It’s liberation day and Gerta is confused, soldiers grabbing her, removing the dead, delivering her to a doctor. This kind of care she hasn’t experienced in years. In the hospital, she meets Lev, another teenager who has survived the same evil as her, he holds her hand.
This was an interesting take on a holocaust story. Very rarely do people make stories about what it was like for the victims after they were liberated. It’s usually in the epilogue or the curtains close with the final words being, “the Americans are here!” I have a deep love for another book that dared to show what life was like after freedom, Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein, and so I feel that this book will also stick with me.
As the title may suggest, music plays a large role in this story, I would even go as far as to say it is another supporting character. It is with Gerta before the war as a way she and her family connect and show love. During the war, it saves her life in Auschwitz where instead of being killed, she is made to join the orchestra. After the war, it is what allows her to reconnect with life. I don’t think you need to love music to appreciate this story, but I do think that if you love or respect music, it will make the story just that more special.
This is a great young adult holocaust novel for more of the 12-14 age range. I think it lets them read a story that isn’t too brutal, but is still respectful and representative of what people went through.