The Plot In Five Sentences Or Less: Sara’s life as a Jewish girl in a small French town is upended in 1940 when Germany invades her country. As the precariousness of her new life under Nazi rule becomes undeniable, she is separated from her parents and hidden in a barn by a school acquaintance named Julian. The war draws on and Sara realizes that she may have to endure life in the barn for quite some time. With this understanding comes the grief that she may never see her parents again but also gratitude for the enormous risk that Julian and his family are taking to keep her hidden.
My Take: I was enormously impressed by this graphic novel. Palacio has certainly proven that she has more in her artistic well than just the popular book Wonder. I was gripped by the intensity of the story and the growing bonds between the characters as they suffer under Nazi cruelty. Due to some violent content, librarians and teachers may consider treating this a Teen rather than a Juvenile read. Highly recommended.
One Interesting Thing About The Author: In addition to writing, Palacio also illustrated the graphic novel.
The Plot In 5 Sentences Or Less: The past year has been rough for Leah as her family deals with tragedy and her friendships are changing at school. As the summer begins, she finds that she and her best friend Tess have drifted apart, leaving a hole in her life. Luckily Leah soon meets a curly redhead girl her age named Jasper who is new in town. The girls become instant best friends, but Leah discovers that Jasper’s life is full of hurtful secrets. As each girl grapples with the broken parts of their lives, they realize that being a true friend is neither simple nor easy.
My Take: This book convincingly portrays a friendship between two girls who are each grappling with pain. The story is less of a thrill ride and more of an unfolding of the characters as the reader gets to know each of them. I was most interested in the sense of co-dependency that forms within moments of the girls’ meeting. Each senses in the other something that they are missing and that they desperately need and want. This urge is so powerful that at times they end up hurting the other person. I knew from the start that the friendship between Leah and Jasper would not be smooth, but I definitely enjoyed the bumpy relationship between them. Highly recommended to girls around the age of 11 – 13.
One Interesting Note About The Author: Ms. Snyder lives in Ormewood Park in Atlanta which is the setting for “My Jasper June.”