Once

From Max, Teen Book Reviewer
author: Gleitzman, Morris
Once
This book is about a young boy named Felix whose parents are Jewish booksellers. This book takes place during the time of the Nazis, so to protect Felix, his parents leave him in a Christian orphanage. Felix’s first encounter with the Nazis was at the orphanage. He saw them burning Jewish books outside the orphanage. He thinks that all the Nazis are doing is burning books, which is very serious to him. He later escapes from the orphanage and goes on a quest to find and warn his parents about the Nazis. On the way he matures; saves a girl from a burning house, finds out what the Nazis are actually doing, and gets caught. During the journey one of the only things keeping Felix going are his exaggerated stories about his parents, which help him believe that they’re still out there. Throughout the whole journey he has to use his creativity to get out of bad situations. This book is definitely worth reading.

Year of Wonders

From Segers, Rebecca
author: Brooks, Geraldine
Year of Wonders
 This novel is historical fiction set in a small village in England 1665-55 during the Plague.  It is based on the factual experience of an actual village that self-imposed a quarantine during that time so that they would not spread the disease to other communities.  It is beautifully written from the perspective of a young mining widow with two children who works for the village rector and his wife as a housekeeper.  Her connections to them, to her family and her friends are vividly portrayed as they all suffer losses seemingly too large to bear and yet somehow come through it all with a measure of hope.  The book was engaging and educational; I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.