The Light in Hidden Places – Sharon Cameron


 The Light in Hidden Places – Sharon Cameron, Scholastic, (9781338355932), 2020

Format: Paperback ARC

Rating:  1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

 Genre: Historical fiction

 

What did you like about the book? Stefania/Stefi/Fusia is a teenager living in Przemysl, Poland during World War II.  She works in a shop and lives with the Jewish family who own it.  She is in love with one of the sons, Izio.  Then the Nazis come.  They take over the town, building a ghetto for the Jews, killing and deporting many.  Penniless and alone, she goes home to her family in the country – only they are no longer there with the exception of her 6-year-old traumatized and starving little sister, Helena.  Stefi returns to Przemsyl with Helena, hides Max, one of the sons from the family she lived with.  And suddenly she finds herself hiding 13 Jews in a two-bedroom apartment that is subsequently taken over my two German nurses and their SS boyfriends.  All this while the thirteen are hiding upstairs in the attic!  Obviously one becomes as tense as Stefi as she tries to feed 13 people hidden in her attic with no money and knowing that the punishment for hiding a Jew is death.

Did I mention there is no indoor plumbing, toilet or electricity?

If this story were just fiction, you would probably not believe it; I don’t think I would.  But it is true.  At the end of the story are photos of the real Stefi and Max (whom she marries) and her sister Helena. We learn what their lives were like following the war.

Anything you did not like about the book?  The cover.  It depicts a beautiful girl, all made up peeking through a door.  NOT what the book is about.  The pictured girl is 100% inappropriate for this story.  I saw the upcoming paperback cover and it is much, much better.

 To whom would you recommend this book? This is for those who like stories about the resistance during World War II, about an incredibly brave heroine who succeeds against formidable odds.

Who should buy this book? Public and high school libraries

Where would you shelve it? YA fiction

 Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  Top 1/4

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Katrina Yurenka, Retired Librarian, Manager, Youth Services Book Review

Date of Review: 3/3/2020

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