By: Kathryn Lasky
While reading this historical fiction book I thought it was completely fabricated. The book was about a girl, Lilo, who is taken to a concentration camp with her parents. Her dad is sent away and Lilo and her mom, Bluma, are picked by Leni Riefenstahl, Hitler's favorite filmmaker, to be in a movie. Lilo, Bluma, a boy named Django, and everyone else picked go to the set where they are going to film the movie. From then on, mostly bad things happen. The reason I didn't realize this book was based on fact was because of the lack of emotion. I didn't feel connected to Lilo at all even though the book was based on someone who actually was picked to be in Leni's film. It was as if Lasky was talking to me, recounting her day, and no matter what she said I just sort of said "oh, that's nice" because I wasn't really paying attention. The problem was that what she was saying wasn't nice. I should have been more invested in Lilo and what happened to her, but I wasn't. One problems was that the book was very scattered. There never seemed to be a point. When she was making the film she was just trying to stay alive. She was obviously falling in love with Django but wasn't saying anything about it. She didn't like Leni, but there was nothing she could do about it. She was worried for her mom but not that worried. There was never an end in sight because Lilo didn't really think about the future. She never had any insight into what would happen next. The book is clearly split into two sections. The second one has almost nothing to do with the first section. The second section came out of the blue and I can't figure out the need for it. By the end of the book basically everything Lilo worked towards failed. If she prevented something once, it just happened later, except once it happened she wasn't upset about it because she had given up. The whole book just felt like a series of rather random and unfortunate events. The only thing that had the inkling of feeling was Lilo's relationship with Django. The reason this was better than her relationship with anyone else was because it never stated the fact that she fell in love with him, well that is, it didn't state it until late in the book. For once, I, as the reader, had to actually draw a conclusion for myself.
This book was like a bitter apple. Overall, just not that good. It has that fresh bite that sticks with you even after you've finished it. The apple was bitter, sour, and hard. There wasn't any juice. Being a fan of historical fiction, this book was a big let down. I would give this book a 1.5.