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Children's LiteratureLast year, artistic Kat Baliuk caused an uproar at the Catholic high school she attended with her controversial sculpture of the Crucifixion. This year, she hopes to blend in with the other students at the Cawthra School for the Arts. However, when men in suits begin asking Kat's grandfather a lot of questions about his life in the Ukraine, the girl quickly comes to understand that this is not going to be a quiet year. There is no possibility of her blending in when the newspapers begin to focus on the Nazi next door, a.k.a. Kat's grandfather. As her family is swept up in the media coverage and she becomes personally consumed by the trial, Kat quickly discovers how the truth can be manipulated and innocent people railroaded. Soon, her family is left with mounting legal bills and few friends who believe in them. As she struggles through the trial, Kat learns much about her own history, her family's history, and their shared strength. Skrypuch has written a gripping, troubling and detailed novel that brings historical topics neatly into focus for modern youth. Readers are sure to be swept up in both Kat's and her grandfather's stories. 2001, Boardwalk/Dundurn, Ages 13 up.
—Heidi Hauser Green