Isabel’s War

Lila Perl. Ig/Skurnick (Consortium, dist.), $12.95 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-9396-0127-8
Published posthumously, Perl’s moving WWII novel set in the Bronx traces a Jewish girl’s growing awareness of the atrocities occurring overseas. At first, 12-year-old Isabel views the war as an inconvenience, bemoaning new rationing rules and the growing shortages of luxury items. Similarly, she resents the arrival of Helga, a beautiful German refugee with “a swanlike neck, and luminous gray-green eyes,” who ends up living with Isabel’s family when Helga’s American guardian turns ill. But as Isabel gleans bits of information about Helga’s horrific experiences in Germany and in England, where she was delivered as part of the Kindertransport, Isabel’s heart gradually softens. Now her problem is getting others to believe Helga’s tales and persuading Helga that she is not to blame for what her family suffered. This coming-of-age story offers an authentic glimpse of the 1940s American war effort and corresponding sentiments while introducing a realistically flawed heroine whose well-meaning efforts sometimes backfire. A revelation about Helga’s past and the mystery of what happened to her immediate family members will whet appetites for the novel’s completed sequel. Ages 8–12. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/22/2014
Release date: 11/01/2014
Ebook - 224 pages - 978-1-939601-37-7
Hardcover - 224 pages - 978-1-939601-36-0
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