Number the Stars was recommended to my sister and I by a friend of ours'. The friend (who shall remain unnamed, for privacy reasons) was enamored with the book, as was her sister. They both insisted that Bree and I should read it. It's a very quick read; I think it only took me a day to finish it, and although I normally prefer long books (it gives me more time to really get to know the characters), I still liked NTS very much.
Number the Stars
By Lois Lowry
*Summary taken from the back of the book
Ten-year-old Annemarie Johansen and her Jewish best friend, Ellen Rosen, often think about life before the war. But it's now 1943, and their life in Copenhagen is filled with school, food shortages, and the Nazi soldiers marching in their town.
The Nazis won't stop. The Jews of Denmark are being "relocated," so Ellen moves in with the Johansens and pretends to be part of the family.
Then Annemarie is asked to go on a dangerous mission. Somehow she must find the strength and courage to save her best friend's life. There's no turning back now.
Like I said before, this book is a quick read, and for many avid readers, it may seem very easy, especially if you're used to reading the classics by authors such as Austen or Dickens, where the language is much harder. I also found the "dangerous mission" to be, while still very dangerous, very brief, so it wasn't quite as climactic as the summary makes it seem. But, considering that Annemarie was only ten (sometimes she seems a lot older), the mission was extremely age-appropriate.
One reason I liked this story is because you can get a taste of what it was like to be a young girl who was not Jewish, but had a friend who was a Jew. I've read Anne Frank's diary and other books from the point of view of the Jewish people, and while they are very interesting, it was nice to read Number the Stars, which took a new twist on the story. The history is the same--it's just told a different way.
And of course we cannot conclude this book review without mentioning Kirsti, Annemarie's little sister. As the oldest in a large family, I have a natural love for the youngest characters that I encounter in books, and I found her quite the most entertaining character in the whole story. For instance, because of the war, there is a shortage of leather in Copenhagen. But Kirsti needs new shoes, so Mrs. Johansen finds shoes made of fish skin. And, as you can probably imagine, Kirsti is not thrilled by her new "fish shoes." To quote her, "I won't ever, ever wear them! Not if you chain me in a prison and beat me with sticks!" That is, until Ellen offers to use her father's ink to paint the shoes black, which cheers Kirsti up quickly. :)
If you enjoy a quick, easy read that still manages to convey a good deal of the emotion a 300+ page novel would contain, read this book.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
A BIT O' READING FOR THE DAY
"Kirsti sighed as Annemarie went to the breadbox in the kitchen. 'I wish I could have a cupcake,' she said. 'A big yellow cupcake, with pink frosting.'
"Her mother laughed. 'For a little girl, you have a long memory,' she told Kirsti. 'There hasn't been any butter, or sugar for cupcakes, for a long time. A year, at least.'
"'When will there be cupcakes again?'
"'When the war ends,' Mrs. Johansen said. She glanced through the window, down to the street corner where the soldiers stood, their faces impassive beneath the metal helmets. 'When the soldiers leave.'" ~Number the Stars, Chapter 1: "Why Are You Running?"