where the writers are
Vivid and beautifully detailed descriptions
Date of Review: 
Mar.01.2011
Published Work: 
Reviewer: 
Rachael Myers
Source: 
School Library Journal

It’s 1937, and Anya Rosen is struggling to adjust to her new home in Shanghai after her family flees secret police and religious persecution in Odessa, Ukraine. Trying to adapt to the unfamiliar and hectic city, she has typical 14-year-old worries about boys and pleasing her parents, but she also carries the weight of events of the times. Will Japan attack Shanghai? Will her idol, Amelia Earhart, ever be found? The story centers on Anya’s discovery of an infant girl left abandoned on the streets and her determination to save her life and find her mother. By the book’s end, Anya has grown from a sheltered girl into a solid character who questions the inequalities of the world around her and makes connections between the Nazis’ persecution of Jews and the treatment of women in Chinese society. The story is filled with vivid and beautifully detailed descriptions of the city, yet some of the action-filled scenes feel muddled. The smattering of Yiddish, Italian, Hebrew, and Chinese terms gives the story added authenticity, but will be a challenge to most readers. Based on the author’s own family history, the story explores a relatively unknown aspect of the Jewish diaspora in the years before World War II.