The Lily Pond Hardcover – Oct 11 2011
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Booklist, December 1, 2011:
"A compelling look at World War II–era Sweden, this distinguished Holocaust story will resonate."
Horn Book, January/February 2012:
"Stephie’s story of adjustment to a new school and of a first crush is both specific and universal"
About the Author
ANNIKA THOR's bestselling quartet featuring the Steiner sisters has been translated into numerous languages and was adapted into a hugely popular television series in Sweden.See all Product Description
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
In "The Lily Pond", the story continues, focusing primarily on Stephie's experiences. Stephie's parents are still working hard to obtain visas that will enable them to emigrate to the United States, but times are difficult, and the process is lengthy and fraught with complications. The rapidly deteriorating situation for the Jews of Austria is conveyed to Stephie via the letters her parents send to her.
Meanwhile, back in Sweden, Stephie, who is now 13, has completed elementary schooling and arrangements have been made for her to continue on to grammar school in Goteborg, a large city on the mainland. Stephie finds herself looking forward to once again living in a big city (since she is originally from the highly cultured city Vienna), and anticipates renewing her acquaintance with Sven, the son of the lodgers who had leased her foster parents' cottage over the summer.
"The Lily Pond" is a well-written historical novel as it credibly explores the themes of alienation and adolescent pangs. Stephie is attracted to the much older Sven, drawn in by his anti-Hitler sentiments as well as his ideas. However, Stephie also finds herself realizing that anti-Semitism is also evident in Sweden, and she has to learn how to navigate this as well as peer pressure. Stephie's foster parents are Pentecostal Christians who are strict and devout, and frown upon watching movies at the cinema (considered sinful) and Stephie has to learn to deal with all of these things while worrying about her parents back in Vienna.
The themes explored in this novel may be serious, but it presents a credible view of the life of a teenage Jewish girl, far from home, during a volatile and dangerous time. Many of the themes explored here can also be used as discussion points with young adults (recommended for Grades 5 and up).
Anyway, .. no more spoilers! This is a heart-breaking book, but still worth reading.
The story has good "book discussion" material. Especially her circumstances, the living situation and her emotional turmoil.
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