YA book review · Young Adult

The Light in Hidden Places by Sharon Cameron

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Originally published in School Library Journal, January 2020.

Gr 9 & Up: One of nine children, 16-year-old Stefania Podgorska, “Fusia,” leaves the farm in Bircza and moves to Przemysl to work for the Jewish Diamant family. Fusia, a Catholic, joins the Diamant household, but they are forcibly moved to the ghetto by Germans, leaving her behind as she scrambles to sneak food to them right under the nose of German patrols. After her secret love, Izio Diamant, is killed in a labor camp, grief-ridden, angry Fusia travels to Bircza to find that the Nazis have ruined both of her families, but she is reunited with her six-year old sister Helena. Fusia begins a grueling factory job making screws and risks her own life and Helena’s in order to hide Izio’s brother, Max, and 12 other Jews in an apartment at Tatarska 3. Exhaustion and fear become her daily life, even more so when Nazis move nurses into her apartment, with 13 Jews hiding overhead. Authentic writing and well-researched history combined with the gripping and terrifying subject matter make this a must-read for historical fiction fans. VERDICT Cameron’s remarkable, heartbreaking true story of one woman’s bravery and selflessness in World War II Poland will intrigue both teens and adult readers. Recommended for purchase in both school and public library collections.

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