by Ruta Sepetys
Think back to your childhood history classes. How well do you remember Hitler's atrocities? How about Stalin's? This is the fictional story of one family taken from their home in the middle of the night.
Lena is a proud Lithuanian girl. Her father is a respected university worker. She sees no reason anyone should want to harm her family and that is why the invasion is such a shock. In some ways, her family is lucky. Mother and children are allowed to stay together through their journey and hardships. Lena's naivete is a problem for her at times, but she also has skills that aid her family a great deal.
Amazingly, throughout the story, Lena manages to see hope in many ways. She makes a friend early on and learns the true meaning of trust. Like any coming of age story, Lena's is one which shows her beliefs being proved both right and wrong.
Lena's story is powerful. It is a reminder of a time in history that many want to forget, but no one ever should. I had two other people read this book before I even returned it to the library.