Resistance by Jennifer Nielsen
Release date: August 28, 2018
Published by: Scholastic Press
Page number: 400
Age range: The publisher says 8-12 years old, but I’d probably recommend for a couple years above that because of all the difficult things seen.
Chaya Lindner is a teenager living in Nazi-occupied Poland. Simply being Jewish places her in danger of being killed or sent to the camps. After her little sister is taken away, her younger brother disappears, and her parents all but give up hope, Chaya is determined to make a difference. Using forged papers and her fair features, Chaya becomes a courier and travels between the Jewish ghettos of Poland, smuggling food, papers, and even people.
Soon Chaya joins a resistance cell that runs raids on the Nazis’ supplies. But after a mission goes terribly wrong, Chaya’s network shatters. She is alone and unsure of where to go, until Esther, a member of her cell, finds her and delivers a message that chills Chaya to her core, and sends her on a journey toward an even larger uprising in the works — in the Warsaw Ghetto.
Though the Jewish resistance never had much of a chance against the Nazis, they were determined to save as many lives as possible, and to live — or die — with honor.
I love this cover and think it represents the book so well with the image of a young girl ready to take on an army knowing there is not much chance of success, but that it’s important to fight the evil anyway.
This story was emotionally poignant, full of suspense, thought provoking with difficult moral questions and dilemmas, and filled with compelling character development.
As to be expected, there are many heart breaking aspects and the book shows how cruel people can be. But the most emotional parts for me were actually seeing the strength and goodness of people as they stood up for right and selflessly helped others. The book does not sugar coat the awful things that happened, but I thought it always maintained a sense of hope and strength and it never felt dark or depressing.
I have read SO many books set during World War II, but I don’t think I’ve ever read anything that focuses on the Jewish resistance. I loved that new perspective and seeing the strength of the Jews that decided to rally together and fight the evil. This is a book where all the thoughts and feelings it brought to mind will stay with me for some time.
I would also highly recommend the author’s other historical fiction novel which is set around the rise of the Berlin Wall: