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Saving Rafael

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Set in war-torn Berlin, Saving Rafael is an engrossing account of a forbidden love between a Jewish boy and his childhood sweetheart. It is a powerful and moving story of sacrifice and courage, of ordinary people struggling to help friends under a regime gone mad, where civilian survival in the bomb-blasted city depends entirely on high standards of friendship and integrity among individuals.
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Overview

Set in war-torn Berlin, Saving Rafael is an engrossing account of a forbidden love between a Jewish boy and his childhood sweetheart. It is a powerful and moving story of sacrifice and courage, of ordinary people struggling to help friends under a regime gone mad, where civilian survival in the bomb-blasted city depends entirely on high standards of friendship and integrity among individuals.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A fascinating portrait of a place and of people who don't get written about very much and who are endlessly interesting: the rescuers."  —Adele Geras, author, Troy

"Painfully real and harrowing . . . a superb piece of writing."  —Susan Price, author, The Sterkarm Handshake

"Completely engrossing."  Linda Newbery, author, Posy

VOYA - Sarah Cofer
Jenny Friedeman and Raf (Rafael) Jakoby have been lifelong friends and neighbors, but under Hitler's regime their friendship is forbidden because Raf is Jewish. After the Gestapo wreck the Jakoby's apartment, Raf's father is imprisoned, and Raf and his mother are forced to move. Daily life worsens for Jenny and her mother as the war continues and her father and brother are drafted, but they decide to smuggle their rations to the Jakobys through clandestine meetings between Jenny and Raf. During these meetings Jenny and Raf reconnect and fall in love. When the Gestapo come for Raf, Jenny and her mother hide him in their basement. What began with an innocent childhood kiss blossoms into an intense love affair marred by war, shame, and secrecy during Nazi-ruled Germany. While definitely not a quick pick or good choice for reluctant readers, this is an honest and emotional portrayal of the Holocaust worth reading. The story spans nine years as Wilson attempts to cover a lot of ground, resulting in too much backstory that is choppy and distracting. The love affair between Jenny and Raf takes center stage and ultimately saves the book. Readers will root for them, and unlike most Holocaust stories, this one has a semi-happy ending. It includes some violence and sex, but nothing unexpected or graphic. It is a viable choice for avid readers and curriculum connections, but more concise writing and better editing would have made this more accessible. Reviewer: Sarah Cofer
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—This is a love story, set against the backdrop of Nazi Germany. Jenny Friedemann and Rafael Jakoby meet as young children and grow up in an era when it is safe for them to play together. Around the time that their friendship shows signs of maturing, Hitler's government declares relations between Germans and Jews to be illegal. From this point forward Jenny grows up fast. She witnesses arrests of people she loves and loses her brother to the enemy's gun and her Quaker father to the enemy's prison. When the Gestapo comes to arrest Raf and his mother, he manages to escape and seeks shelter with the Friedemanns. For several months they live in fear of being denounced and of being separated, which does happen. After being imprisoned in a concentration camp, Jenny and her mother are rescued by her uncle, who is prominent in the Nazi party. After feeding them, he forces them out again. With the help of a Quaker friend, Jenny is reunited with Raf, and they finally have hope for their future. While this is a touching story, its telling is so fraught with detail about the characters' day-to-day lives that it occasionally drags. Each air raid and every meal is described to the point that readers will be tempted to jump to the end to see how it all turns out.—Wendy Scalfaro, G. Ray Bodley High School, Fulton, NY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781842709184
  • Publisher: Andersen Press, Limited
  • Publication date: 7/9/2010
  • Pages: 416
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Leslie Wilson is the author of Last Train from Kummersdorf.

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