Names In a Jar

Second Story. Sept. 2021. 336p. pap. $14.95. ISBN 9781772602074.
Gr 9 Up–Sisters Anna and Lina love spending time in their father’s Warsaw bookshop reading books about science and poetry. That is, until the Nazis seize control of Poland and life as they’ve known it ceases to exist. Anna and Lina tell their family story through alternating perspectives, starting in 1939 and continuing on through the end of World War II and beyond. After the Nazis take control of Poland, Anna, Lina, and their father are relocated to the Warsaw Ghetto. Anna is smuggled out and goes to live with a Christian family where she employs her love of reading and science to become a useful member of her new community. Lina is not as lucky. Remaining in the ghetto to care for her father and work with the Resistance, Lina is transported to the Treblinka death camp in Poland. The fast-paced storytelling sometimes leaves out details that would have rounded out the narrative more.
VERDICT A secondary purchase. This would be a good filler for libraries that can’t keep World War II historical fiction on the shelf. It’s a great pick for reluctant readers and those who enjoy historical fiction and World War II stories.

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