carefully dissected the events and values that enabled the rise of Hitler and Stalin and the execution of their catastrophic policies. With Twenty Lessons, Snyder draws from the darkest hours of the twentieth century to provide hope for the twenty-first. As he writes, “Americans are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to fascism, Nazism and communism. Our one advantage is that we might learn from their experience.”

Twenty Lessons is a call to arms and a guide to resistance, with invaluable ideas for how we can preserve our freedoms in the uncertain years to come.

Goodreads | Amazon 

This is a book that I believe everyone needs to read regardless of political affiliation and thoughts on current government officials. So many of the points that Snyder makes are so relevant to the current state of our society and makes some great comparisons to history. It was a super quick read that I was able to read in one plane ride.

Snyder goes through 20 lessons and things we as Americans should do in order to save our society from repeating history and letting the US fall to a tyrant. I will say that Snyder is a little biased, but makes relative arguments from past situations in history mainly around communism and racist leaders in Europe and Russia. He also references some great literature such as 1984 by George Orwell and Fahrenheit 451by Ray Bradbury.

I do believe that sometimes history repeats itself because we don’t learn, change or notice  certain things. Snyder explains how we as citizens have so much power even though it sometimes doesn’t seem like it. It is by manipulation, persuasion  and charisma that political leaders take ultimate control. I think it is important for people to educate themselves on situations and political points before make decisions and getting into arguments with others. It is ultimately up to us, the people to make sure our country doesn’t fall to a tyrant and destroy itself.

 

Odd & True by Cat Winters | ARC Review

ODD & TRUE BY CAT WINTERS

Genre: YA, Historal Fiction, Paranormal

Source: Netgalley in return for an honest review

Publication Date: Sept. 12, 2017

Synopsis:
Trudchen grew up hearing Odette’s stories of their monster-slaying mother and a magician’s curse. But now that Tru’s older, she’s starting to wonder if her older sister’s tales were just comforting lies, especially because there’s nothing fantastic about her own life—permanently disabled and in constant pain from childhood polio.

In 1909, after a two-year absence, Od reappears with a suitcase supposedly full of weapons and a promise to rescue Tru from the monsters on their way to attack her. But it’s Od who seems haunted by something. And when the sisters’ search for their mother leads them to a face-off with the Leeds Devil, a nightmarish beast that’s wreaking havoc in the Mid-Atlantic states, Tru discovers the peculiar possibility that she and her sister—despite their dark pasts and ordinary appearances—might, indeed, have magic after all.

Goodreads | Amazon 

*I would like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for the copy of this book in return for an honest review*

I do not know how this is my first Cat Winters book. She has been on my radar for awhile and I have only heard amazing things about her books and writing. When I saw this on netgalley I knew I had to read it. I was not disappointed. I want to state it at the beginning of my review that what really sold me on this book was the ending.

I loved the time period in which this book took place, it was absolutely perfect for the story and gave something extra to the overall atmosphere of the story. I was also greatly pleased that Winters focused on the relationship between sisters and made that the large focus. So much in YA lately there is such a huge dedication to romance. I believe there is more to life and sometimes more important relationships that should be focused on and spotlighted to let those young adults know it is not all about a love interest. The relationship between the sisters is what really what drove the story and made me love this novel.

At the beginning of the book I felt myself losing interest, it did take a little while to really get the story and characters to grab me, but it was worth it to complete to book. I felt like there was great character growth throughout the book and really enjoyed seeing it slowly take place as the story goes back and forth between present time with Tru and the past with Od. I found that Winters did a fabulous job with incorporating Tru as a disabled character. Winters showed that Tru was able to persevere and not let her limited mobility keep her from going after what she wanted. I thought it was really important that Tru never let it hinder her. It was really inspiring. The sisters were so full of life and imagination.

Overall I found the story to be heart warming and full of whimsy. It had some really important messages that Winters really drove home at the end that many people can find guidance in. Od and Tru are some pretty kickass sisters who never give up. This story was absolutely marvelous and full of monstrous creatures. I will for sure be reading Winters other works and cannot wait for this book to be published.

RoseBlood by A.G Howard | Book Review

217a4-rosebloodROSEBLOOD BY A.G HOWARD

Genre: YA Paranormal, Retelling

“Today you become someone new. From this moment on, you belong to the underworld, from which you were born. You are something monstrous, but beautiful. Something fierce, yet fragile. You are Thorn. The part of the rose that is unloved… that everyone fears for its ability to bring a soul to bleed.”
-A. G Howard, RoseBlood

Synopsis:
In this modern day spin on Leroux’s gothic tale of unrequited love turned to madness, seventeen-year-old Rune Germain has a mysterious affliction linked to her operatic talent, and a horrifying mistake she’s trying to hide. Hoping creative direction will help her, Rune’s mother sends her to a French arts conservatory for her senior year, located in an opera house rumored to have ties to The Phantom of the Opera.

At RoseBlood, Rune secretly befriends the masked Thorn—an elusive violinist who not only guides her musical transformation through dreams that seem more real than reality itself, but somehow knows who she is behind her own masks. As the two discover an otherworldly connection and a soul-deep romance blossoms, Thorn’s dark agenda comes to light and he’s forced to make a deadly choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or face the wrath of the phantom who has haunted the opera house for a century, and is the only father he’s ever known.

Goodreads| Amazon

review

As soon as this book was published I went to the library right away because I have been waiting sine I finished Ensnared. I am a huge fan of A.G Howard, her writing and the beautiful worlds she creates. 

At the beginning of the story I was a little nervous. I know this was a retelling of The Phantom of the Opera, but I felt at times it was taking to much from the original story just at the beginning. That quickly changes and I got pulled into the beautifully described world and the events that were going on. The book was so unique and involved so many layers. It was full of the creepy gothic feel and took a turn I was not expecting.

Of course like many books out in the world there was romance. I have to say I really enjoyed this one and loved how it all unfolded. Rune was a strong protagonist, she had been threw so much and grew so much. She really came into her own throughout the book. The development of all of the characters was so well done. The story of the Phantom and Thorn was heartbreaking and complex. I enjoyed all of the side characters as well especially the animal companions. They really added a lot to the story and made the book more complex 

Overall I really enjoyed this book. The world was amazing with beautiful and heartbreaking stories woven together. This is definitely a unique book that cannot compare to anything else I have read. The incorporation of music and the small cameos from the original were nice touches. Although it was a retelling Howard did an amazing job creating a story all of its own. It caught me by surprised multiple times and threw in some interesting twists to the story. It left me in awe and completely satisfied.

RATING-4

You might also like:

Splintered Trilogy by A.G Howard

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

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Garden of Thorns by Amber Mitchell | ARC Review

GARDEN OF THORNS BY AMBER MITCHELL

Genre: YA Fantasy

Source: Entangled Teen in return for an honest review

Publication Date: March 7, 2017

Synopsis:
After seven grueling years of captivity in the Garden—a burlesque troupe of slave girls—sixteen-year-old Rose finds an opportunity to escape during a performance for the emperor. But the hostage she randomly chose from the crowd to aid her isn’t one of the emperor’s men—not anymore. He’s the former heir to the throne, who is now leading a rebellion against it.

Rayce is a wanted man and dangerously charismatic, the worst person for Rose to get involved with, no matter what his smile promises. But he assumes Rose’s attempt to take him hostage is part of a plot to crush the rebellion, so he takes her as his hostage. Now Rose must prove where her loyalties lie, and she offers Rayce a deal—if he helps her rescue the other girls, she’ll tell him all the Garden’s secrets.

Except the one secret she’s kept for seven years that she’ll take to her grave if she must.

Goodreads| Amazon

*I would like to thank Entangled Teen for the copy of this book in return for an honest review*

From the very beginning this book dives right in and takes off with thrilling intensity. The concept of the Garden and all that these captured girls go through in this traveling burlesque troupe was so captivating and made me want to continue from the very start. There are secrets, intrigue and kingdoms at war.

I thought Mitchell did a wonderful job with the opening of the book. I was so drawn in from the first page. She was able to maintain my attention and keep me on the edge of my seat until the end, although I did think it faltered a little in the middle. The character development of the main character Rose was so well executed. She had issues and unlike so many YA novels she actually had to work through her issues and face her own demons which was refreshing. I find that in so many novels the issues are presented and then quickly are dissolved. Rose was a strong female heroine and definitely makes the whole female independence a strong motto.

The other characters were really well developed and so well described that I could picture them perfectly. The thing with such great character development is I feel like Mitchell fell a little short on the world building. There was so much room for great world development being a fantasy novel and even more about the Garden. I was really intrigued by the concept of the Garden and wanted more from it.

I had just a few other issues with this book and without giving too much away, I thought the romance at times was too much. I really liked the way it ended but at the beginning it came on too strong and didn’t follow Roses beliefs but Mitchell managed to straighten it out and actually make me really happy that it was in the story and added a great component. The last problem I found was with how quickly they threw Rose out on missions and how she was trusted with little to no training.

Overall, I found this story to be very unique and nothing I have read before. It did not shy away from the gruesome details and wasn’t afraid to not let a strong female overcome obstacles and shine. Garden of Thorns was a fast read and kept me on the edge of my seat, never knowing what was going to happen the whole time. It made me experience a wide range of emotions and actually had an ending I cannot complain about. I really recommend YA fantasy readers who enjoy strong female leads and times of war and unrest to pick this book up!

You might also like:

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst

Alanna by Tamora Pierce

Girl In The Blue Coat by Monica Hesse | Book Review

26030682GIRL IN THE BLUE COAT BY MONICA HESSE

Genre: YA Historical Fiction

Source: Novl in return for an honest review

“Maybe we can’t barter our feelings away, trading good deeds for bad ones and expecting to become whole.”
Monica Hesse, Girl in the Blue Coat

Synopsis:
Amsterdam, 1943. Hanneke spends her days finding and delivering sought-after black market goods to paying customers, nights hiding the true nature of her work from her concerned parents, and every waking moment mourning her boyfriend, who was killed on the Dutch front lines when the German army invaded. Her illegal work keeps her family afloat, and Hanneke also likes to think of it as a small act of rebellion against the Nazis.

On a routine delivery, a client asks Hanneke for help. Expecting to hear that Mrs. Janssen wants meat or kerosene, Hanneke is shocked by the older woman’s frantic plea to find a person: a Jewish teenager Mrs. Janssen had been hiding, who has vanished without a trace from a secret room. Hanneke initially wants nothing to do with such a dangerous task but is ultimately drawn into a web of mysteries and stunning revelations—where the only way out is through.

Beautifully written, intricately plotted, and meticulously researched, Girl in the Blue Coat is an extraordinary, unforgettable story of bravery, grief, and love in impossible times.

Goodreads | Amazon 

review

I feel like I should give it some more time before I write this review. I am still unsure of the rating I want to give this book. First off I waited way to long to read this book that is for sure. I was sent an ARC of this book by Novl for review last year and put off reading for some reason. I’ve been on a historical fiction kick.

Girl in the Blue Coat is a YA Historical Fiction novel based during the German occupation in the Netherlands during WWII. This book is full of heartbreak, mystery, loss and the underground of the war. The beautifully written book was not at all what I expected it to be and I found it to be a great moving story.

The characters are well developed and complex in each their own way. I enjoyed seeing the revelations that each character came to throughout the novel and relationships that were created. Hanneke has been through a lot already since the start of the occupation living with the guilt of her actions and the stress of providing for her family. She grows so much throughout the story . The complexity of the characters and their struggles and fight drive forward the novel.

I am not sure what else to say about this book because it was a quick read although filled with a lot of emotions. I did enjoy this story, but felt like it had a few slight flaws for me that could not make it an amazing 5 star read. There were times when I felt like the story dragged and was a little repetitive. I needed a driving force to the story that was lacking, but the characters and their development did make up for some of that.

Overall this book explains the darkness of human nature and the flaws that each of us carry with us but also the bravery and strength that can come in the most unlikely of times. This book is perfect for historical fiction lovers especially those who enjoy delving into the WWII era stories. It is full of surprises and mystery and completely threw me when I thought I knew where it was going.

RATING

1

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Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Salt To The Sea by Ruta Sepetys

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Salt To The Sea by Ruta Sepetys | Book Review

25614492SALT TO THE SEA BY RUTA SEPETYS

Genre: YA Historical Fiction

“War is catastrophe. It breaks families in irretrievable pieces. But those who are gone are not necessarily lost.”
Ruta Sepetys, Salt to the Sea

Synopsis:
Winter, 1945. Four teenagers. Four secrets.

Each one born of a different homeland; each one hunted, and haunted, by tragedy, lies…and war.

As thousands of desperate refugees flock to the coast in the midst of a Soviet advance, four paths converge, vying for passage aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that promises safety and freedom.

Yet not all promises can be kept.

Inspired by the single greatest tragedy in maritime history, bestselling and award-winning author Ruta Sepetys (Between Shades of Gray) lifts the veil on a shockingly little-known casualty of World War II. An illuminating and life-affirming tale of heart and hope

Goodreads | Amazon

review

Sepetys has done it again. She has created a beautiful work of historical fiction that she put so much time and research into and surprised me again with an event in history I was not aware of. The story is based during the era of WWII, but focuses on people and stories that at least in my experience do not get enough attention. She brought to life the struggles of a few different teenagers whose lives intersect that each come from a different background, struggle and each carrying their own secrets.

The story was so well developed and the character development was done in such a way that you create an understanding and love for each of them. I could feel the pain and the setting and atmosphere completely drew me in. I could not put this book down. The style it is written in and the jumping between characters drives the story forward and left me needing more.

Overall I found this to be a hauntingly beautiful story that was heartbreaking at times, but shows such a strong display of hope and kindness. I could gush about this book forever but just think everyone needs to read it. The reason this did not have a 5/5 crowns for me was because I struggled with one of the characters. I found his story to not hold up to the rest of the characters and just found him annoying. He did have a purpose in the story, but I just found him irritating. This book is a perfect choice for anyone who loves Historical Fiction and the WWII era, or just a beautifully written story about the struggles of 4 teens.

4.5