The book is about a Ukrainian boy trying to survive during the horrors of World War Two. After Luka escapes from the German labor camp he was forced into from his home in Kyiv, he promises to come back and find his dearest friend, Lida, whom he left behind. Evading capture from the Nazis and the Russian forces, he journeys through the mountains, determined to return to his homeland. However, he meets the Ukrainian Insurgent Army. Will Luka find Lida and his broken family?
I liked how Luka became more mature as the story progressed, probably due to the pressure of the war. However, the main problem with Luka’s personality is that he keeps being reminded of the life in Kyiv. The description in the book were so realistic that when I visualized it, it was as if I was in the story myself, pursued by German soldiers or a handful of NKVD agents. The book also has a fast-paced and urgent storyline, which I liked as well, since it keeps me entertained. This book was a very intriguing experience for me and I will definitely read the previous book in the duology.
One of the reasons the book is special is because it reveals the terrible truth of warfare to teenagers, without being too violent and scary. The desperate people left with nothing to survive, the people marched into work camps, and the people who died protecting their country all are the truth and tragedy of war. The book prevents wars of the future.
Reviewed by Eric Hu, Grade 7, Twin Hickory Area Library