4 out of 4 stars
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Have you ever pretended to be someone else? Did you find it exciting and fun? For some during World War II, life depended on their ability to blend in. Hidden Pearl by J.E. Laufer is one such story of a family forced into hiding by the Nazis.
Pearl enjoys living with her large family - including her mother, father, sisters, brothers, and grandparents. Her life in Poland is rich, and, while they don't have much, they are generous with all they have. Unfortunately, the war draws nearer every day; Pearl and her family have heard of the Nazis eliminating whole neighborhoods of Jews, and those that they don't kill are forced into ghettos. One day their neighbor warns them that the troops are headed towards them. They must flee. Will they find a safe place to wait out the war? Will the family manage to stay alive and escape capture?
When I think about the Second World War, work and extermination camps like Auschwitz and Dachau come to mind. I was unaware there were Jews that hid in plain sight during that time. Therefore, this book was educational to me. The book will teach young adults while capturing their interest; it brings this true story to life in a way that children will relate to. Though that time was full of atrocities, the book isn't graphic in nature, making it suitable for a wider (and younger) audience.
Pearl and her family came to life, which kept me invested in the plot. Her family consists of eleven members in total, but the focus is on Pearl. Thus, it's not necessary to remember each and every name presented, and it's not overwhelming.
The chapters are short, and it's a quick read at only around 130 pages in a PDF format. Again, this makes it accessible to young adults and those with shorter attention spans. While the book is more of a novella, the story is complete, and it doesn't feel rushed.
The author includes pictures of the family at the end of the story, which I enjoyed. The story is based on Pearl's actual memories, and we get to put a face to the name with the included images. All the main characters are pictured here, and they weren't quite what I imagined. In addition, Laufer lets us know what happened to the family after the book concludes. It's nice to know that life did continue for them.
There were more grammatical errors than I would have liked; however, there still weren't that many. These errors were all quite minor. In fact, if you aren't looking for them, you might not even notice.
Hidden Pearl is a quick read that I recommend to all young adults in order to understand more about World War II. I'm happy to rate it 4 out of 4 stars because it's easy to fall in love with Pearl. The errors weren't numerous enough to warrant the removal of a star. I hope that everyone finds this as fascinating as I did.
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