My first review from this summer is Olivia Twist, which is a new take on the classic Oliver Twist story. In this new rendition, Olivia WAS Oliver when she was younger. When her mother dies in childbirth, Olivia's caretakers wisely raise her as a boy so she can survive the streets unmolested. She successfully passes herself off as Oliver, even to the Artful Dodger, until a random pickpocketing episode brings her face to face with her biological great uncle, who takes her in and allows her to reveal her true gender.
Years later, Olivia again comes in contact with the Dodger, now in the guise of handsome Jack MacCarron. Olivia is about to become engaged to one of the most eligible bachelors in town, but Jack throws a monkey wrench into those plans. Much heavy breathing follows, but it's all very PG-rated.
I found this to be a thoroughly enjoyable remake of the Dickens classic with a satisfying ending and enough action and suspense in the middle to keep me listening. This would be a great YA recommendation.
The story takes place in the winter of 1945, as the Nazis are losing World War II, and the Russians are pushing West through Poland. The four main characters eventually find themselves at the port in Gotenhafen, trying desperately to flee before oncoming troops, and their stories converge onboard the Wilhelm Gustloff
Each of the main characters has something significant to hide, so much of the first part of the book is spent in keeping their secrets. Once they reach the Gustloff, the tension continues to build until the climactic disaster and aftermath. I have to say, the character of Alfred was one of the creepiest, most irritating characters I've encountered in a while, but Sepetys does a fantastic job creating four completely realistic main characters.
As I was reading it, the novel didn't strike me as YA, but it is from the Penguin Teen division, and I would certainly recommend it for the classroom. I also love that Sepetys shares much of her research and some verbatim interviews at the conclusion of the novel which will enhance the knowledge of readers. Definitely a recommended read.
|Books You Gotta Read||
Books You Gotta Read