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They Went Left

By: Monica Hesse

Germany, 1945.
The soldiers who liberated the Gross-Rosen concentration camp said the war was over, but nothing feels over to eighteen-year-old Zofia Lederman. Her body has barely begun to heal; her mind feels broken. And her life is completely shattered: Three years ago, she and her younger brother, Abek, were the only members of their family to be sent to the right, away from the gas chambers of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Everyone else—her parents, her grandmother, radiant Aunt Maja—they went left.

Zofia's last words to her brother were a promise: Abek to Zofia, A to Z. When I find you again, we will fill our alphabet. Now her journey to fulfill that vow takes her through Poland and Germany, and into a displaced persons camp where everyone she meets is trying to piece together a future from a painful past: Miriam, desperately searching for the twin she was separated from after they survived medical experimentation. Breine, a former heiress, who now longs only for a simple wedding with her new fiancé. And Josef, who guards his past behind a wall of secrets, and is beautiful and strange and magnetic all at once

But the deeper Zofia digs, the more impossible her search seems. How can she find one boy in a sea of the missing? In the rubble of a broken continent, Zofia must delve into a mystery whose answers could break her—or help her rebuild her world.

"A Note on History and Research."

ISBN: 9780316490573

JLG Release: Aug 2020


Sensitive Areas: Violence: Sexual Assault/Rape , Sexual Content: Strong Sexual Content/Themes , Violence: Suicide , Violence: Strong Violence , Discrimination: Religious , Violence: Death , Violence: Genocide
Topics: Holocaust survivors , Brothers and sisters , Polish Jews , Jewish Holocaust (1939–1945) , History of Europe, 1945 , German occupation of Poland (1940–1945) , World War II (1939–1945)

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Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

School Library Journal*

School Library Journal

A heartbreaking and heartwarming story of survival, loss, and renewal. The year is 1945, and Zofia finds herself in a hospital after being liberated from the Gross-Rosen concentration camp in Poland. Suffering from memory loss in a hospital with other survivors, Zofia relies on the kindness of Dima, a Russian soldier, to get home and find her littl A heartbreaking and heartwarming story of survival, loss, and renewal. The year is 1945, and Zofia finds herself in a hospital after being liberated from the Gross-Rosen concentration camp in Poland. Suffering from memory loss in a hospital with other survivors, Zofia relies on the kindness of Dima, a Russian soldier, to get home and find her little brother, Abek. However, the home Zofia returns to is not one she recognizes. She quickly discovers that she needs to continue her search for Abek elsewhere. Alone, Zofia travels across borders to locate her brother; she doesn’t know what happened to him or where he ended up, but she will not give up hope that he is alive and looking for her. This book starts where many World War II fiction ends: liberation. Readers travel with Zofia as she struggles to piece her life back together and discover what a family looks like now. Hesse’s meticulous research of this moment in history creates an overwhelming sense of time and place. She intertwines historical fact with masterful storytelling that allows readers to embrace the characters and relate to them without forgetting the heaviness of the time period. Highly recommended as a first purchase for both public and school libraries. Sure to please a variety of readers; those interested in historical fiction, romance, and mystery will not be able to put this book down.

Book Details

ISBN

9780316490573

First Release

August 2020

Genre

Fic

Dewey Classification

F

Trim Size

5 3/4" x 8 1/2"

Page Count

384

Accelerated Reader

N/A

Scholastic Reading Counts

N/A

Lexile

N/A

Format

Print Book

Edition

Hardcover edition

Publisher

Little, Brown BFYR

Potentially Sensitive Areas

Violence: Sexual Assault/Rape , Sexual Content: Strong Sexual Content/Themes , Violence: Suicide , Violence: Strong Violence , Discrimination: Religious , Violence: Death , Violence: Genocide

Topics

Holocaust survivors, Brothers and sisters, Polish Jews, Jewish Holocaust (1939–1945), History of Europe, 1945, German occupation of Poland (1940–1945), World War II (1939–1945),

Standard MARC Record

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Cover Art

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Book Genres

Historical Fiction

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