The war is over, but for thirteen-year-old Rachel, the battle has just begun. Putting childhood behind her, she knows what she wants – to prove she has acting talent worthy of the school drama club, and what she doesn’t want – to romantically fall for someone completely inappropriate. Worries about her veteran brother’s failing health and repugnance at her mother’s unexpected and unwanted pregnancy drive her to seek solace from a seemingly sympathetic, but self-serving teacher. The lies she tells herself hoping to reach solutions to the problems complicating her life merely function to make matters worse. Ultimately, she finds a way to come to terms with life as it reaches an end and life as it begins.
The Neighbor’s Son
What if you awakened one day and realized your parents were part of unspeakable evil? Do you turn away from them and therefore yourself? The unique coming of age story of Liesel and her preoccupation with finding her neighbor’s son is extremely eventful and takes the reader from postwar Germany to England, Africa and the United States. It explores interconnectedness between victim and perpetrator and touches on universal themes of family, forgiveness, guilt and justice. This candid account of a family’s history combined with a flawed protagonist’s sexual history will strike deep emotional responses in a thoughtful reader.
A novel of danger, warmth, and dark humor–about a brain-damaged young boy and the friend who knows a terrible secret. Watching Jimmy is an impossible-to-put-down novel full of danger, warmth and dark humor. With shocking candor, young Carolyn relates the truth about what really happened to her best friend, Jimmy, when his Uncle Ted chose the perfect time to teach him a lesson he’d never forget. The truth is, Jimmy didn’t fall from a swing like Uncle Ted claims–Carolyn knows, because she saw everything. According to her, “Uncle Ted just didn’t count on me, Carolyn, [being] perched in a tree where the park and the parking lot meet.” With the dreadful secret locked away, Carolyn walks an emotional tightrope. No matter what else is happening in this post-war era, she must keep an eye on poor, brain-damaged Jimmy: making sure he behaves, keeping him clean and keeping him safe–especially from Uncle Ted. But when Uncle Ted threatens his beleaguered family with even more abuse and the loss of their home, Carolyn must find the courage to match wits with him and to speak out, using the truth as her only weapon. But perhaps her biggest challenge will lie in finding a way to get Jimmy the expensive operation he needs to relieve the pressure on his brain, because: “As I told you, our Jimmy is not a mental defective like people say. Our Jimmy is in there. He’s in there. This I know.” Set in 1958, Watching Jimmy is a brilliant portrait of a time past, a family of strong women, and a resourceful young girl who exudes character, resilience, and, most of all, love.
The Bear Makers
One family’s story of survival in postwar Hungary, 1948. In Budapest after the war, when Kata’s family first returns from hiding, they are glad to be alive and hopeful that life will improve. But the secret police is questioning everyone about their loyalty to the Hungarian Workers Party, and conditions seem to be worsening. The eleven-year-old doesn’t understand why her brother Bela is acting so differently or why he hasn’t come home from his recent excursion. Her father used to own the factory, but now, as an employee, his wages continue to fall. She helps her mother sew the bears they will sell on the black market, but when Kata learns that Bela has escaped the country, she grows angry and sad. In time, she hopes that Bela will make it to America and will send for his family.
The Lady with the Hat
Yulek, a seventeen-year-old Holocaust survivor, finds himself tragically alone at war’s end. Hoping to begin again, he makes his way to Palestine, where he meets a sad and beautiful Jewish girl named Theresa. Saved from the Nazis by Catholic nuns, Theresa, like Yulek, is uncertain about her place in the postwar world. Together they struggle to rediscover the joy of living. Meanwhile, a mysterious English woman sets out on her own search for the long-lost nephew that she has spotted in a newspaper photo of Jewish refugees. Perhaps by finding him, she will also find some long-hidden part of herself.