(Not So Little) Little Bits: NetGalley Edition

The Pearl Thief (Code Name Verity, #0.5) by Elizabeth Wein 

Received from NetGalley for review.

3.5 stars

Although this is by no means a poorly written or uninteresting story, The Pearl Thief simply didn’t grab my attention as much as Code Name Verity – it was nowhere near as complex and intriguing, but that could have been due to the setting of pre-war rural Scotland rather than war-torn Europe. I wouldn’t dissuade anyone who loved Code Name Verity from reading this, but I would suggest that they are prepared for a vastly different story.

The insight into Julie’s life before she becomes Verity is obviously fascinating, and a nice prelude to the events of Code Name Verity, but it fell a little flat to me in comparison. Despite the themes of prejudice and discrimination, and a murder-mystery, all steeped in history, I found the story a little dull. I enjoyed learning about the history surrounding Julie’s family and her relationship with the traveller family, the McEwen’s, but I found that the mystery of the missing employee and subsequent investigations rather boring; I just wasn’t bothered how it all played out.

Read: April 16th-May 7th 2017

3.5/5 stars

Hedy’s Journey: The True Story of a Hungarian Girl Fleeing the Holocaust by Michelle Bisson

Received from NetGalley for review. 

‘We had all made it to a safe port in the storm of the Holocaust.’

Hedy’s Journey is the true story of a young Hungarian girl, Heddy, and her experience of trying to flee Hungary during World War II. This short yet effective picture book details Hedy and her family’s journey across Europe and into America during the early 1940’s, as they tried to escape Jewish persecution in Hungary. Although this would have been a terrifying experience no matter the circumstances, Hedy finds herself having to complete part of the journey alone, and experiencing setback after setback with her family – Bisson details the horrors of the war and trying to escape, alongside the hope of better times and goodness of those who helped Jews (amongst countless others) in a mere forty pages with skill.

This, I hope, will become a fantastic resource for young readers – the illustrations are simple yet evocative, easily transporting you into Hedy’s story, and the chunks of writing are ideal for emerging or reluctant readers as you are not overwhelmed with massive amounts of information. As well as telling a nail-biting tale, Hedy’s Journey is ultimately a factual account of the ordeals faced by European Jews, and the things they had to go through to survive – written, in this case, by Hedy’s daughter. I love that there is a timeline of the family’s journey, as well as pictures and the rest of Hedy’s story, at the end of the book, it somehow brings the whole story into perspective when you realise that Hedy and her family were travelling for nearly two years, and that so many other people were doing the same just to try and survive.

Read: April 27th 2017

4/5 stars

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