Hello! I hope you are all doing well right now, and are staying healthy! I’ve been a bit overwhelmed the past week, because I started distance learning on Wednesday, and I’m still getting used to almost entirely using google classroom for all of my schoolwork, but right now I’m back with a review on my stop of the blog tour of They Went Left, by Monica Hesse.
They Went Left
Author: Monica Hesse
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: April 7th 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
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.
I received an e-arc via the Fantastic Flying Book Club and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion in any way.
This book is amazing. Incredible. Fantastic. Astounding. Heartbreaking, but still remarkable. Really. They Went Left, by Monica Hesse is one of the best books that I have ever read.
I have read a lot of books about world war two, and the holocaust, and they all take place during the war. Every single one. They Went Left shows that while the war officially ended in September 2, 1945, the horrors did not go away. Jews that had survived the camps returned to find their homes taken over, or destroyed, and returned to find themselves alone, the rest of their family killed, or that they’d been separated.
The entire premise for this book was enough to pull me in, and once I’d started the book, I couldn’t stop reading until I’d finished. The plot was so interesting, and complicated, and I could never have imagined how the story would end, and definitely not how it would get to the ending. It wasn’t a book where less than halfway through I’m like; oh, I know whats going to happen, then at the end, I’m like ‘called it’.
This book was more of a ‘what in the world just happened there, and how could the author do this to me and make me suffer such pain on the way to the ending’. In a good way, of course.
The dialogue, the description, the structure in this book, is, incredibly done. When I was reading the book, I felt like I was literally there with the characters, and that I knew them, and that I was witnessing the events in person.
Reading a book where the writing is that good is an incredible experience, and just overall fantastic. I felt as if I was was really experiencing and feeling all of Zofia’s adventures, hopes, and dreams as if they were my own.
Abek to Zofia, A to Z, and every person in between, amazing. Zofia especially was an incredible character to read about. Zofia is the narrator throughout this book, and is somewhat unreliable. A survivor of unimaginable horrors, all she wants to do is find her brother, and it is really interesting to see how her character changes and develops throughout the book, while her main goal stays the same.
Have you ever read a book where you by the end feel really connected to the main character? Or three of them? In They Went Left, you are introduced to so many new characters, and they are marvelously detailed and described.
Monica Hesse is the New York Times bestselling author of Girl in the Blue Coat, American Fire, and The War Outside, as well as a columnist at The Washington Postwriting about gender and its impact on society. She lives outside Washington, D.C. with her husband and their dog.
Follow the whole tour here to read more reviews and learn more about the book!
Prize: Win (1) of (2) copies of THEY WENT LEFT by Monica Hesse (US Only)
Starts: 8th April 2020
Ends: 22nd April 2020
Overall, I loved this book. I am so happy that I was able to read an advance reader copy, because it is an amazing work of historical fiction, and I definitely recommend it.
It’s definitely not a light and fluffy novel, however, it is a hopeful novel, and one that is really incredible to read.
My rating: ★★★★★