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My Long List of Impossible Things

By: Michelle Barker

The arrival of the Soviet army in Germany at the end of World War II sends sixteen-year-old Katja and her family into turmoil. The fighting has stopped, but German society is in collapse, resulting in tremendous hardship. With their father gone and few resources available to them, Katja and her sister are forced to flee their home, reassured by their mother that if they can just reach a distant friend in a town far away, things will get better. But their harrowing journey brings danger and violence, and Katja needs to summon all her strength to build a new life, just as she’s questioning everything she thought she knew about her country.

Katja’s bravery and defiance help her deal with the emotional and societal upheaval. But how can she stay true to herself and protect the people she loves when each decision has such far-reaching consequences?

Author’s note.

ISBN: 9781773213651

JLG Release: Jun 2020


Sensitive Areas: Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: Underage Use; Language: Mild Language; Sexual Content: Mild Sexual Content/Themes; Violence: Death; Violence: Sexual Assault/Rape Reference/Discussion; Violence: War/Harsh Realities of War
Topics: Sisters , Orphans , Piano and pianists , Musicians , Twentieth-century history of Germany , World War II (1939–1945) , Soviet occupation of Germany, 1945–1990

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Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

School Library Journal

School Library Journal

Sixteen-year-old Katja just wants to be a concert pianist, but it’s simply impossible. Living in post–World War II Germany under Russian occupation means that all energy is devoted to surviving. When Katja, her sister Hilde, and their mother are forced to leave their farm, they must rely on the help of distant relatives; but the journey is mark Sixteen-year-old Katja just wants to be a concert pianist, but it’s simply impossible. Living in post–World War II Germany under Russian occupation means that all energy is devoted to surviving. When Katja, her sister Hilde, and their mother are forced to leave their farm, they must rely on the help of distant relatives; but the journey is marked with tragedy and terror. As Katja and Hilde struggle to make themselves indispensable to their relatives, Ilse and Otto, Katja constantly gets into trouble for impulsive actions. The consequences are great as the Russians and Katja’s German neighbors are merciless. Throughout this, Katja and Hilde process the guilt of the German people for the actions of the Nazis and try to avoid the punishment of the Russians. Barker explores a difficult side of history, the treatment of German civilians after World War II, without resorting to making her characters stereotypically heroic or villainous. The brutality of life under occupation is not covered up, and rape, assault, and murder are discussed. For readers who enjoy complex explorations of the past, Barker’s characters and balance of history with fiction make this book a worthwhile read. Recommended for mature readers who ­enjoyed Monica Hesse’s The War Outside and ­Marsha Forchuk ­Skrypuch’s Don’t Tell the Enemy.

Book Details

ISBN

9781773213651

First Release

June 2020

Genre

Fic

Dewey Classification

F

Trim Size

8 1/3 x 5 1/2

Page Count

360

Accelerated Reader

N/A

Scholastic Reading Counts

N/A

Lexile

N/A

Format

Print Book

Edition

Hardcover edition

Publisher

Annick Press

Potentially Sensitive Areas

Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: Underage Use; Language: Mild Language; Sexual Content: Mild Sexual Content/Themes; Violence: Death; Violence: Sexual Assault/Rape Reference/Discussion; Violence: War/Harsh Realities of War

Topics

Sisters, Orphans, Piano and pianists, Musicians, Twentieth-century history of Germany, World War II (1939–1945), Soviet occupation of Germany, 1945–1990,

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