Thursday, January 30, 2014

Teen Review: Historical fiction

Title: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
Author: John Boyne
Number of pages: 216
Genre: Historical fiction
Part of a series: No
Reading level: Age 12 and up
Reviewed by: Camryn, grade 9

Two young boys of very different backgrounds and living circumstances are thrown together by history and fate. They are separated by a fence, but become friends out of loneliness and curiosity. The story takes place during World War II. Bruno is a young boy whose dad is the commander of the concentration camp, Auschwitz. The other boy is named Schmuel, and he is a Jewish prisoner inside Auschwitz. They are both exposed tremendously to the evil present in their world that has terrible future consequences for them and their families.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is so amazing and heart-breaking all at once! The book highlights the importance of studying and knowing history. History can repeat itself, many times with terrible consequences. It is important to be aware of past historical events, because it helps society guard itself against future tragedies. The book cover is absolutely striking in its simplicity. The light and the darker gray stripes accentuate the dark, black writing. The book cover foreshadows the gloomy aspect of what the book is about. Also, the stripes on the cover are similar to the striped pajamas that Schmuel and the other prisoners have to wear in the concentration camp.

My favorite character in the book is Bruno. Bruno is a normal, little kid--except that his dad is the commander of Auschwitz. Still, it is very easy to connect with him and his character. This may be due to the fact that he is narrating the book, or maybe because of his child-like innocence when everything and everyone around him is filled with emptiness and cold hearts. This book teaches a lot historically, but the main principle I learned and grasped onto was that when evil people attain great power, bad things happen and innocent, powerless people will suffer.

It is a wonderful read for anyone who loves history and historical plots and settings. It is a captivating story that moves fairly fast and holds your attention to the very end. It is definitely one of the better, more meaningful books I have read in a long time! My rating: 5.

Note: The library also owns the movie, the sound recording, and the e-book!

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