Thursday, August 26, 2021

Names in a Jar by Jennifer Gold

Twelve-year-old Anna Krawitz is imprisoned in the Warsaw Ghetto with her older sister, Lina, and their father. Happy days spent reading about anatomy and science in Papa's bookshop are long gone, and the knowledge they have is used to help their neighbors through the illnesses caused by starvation and war.

With no hope in sight and supplies dwindling, Anna finds herself taking care of an orphaned baby. With a courage she didn't know she had, Anna and the baby leave behind all they know and go into hiding with a Catholic family, changing their names to hide their identity, but Lina is not so lucky and winds up in the infamous Treblinka Camp. Can Lina survive and find her way back to Anna? Will the two sisters even recognize each other after such a long time?

A story filled with hope, courage and reconciliation.

Kindle, 336 pages
Expected publication: September 14th 2021
by Second Story Press
4/5 stars

The cover is what drew me to this book.  I love reading middle grade and that was my initial impression.  However, its geared more for teens and YA.  Even though Anna is only 12 years old when this story begins we get to watch her become a teen and grow up before her time.

Though the eyes of these two sisters, Anna and Lina, a clear picture is shown of what life was like before being expelled to the Warsaw Ghetto and what transpired there.  At times heartbreaking to read and maybe for a younger audience it might be a little much, it isn't graphic but you get a clear picture what takes place.  

One of the things I love about reading HF is learning, and once again I was education.  From the Treblinka Camp to Irena Sendler (Jolenta is based on her and I would have loved to read more) to Catholics taking in Jewish children, unknown parts of that era to me.

Names in a Jar is a story of survival, heartache and family.  One I recommend but don't let the whimsical cover deceive you.

My thanks to Second Story Press (via Netgalley) for a e-arc in exchange for a honest review.  Look for this book on Sept 14th. 

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