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The extraordinary story of Stefania Podgorska, a Polish teenager who chose bravery and humanity by hiding thirteen Jews in her attic during WWII -- from #1 New York Times bestselling author Sharon Cameron. One knock at the door, and Stefania has a choice to make... It is 1943, and for four years, sixteen-year-old Stefania has been working for the Diamant family in their groc The extraordinary story of Stefania Podgorska, a Polish teenager who chose bravery and humanity by hiding thirteen Jews in her attic during WWII -- from #1 New York Times bestselling author Sharon Cameron. One knock at the door, and Stefania has a choice to make... It is 1943, and for four years, sixteen-year-old Stefania has been working for the Diamant family in their grocery store in Przemsyl, Poland, singing her way into their lives and hearts. She has even made a promise to one of their sons, Izio -- a betrothal they must keep secret since she is Catholic and the Diamants are Jewish. But everything changes when the German army invades Przemsyl. The Diamants are forced into the ghetto, and Stefania is alone in an occupied city, the only one left to care for Helena, her six-year-old sister. And then comes the knock at the door. Izio's brother Max has jumped from the train headed to a death camp. Stefania and Helena make the extraordinary decision to hide Max, and eventually twelve more Jews. Then they must wait, every day, for the next knock at the door, the one that will mean death. When the knock finally comes, it is two Nazi officers, requisitioning Stefania's house for the German army. With two Nazis below, thirteen hidden Jews above, and a little sister by her side, Stefania has one more excruciating choice to make.


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The extraordinary story of Stefania Podgorska, a Polish teenager who chose bravery and humanity by hiding thirteen Jews in her attic during WWII -- from #1 New York Times bestselling author Sharon Cameron. One knock at the door, and Stefania has a choice to make... It is 1943, and for four years, sixteen-year-old Stefania has been working for the Diamant family in their groc The extraordinary story of Stefania Podgorska, a Polish teenager who chose bravery and humanity by hiding thirteen Jews in her attic during WWII -- from #1 New York Times bestselling author Sharon Cameron. One knock at the door, and Stefania has a choice to make... It is 1943, and for four years, sixteen-year-old Stefania has been working for the Diamant family in their grocery store in Przemsyl, Poland, singing her way into their lives and hearts. She has even made a promise to one of their sons, Izio -- a betrothal they must keep secret since she is Catholic and the Diamants are Jewish. But everything changes when the German army invades Przemsyl. The Diamants are forced into the ghetto, and Stefania is alone in an occupied city, the only one left to care for Helena, her six-year-old sister. And then comes the knock at the door. Izio's brother Max has jumped from the train headed to a death camp. Stefania and Helena make the extraordinary decision to hide Max, and eventually twelve more Jews. Then they must wait, every day, for the next knock at the door, the one that will mean death. When the knock finally comes, it is two Nazi officers, requisitioning Stefania's house for the German army. With two Nazis below, thirteen hidden Jews above, and a little sister by her side, Stefania has one more excruciating choice to make.

30 review for The Light in Hidden Places

  1. 4 out of 5

    Katie B

    This is one of the rare times I'm going to recommend a book even though I didn't particularly care for the writing. I've read many World War 2 historical fiction books, and for whatever reason I just found this to be an uneven reading experience. All of the other reviews I have read for this book so far have been positive so take my opinions with a grain of salt. It might just be this wasn't the book for me and that's okay. It happens from time to time. This is a historical fiction book about Pol This is one of the rare times I'm going to recommend a book even though I didn't particularly care for the writing. I've read many World War 2 historical fiction books, and for whatever reason I just found this to be an uneven reading experience. All of the other reviews I have read for this book so far have been positive so take my opinions with a grain of salt. It might just be this wasn't the book for me and that's okay. It happens from time to time. This is a historical fiction book about Polish teenager Stefania Podgorska who hid thirteen Jews in her attic during World War 2. Even though I had a hard time getting into a good flow of reading, I'm still glad I read this book as Stefania's story was fascinating. The Author's Note at the end of the book gave updates for many of the people featured in the book. It was interesting to read how this book came together and for those who might be wondering this is definitely more of a fact based historical fiction book rather than one that is just loosely based on a person or event. It's obvious the author did as much research as possible in order to get Stefania's story out there and I am thankful I had the opportunity to learn about her and her heroic efforts. I won a free advance copy of this book in a IreadYA giveaway. I was under no obligation to post a review and all views expressed are my honest opinions.

  2. 4 out of 5

    ♠ TABI ♠

    the problem with loving books is that, no matter how many I clear off my tbr, I always find at least twice as many to replace the ones I've cleared

  3. 5 out of 5

    Leah (Jane Speare)

    In the style of Ruta Septys, Cameron takes on a lesser known angle of history. Stefania Podgorska, a young Polish girl, risked every moment of her daily life to keep alive thirteen Jews during the Nazi occupation. Through Stefi’s eyes we are given hope in hopeless situations, a difficult thing to accomplish in a novel of WWII. Stefi wasn’t fearless, but she used her fear to drive herself and help others, and through those actions, her fear manifested as courage. With concise and affecting writin In the style of Ruta Septys, Cameron takes on a lesser known angle of history. Stefania Podgorska, a young Polish girl, risked every moment of her daily life to keep alive thirteen Jews during the Nazi occupation. Through Stefi’s eyes we are given hope in hopeless situations, a difficult thing to accomplish in a novel of WWII. Stefi wasn’t fearless, but she used her fear to drive herself and help others, and through those actions, her fear manifested as courage. With concise and affecting writing, Cameron reveals the light and goodness in people, in some of the darkest times of history.

  4. 4 out of 5

    m a r y l i z

    I'm speechless. Despite the fact that the writing style was less than incredible, the story grabbed me by the throat and never let go. So, so heartbreaking to know this was based on a true story. And yet, that's why I'm sitting here speechless even now. Because the bravery of these men and women in the face of such horror . . . that is something that will stick with me for a long time. Please, let's never forget Stefania's story. (Full review to come, perhaps.) 3.5 stars

  5. 4 out of 5

    Maggie Moritz

    I cannot describe the emotions I had while reading this book. The bravery, strength, and sacrifice that stefania had is unlike anything I have ever read before. I've read many accounts from the perspective of Jewish people during WWII but never of a person that took it upon themselves to hide them. I have forever been touched by her story. I am so grateful that Sharon Cameron did so much work to gather all the information and put it in this book. It was utterly beautiful.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    This is classified as a young adult novel and the writing is definitely geared towards that age group. That said, this was a story of an amazing girl, Stefania Podgorska, who managed to successfully hide thirteen Jewish people in Przemysl, Poland during the Holocaust. She must have truly had a guardian angel watching over her with all the close encounters she experienced without getting caught. She not only managed feeding and caring for her hidden Jews, but was also responsible for caring for h This is classified as a young adult novel and the writing is definitely geared towards that age group. That said, this was a story of an amazing girl, Stefania Podgorska, who managed to successfully hide thirteen Jewish people in Przemysl, Poland during the Holocaust. She must have truly had a guardian angel watching over her with all the close encounters she experienced without getting caught. She not only managed feeding and caring for her hidden Jews, but was also responsible for caring for her younger sister. Stefania was only in her late teens/early twenties when she accomplished this heroic feat, which makes her story even more incredible.. The book is based on a memoir written by Stefania Podgorska, a remarkable women.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Stina

    DEATH PENALTY FOR ALL WHO GIVE AID TO A JEW. DEATH TO ALL WHO HARBOUR A JEW. DEATH TO ALL WHO FEED A JEW. DEATH TO ALL WHO PROVIDE TRANSPORTATION TO A JEW. I have read a number of historical fiction books surrounding the Holocaust in various settings - Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Russia, Corfu, Italy - and all are of a similar vein. And yet they are each different. Incorporating true life with fictional, THE LIGHT IN HIDDEN PLACES is the true story of Stefania Podgorska who successfull DEATH PENALTY FOR ALL WHO GIVE AID TO A JEW. DEATH TO ALL WHO HARBOUR A JEW. DEATH TO ALL WHO FEED A JEW. DEATH TO ALL WHO PROVIDE TRANSPORTATION TO A JEW. I have read a number of historical fiction books surrounding the Holocaust in various settings - Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Russia, Corfu, Italy - and all are of a similar vein. And yet they are each different. Incorporating true life with fictional, THE LIGHT IN HIDDEN PLACES is the true story of Stefania Podgorska who successfully hid 13 Jews in her attic during Nazi occupation in Poland during World War 2. Using Stefania's own unpublished memoir, Sharon Cameron retells Stefani's story in this inspiring yet heartbreaking book. Stefania, or Fusia as she was known, showed true bravery through one of the toughest times in history that was enough to break anyone. Her story, though one of many, is one that inspires through heartache. In Poland, the second world war is on the horizon and a young girl called Stefania has left home at the age of 13, taking a job in the Diamant family's shop. The family is Jewish, which means little to her as she is Catholic, but she grows close to the family particularly the mother Leah, calling her "babcia" (meaning grandmother), and two of her sons Izio and Max. But there is unrest with the invasion of Poland as Hitler begins to deporting Jews, first to the Jewish ghetto and then to concentration camps. When Izio disappears, Fusia works harder to protect the Diamant family, from slipping them food in the ghetto to hiding them. But Fusia must find Izio and she does everything in her power to do so...and when she does, Izio is a shadow of his former self, head shaven and emaciated. Izio begs Fusia to help him escape...and so the two make a plan. But as the day arrives, with everything in place, Fusia arrives at the camp to find it deserted and locked up. She is too late. Returning to Przemsyl, Fusia makes a decision. She returns to her family's farm to find it empty...except for her little sister Helena. Her family have been taken away and with only Helena left, Fusia will do everything within her power to protect them all...even if it means death for helping the Jews. It is easy to like Fusia and root for her. She is putting herself at risk to help those shunned by the new regime and who otherwise have no one. And yet, even when her plans are thwarted and it all goes horribly wrong, she remains positive that she is doing the right thing...and never doubts the her purpose and why she is doing it. Stefania Podgorska may be a lesser known heroine from the Holocaust but through THE LIGHT IN HIDDEN PLACES she has been given a voice. To know what she went through at such a terrifying time and that she survived, is both incredible and inspiring. The Author's Note at the end, continues Stefania's story in a condensed format, including some photos of during and after the war. It is eye opening and yet it is heartbreaking. I found THE LIGHT IN HIDDEN PLACES incredibly sad, though inspiring, and it left me feeling such depression for all they endured. While today we witness lesser issues of black versus white and rioting over the colour of one's skin, these people were fighting for their lives every day. They risked their lives to save others, not just themselves in a war that they didn't ask for but was thrust upon them. It kind of puts things into perspective. Most people today have never lived through a World War, so cannot appreciate what we have now as opposed to the segregation, degradation and death of Jews for no other reason than that was issued by a dictator. I may have found THE LIGHT IN HIDDEN PLACES depressing but at the same time it was also inspiring. Stefania Podgorska did something incredible for others despite the huge risk to herself. She did it anyway because it is what was right. Stefania lived well beyond another 70 years after the war's end, passing away in 2018. This story is her legacy. I may not have heard of Stefania Podgorska before but now she is someone I will never forget. THE LIGHT IN HIDDEN PLACES is a heartbreaking yet inspiring read for lovers of historical fiction or historical memoirs, particularly of the Holocaust. I would like to thank #SharonCameron, #NetGalley and #PenguinUK for an ARC of #TheLightInHiddenPlaces in exchange for an honest review. This review appears on my blog at https://stinathebookaholic.blogspot.com/.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Renee

    A wonderful read based on a true story of an amazing real-life heroine! I may have to buy a copy of this for my classroom! YA at it’s finest!

  9. 5 out of 5

    C.P. Cabaniss

    "I know what fear feels like. Now I know what it looks like." 4.5 stars. I had never heard of Stefania or her sister Helena before I was preparing for Yallfest in 2019 and looking at the giveways listed. Historical fiction, particularly set during World War II, is a favorite genre and when I saw there was a giveaway for this novel I was sure to be at the front of the line. Later, I was able to meet the author and have my book signed, at which time I asked about her research and the kinds of th "I know what fear feels like. Now I know what it looks like." 4.5 stars. I had never heard of Stefania or her sister Helena before I was preparing for Yallfest in 2019 and looking at the giveways listed. Historical fiction, particularly set during World War II, is a favorite genre and when I saw there was a giveaway for this novel I was sure to be at the front of the line. Later, I was able to meet the author and have my book signed, at which time I asked about her research and the kinds of things she had done to create this story. She was happy to discuss her process with me and I was thrilled to find out that this was based on a real person, whose journals she was able to use constructing this narrative. During World War II, when the Nazis overtook her city in Poland, Stefania, a teen, along with her younger sister, ended up hiding thirteen Jewish people. They did this knowing that if they were found it meant death. And they did it anyway. This is a beautiful story that shows the strength of these two sisters as they sacrificed both for people they knew and loved as well as strangers, because it was the right thing to do. It wasn't easy and they had doubts, but they did it anyway. These are pieces of history that we need to know. People like Stefania and Helena are people that we should be talking and learning about. They are inspiring and strong and they helped people knowing it was dangerous, knowing they could lose their lives. I hope never to face a situation like these sisters, but if I do, I hope I have the strength to do what they did. This review is based on an advance reader copy received at Yallfest 2019.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mandy

    To be honest, before I won this in a Yallfest giveaway, I didn't know anything about it. It was a book that never hit my radar, and it was a book that my eyes immediately glazed over. But this is definitely a light in the hidden TBR pile for me, because it was so good. This story incorporates true life with the fictional. Our heroine, Stefania Podgorska, is a real person that did a lot of the things in this story. We follow Stefania's story from the very first beginnings of WWII to the very end To be honest, before I won this in a Yallfest giveaway, I didn't know anything about it. It was a book that never hit my radar, and it was a book that my eyes immediately glazed over. But this is definitely a light in the hidden TBR pile for me, because it was so good. This story incorporates true life with the fictional. Our heroine, Stefania Podgorska, is a real person that did a lot of the things in this story. We follow Stefania's story from the very first beginnings of WWII to the very end as she deals with the regular horrors of this timeframe but also the stresses and incredible journey she has as she eventually starts hiding at most thirteen Jews in her house. This story is filled with action, tension, historical events, feels and more. Cameron really dived deep into Stefania's life, so it's almost like you're living her life. There is no doubt with this story that you can put Cameron in the same place as Ruta Sepetys and Monica Hesse as a fantastic historical fiction writer. Cameron immerses you in the time period - with the descriptions of the place, the feelings of the time, and staying accurate to the wording/events/things/etc. She creates a mood that is haunting and horrific, and I felt like I was dropped on the streets of Poland. The characters were amazing as well. There are a lot, and a decent amount come and go. There was only one point that I thought, huh, I'm not sure who exactly these people are all, but that was it. Each person had their own distinct personality, and dynamic characteristics that went to them. Yes, these were real people, but Cameron truly made them come alive in the pages of her story. Our true shining stars of these novel were our heroine, Stefania; her sister, Hela; and Max, the brother of Stefania's first love and the boy that started it all. Stefania - both the real life person and our main character - is an incredible person. She faced so much in her life, and you are put into her shoes in this story. You felt everything with her - the hope, the fear, the anger. You go along her emotional, physical, and mental journey, and it truly is a stunning one. I loved her voice, and it's so so so easy to cheer her on. The story is always keeping you on the edge of your seat. I binge read a good deal of it on a Saturday night, because I just had to know what was going to happen. You think things are bad? Trust me, they always get worse and more deadly in this story. Since the material is quite heavy and dark, you won't be necessarily speeding through it, but you'll be wanting to devour it to find out what is going to happen. The beginning was intriguing, but was a touch off. I felt like we were rushing through things, and I guess I would have preferred a touch more context on some of the events that began. I know a good amount of information on WWII, but I felt like I needed a bit more to fully grasp all of the situations that were happening at first. There was a lot of material to cover as we were trying to cover quite a few years in a 400 page novel, so I understand the need to have a quicker pacing. But it did mess with me a bit at first. Towards the middle, too, despite there being a lot of material and the quick pacing, it did feel like it was a 400 page novel. I felt those 100 pages between 200 - 300. Once we got into the groove of the story, there was no other issues that I had with this book, and these really didn't affect my enjoyment of reading this book a lot. Overall, this was an incredible story, and if you're looking for a fantastic historical fiction novel to pick up, this is the one to do it. It's a take that I haven't read before in WWII books I've read before, and it's one filled with amazing hope and horrifying terror. Definitely a must read! rating: Anna because it was so close to perfection representation: Jewish main characters content warnings: death, murder, genocide, discrimination, alcohol, sexual intimidation (nothing graphic - just intense situations where it could happen or the threat of rape is there) read this if you: if you want a story of hope, courage, and incredible strength in one of the darkest periods of history

  11. 5 out of 5

    Cassi

    If you are a fan of historical fiction, particularly those set during World War II, I would definitely recommend The Light in Hidden Places. Based on a true story of a brave woman who hid thirteen Jews in her attic during Nazi occupied Poland during World War II, it is a book is equal parts heartbreaking and inspiring. It is easy to root for Stefania. She is putting herself at risk to help those who otherwise have no one else. I like how she even when she thinks things have gone horribly wrong, If you are a fan of historical fiction, particularly those set during World War II, I would definitely recommend The Light in Hidden Places. Based on a true story of a brave woman who hid thirteen Jews in her attic during Nazi occupied Poland during World War II, it is a book is equal parts heartbreaking and inspiring. It is easy to root for Stefania. She is putting herself at risk to help those who otherwise have no one else. I like how she even when she thinks things have gone horribly wrong, she never doubts her purpose and what she is doing. She knows the risks and she takes them. She’s reckless and incredibly courageous. The fact that she is a real person makes it all the more inspiring. Like most books of this setting, the stakes in this book are incredibly high and there were so many tense moments throughout the narrative that had me on the edge of my seat. It’s not the kind of book that you would read through quickly, but is a story that you want to keep reading. I was excited to read this book, and I love the author and this sounded fantastic. And The Light in Hidden Places did not disappoint.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Energy

    I won this in a Goodreads giveaway from I Read YA and started it as soon as I could as this is my favorite time period in Historical Fiction. In Poland during the second world war, Stefania, called Fusia, takes a job with a family to get away from home. The family is Jewish, which means little to her as she's Catholic and safe, but she bonds with the mother, who she calls her babcia, her grandmother, and her sons, mainly Izio and Max. As Hitler starts to deport Jews, the boys must go into hiding I won this in a Goodreads giveaway from I Read YA and started it as soon as I could as this is my favorite time period in Historical Fiction. In Poland during the second world war, Stefania, called Fusia, takes a job with a family to get away from home. The family is Jewish, which means little to her as she's Catholic and safe, but she bonds with the mother, who she calls her babcia, her grandmother, and her sons, mainly Izio and Max. As Hitler starts to deport Jews, the boys must go into hiding. After learning of Izio's disappearance, Stefania works harder to help protect Max and his brothers. When she finds her younger sister Helena, she knows she will do everything in her power to protect them all, even if it means death for helping the Jews. Cameron has taken a lesser-known hero of the war and given her a voice. I imagine Fusia's story is very typical of young girls at the time, the naivety that comes with growing up where secrets are kept from the children, and where a lot of people didn't want to believe what was happening right under their noses. As Fusia starts to grow up, she sees the horrors that are happening to the Jews. She learns what happens to single girls that get taken advantage of. As she tells us of the lessons she learns, we watch her knowledge expand, we watch the lengths she goes to get what she needs, to protect those she cares about. Her younger sister Helena was incredibly bright, who caught on quick and picked up a lot of the work at home when Fusia was unable. Fusia really was a beacon of light for the people she kept hidden. Time and again they were so close to being caught, but her quick thinking kept them all safe. The Light in Hidden Places is a story that needed to be told, that is worthy of everyone's time, and a definite must-read for fans of Historical Fiction.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Simone

    A well written, engaging book with interesting characters. Also, a good example a smart female protagonist being shown, instead of flat out telling us she's smart. And it has the bonus of being a true story. Overall, a very good read for anyone looking for an intense, fast-paced, high-stakes book. Blog | Tumblr | Pinterest A well written, engaging book with interesting characters. Also, a good example a smart female protagonist being shown, instead of flat out telling us she's smart. And it has the bonus of being a true story. Overall, a very good read for anyone looking for an intense, fast-paced, high-stakes book. Blog | Tumblr | Pinterest

  14. 5 out of 5

    Aislinn Kelly

    I really enjoyed The Light in Hidden Places, which is the true life story of two Polish sisters who hid thirteen jews during the war. It highlights the courage and resilience of ordinary people during this horrific time. I would definitely recommend this book to historical literature fans. Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for this ARC

  15. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Until, this book, I had only read one other book from this author. I could not stop reading Stefania, Helena, Max, and the others's stories as they survived the Germans. It is people like Stefania that are wiling to risk their lives for others that we should really appreciate freedom. I highly recommend this book. It is one not to be missed. In fact, I would put this book in the same reading vein as The Hiding Place, The Diary of Anne Frank, and The Book Thief. This book will last the test of ti Until, this book, I had only read one other book from this author. I could not stop reading Stefania, Helena, Max, and the others's stories as they survived the Germans. It is people like Stefania that are wiling to risk their lives for others that we should really appreciate freedom. I highly recommend this book. It is one not to be missed. In fact, I would put this book in the same reading vein as The Hiding Place, The Diary of Anne Frank, and The Book Thief. This book will last the test of times and be one that will have people talking about it for years and years to come.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Pam Page

    This is truly a remarkable story about Stefania Podgorska, a 16 year old Polish Catholic girl, set during the Holocaust in Poland. Stefania uses her wit, bravery, and love to hide thirteen Jews in her attic. The story will be one you cannot forget and I am still amazed at Stefania's ability to survive against so many odds.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Alex Black

    I think ten years ago, I would have really loved this book. It's exactly the kind of thing I would have devoured and adored when I was in the 12-15 age range, which I think is what this book is geared toward. I went in expecting a little older YA since the main character is 17, but that was my mistake and not an issue with the book at all. It was just a little young for my tastes which did impact my overall enjoyment. If you regularly read the younger YA range, I'd wholeheartedly recommend this. I think ten years ago, I would have really loved this book. It's exactly the kind of thing I would have devoured and adored when I was in the 12-15 age range, which I think is what this book is geared toward. I went in expecting a little older YA since the main character is 17, but that was my mistake and not an issue with the book at all. It was just a little young for my tastes which did impact my overall enjoyment. If you regularly read the younger YA range, I'd wholeheartedly recommend this. Honestly my biggest complaint is with the synopsis. I have an ARC of this book so I did double check that the synopsis on the final copy is the same (it is). I found the synopsis kind of misleading. I expect synopses to cover the general premise of the book and be a starting off point for the story, so the meat of the book starts where the synopsis ends. But this one is literally just a summary of the book. The entire book. The only thing left out is the last 40 pages and the epilogue. The two Nazis mentioned in the synopsis don't show up until after the 300 page mark (in my 377 page edition). It probably would have been a more enjoyable experience if I'd stopped after the first paragraph of the synopsis and got to see the rest of the story unfold in the book itself. I also found it a little too fast paced. In the author's note, Cameron makes a joke about how she had to cut things out or it would have been a thousand page manuscript, and I kind of felt that while reading the book. It feels like there's too much crammed in for the length of this story. It's definitely enough to give you a full picture of Stefania's life and experiences during the war, but it feels like skim reading her life. I just wanted a little more. I did quite enjoy this, though. A little bit more time and I'd have gotten through this book in a day because I was always excited to pick it up and always wanting more of Stefania's story. It was such a solid book and so gripping. I love when something grabs me immediately from the beginning and doesn't let go until the end. I think my favorite part was the epilogue. Stefania Podgorska was a real person and this is her real story. Cameron stuck very closely to the real events of her life during the war, and you can tell. I think sometimes that did work to the book's detriment since real life doesn't always unfold in a fiction friendly way, but for the most part I really loved it. Her discussion at the end of the real Stefania and what happened to the Jewish people she hid after the war had me tearing up. This only barely missed hitting 4 stars for me. I'll be passing on my copy because I do think that some people will really adore it and it's a really worthwhile read if it sounds interesting to you and if you're someone who likes younger YA literature. I really liked it, but this is a book I would have loved at 13.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mindi

    At first I had a little bit of trouble getting into it, but then I couldn't put it down. I think sometimes WWII novels are a bit light on the context, whereas this one really delved into the experiences that these characters had (not surprising, given the wealth of information in the author's notes!). I also really loved Stefania. More often than not, I think we're beaten over the head with the fact that our main character is sassy and bold, and yet she maybe just snaps off a couple of belligere At first I had a little bit of trouble getting into it, but then I couldn't put it down. I think sometimes WWII novels are a bit light on the context, whereas this one really delved into the experiences that these characters had (not surprising, given the wealth of information in the author's notes!). I also really loved Stefania. More often than not, I think we're beaten over the head with the fact that our main character is sassy and bold, and yet she maybe just snaps off a couple of belligerent things but never acts with agency. That is not Stefania: her boldness is evident from the first, and over time, it comes to be tempered with wisdom. I never questioned why people were so drawn to her and so willing to help her out. The romance was handled really beautifully as well. It's subtle but heartfelt, which makes sense in a novel about intense suffering. I just loved it and thought it was beautiful, and I'm excited to reread it a few months from now.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    This is without a doubt the best historical fiction book I have ever read. And it certain is one of the best books I have ever read. When I closed the book, I was shaking and my heart was pounding in my chest. My jaw ached because I had been clenching my teeth. This book absolutely captured me and I waited in terror as I flipped from one page to the next. I have never been so sucked into the story or been more afraid about what was going to happen next. Because these people were real. These were This is without a doubt the best historical fiction book I have ever read. And it certain is one of the best books I have ever read. When I closed the book, I was shaking and my heart was pounding in my chest. My jaw ached because I had been clenching my teeth. This book absolutely captured me and I waited in terror as I flipped from one page to the next. I have never been so sucked into the story or been more afraid about what was going to happen next. Because these people were real. These were the real horrors they went through and witnessed and experienced. I’m amazed at their bravery and their sheer determination to live in the face of hatred and terror hanging over their heads every day. Stefania and Helena Podgórska are true heroines. And at such a young age too. It absolutely amazes me that these girls really lived and that they fought to save the lives of thirteen Jews and succeeded. They take my breath away.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Deb

    I read a lot of WWII historical fiction and this book is a great YA read. I think the story of Stefania and Max will stay with me for a while and I highly recommend this book. I think the following passage (in Stefania’s words) is as relevant today, as it was in 1942: “Prezemysl had given me an education since that cart ride when I was twelve. It had taught me that people like to divvy up one another with names. Jew. Catholic. German. Pole. But these were the wrong names. Kindness. Cruelty. Love a I read a lot of WWII historical fiction and this book is a great YA read. I think the story of Stefania and Max will stay with me for a while and I highly recommend this book. I think the following passage (in Stefania’s words) is as relevant today, as it was in 1942: “Prezemysl had given me an education since that cart ride when I was twelve. It had taught me that people like to divvy up one another with names. Jew. Catholic. German. Pole. But these were the wrong names. Kindness. Cruelty. Love and hate. These were the borders that mattered.”

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    This was an extraordinary story of a young catholic girl and her sister and how they hide and provide for a number of Jewish Polish citizens during the war. It is based on a true story making it even more tragic and heartfelt. The story is incredibly told by Stephania and is her story of survival as well as those that she helps. Very well down and certainly will stay with me. I would highly recommend it as it combines tragedy with heroism and hope.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Caitlin

    This book is beautiful, and it deserves five shining stars. ✨ The writing style is beautiful, and the true story told within its pages is incredible, powerful, heartbreaking, inspiring. 😭😍 I loved it even more than I expected to—and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys WWII history or historical fiction! 💜

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    This was a wonderful book based on a the true story of Stefania Podgorska, her sister, Helena, and the 13 Jews they hid in their home during WWII. I'm so happy I picked it back up again after all this virus stuff got me into a reading slump. I had not heard of the Podgorska sisters before and I enjoyed reading about them and their extraordinary acts of heroism and sacrifices. I felt like Ms. Cameron poured her heart and soul into researching and then sharing their story. She has a way of writing This was a wonderful book based on a the true story of Stefania Podgorska, her sister, Helena, and the 13 Jews they hid in their home during WWII. I'm so happy I picked it back up again after all this virus stuff got me into a reading slump. I had not heard of the Podgorska sisters before and I enjoyed reading about them and their extraordinary acts of heroism and sacrifices. I felt like Ms. Cameron poured her heart and soul into researching and then sharing their story. She has a way of writing that makes it feel as if the emotion is dripping off the page. If you're a historical fiction fan, you need to read this book.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    Absolutely fantastic and unforgettable! I’m so privileged to have read Stefania’s story and to be able to include this in my online Holocaust literature course for teachers is a true honor!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Joanna

    What an amazing true story ! Highly recommend to anyone who is interested in WWII .

  26. 4 out of 5

    Marge Shaffer

    I couldn't put this down! I only wish that I had read it when I first got the ARC at ALAMW20

  27. 5 out of 5

    Angelle

    What an amazing story!!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Valerie Warren

    Excellent book. Great story telling.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey (Bring My Books)

    Before I get started with this review (which was gifted to me from the author), I've got to tell you two things:⁣ ⁣ 1) I have adored EVERYTHING that Sharon Cameron has ever written, and I adore her as a person even more so.⁣ ⁣2) I have read a LOT of WWII Historical Fiction, and a LOT of WWII memoirs from Holocaust survivors. Like, a lot of them.⁣ ⁣ Okay, with that out of the way, I need you to know that this book is incredible. Based on the real life heroics of Stefania Podgorska, a Polish Catholic g Before I get started with this review (which was gifted to me from the author), I've got to tell you two things:⁣ ⁣ 1) I have adored EVERYTHING that Sharon Cameron has ever written, and I adore her as a person even more so.⁣ ⁣2) I have read a LOT of WWII Historical Fiction, and a LOT of WWII memoirs from Holocaust survivors. Like, a lot of them.⁣ ⁣ Okay, with that out of the way, I need you to know that this book is incredible. Based on the real life heroics of Stefania Podgorska, a Polish Catholic girl that kept both her sister and 13 Jewish people alive during the Nazi occupation of Poland, this story was so hard to read but so, so, damn good. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⁣ Not only did Stefania agree to hide 13 Jewish people at the age of 16 in Nazi occupied Poland, but she did so knowing that she would also have to keep her young sister safe - and then she faced an even more impossible decision when she found out that Nazi nurses were requisitioning part of her cottage. She and her sister refused to leave the cottage, and lived 7 perilous months with two German nurses (and their frequent male visitors) in the bedroom beside them, and 13 terrified Jewish people in the attic above them.⁣ ⁣ I loved that so much of this book was based on Stefania's unpublished memoir (written shortly after the war), because I feel like it gave the book and Stefania's character so much more depth. It wasn't easy, and there were times that she wondered what on earth she was doing, while also knowing there was nothing else on earth she could possibly do. You FELT this, FELT the terror and the frustration and the bone deep weariness. This book was so much the richer for that.⁣ ⁣ The research that Sharon did is evident on almost every page, and I love knowing that the book and it's author have the blessing of not only Stefania's son, but some of the people that Stefania kept hidden for the remaining months of the war.⁣ ⁣ This one should be on everyone's TBR. It's brilliant, & it's important, & I loved it.

  30. 4 out of 5

    wendy klein

    I loved this book. The protagonist Stefania is beyond brave and her baby sister Helana is precocious and smart beyond her years. This is a book about humanity and the part that one person played to save the lives of 13 Jews during the holocaust. I didn't realize that although this is a novel, it is based very closely on the real story and that Stefania really does exist. It was easy to read but let us know the reality and horror of what went on during this time. I would highly recommend.

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