Book Review: The Stolen Ones - Vanessa Curtis

Book Review: The Stolen Ones – Vanessa Curtis

My name is Inge. I am sixteen. I live in Munich. Food is rationed, though the war ended years ago. My boyfriend is Jewish. My parents would not approve, so I hide this from them. I think they are hiding something from me, too. Letters arrive on my birthday, but they are not addressed to me. They are for a girl named Kasia. This is her story.

After picking this up at YALC I thought I knew what this book would be about and I was pleasantly proved wrong while reading The Stolen One. This has a lot of twists and turns throughout which I didn’t expect – it’s kind of part historical fiction, part mystery. Different, but I like it.

What stood out for me about this book is that it focused on the wider Nazi horrors and what they did to a large number of communities as well as the Jewish population. A lot of WW2 and post war fiction focuses on the Holocaust – and rightfully so! But, it means that I haven’t read much about others who were impacted by the Nazi regime.

I really liked Inge, I found her to be intelligent and headstrong but also realistic for a 16 year old who’s surrounded by secrets. It shows both the good and bad in people and that just because a war ends, doesn’t mean that things go back to normal. There is a lot of confusion, hurt and pain after such an event.

The relationships Inge have are vital to the plot and it was clear there was both planning and care that went into writing them. At times I felt the her conflict and confusion. The novel did a great job of capturing that age where you realise the adults around you are humans with their own flaws, thoughts and feelings that might not match yours.

I do wish that the book had been longer, I felt that there could have been even more to the novel and get into some more depth – I can’t pinpoint where I would have liked it because it would be a massive spoiler!

Last but not least, I learned a great deal from this book about parts of the war I knew nothing about and after reading I definitely want to do some of my own research. This was so well told – I really want to have a read of other novels by Vanessa Curtis at some point.

I gave this 4 stars, I thought this book was interesting and there were quite a few twists that I didn’t see coming which was really appreciated. If you enjoy fiction about WW2 this will be a good read for you even though it is set after the end of the war. I’d really love to know more about what happens to the characters after the end of the novel as well which is a sign they were well written.

Book Review – Dear Martin

Dear Martin

Justyce is a straight-A student headed to one of the top universities in the world, he’s smart, kind and a good guy. That doesn’t stop him being racially profiled by a police officer and put in handcuffs for no reason. Trying to make sense of it all he starts writing letters to Martin Luther King Jr and his personal project is born.

I’d heard about this on Booktube a little bit but I honestly think that it deserves more attention. This is a novel that gets to your heart. This looks at a situation of not quite feeling like you fit. Justyce is from what is regarded as a rough neighbourhood but on a scholarship to an incredibly prestigious school. He is caught between the two and it is important to look at how he copes and at how racism exists and breeds in a privileged setting.

One of a string of novels to come from the injustice in the USA change is happening. It is a change we need to happen. I’m not nieve enough to think that the UK doesn’t have problems with race, a lot needs to change here, but what is happening in the US is on another level to anything I’ve ever seen. So many needless deaths and violence because of someone’s skin colour. It makes your heart and your head hurt.

The reason that this got 4 stars is because there were elements I found a little problematic for me. Some of the language that the boys use about women was a little extreme but this might be how she chose to present the characters. I also felt like the ending was quite sudden. This is a relatively short novel and I would have loved for it to have had more towards the end.

Overall, I thought it was an engaging and important novel. Nic Stone is definitely one to watch and I’m looking forward to seeing what she does next.

Have you read Dear Martin? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below.