Author: Katia Raina
Publisher: Young Europe
Release Date: June 11, 2019
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewer: Jessica Higgins
Historical novel from the eyes of a teenage girl in the collapse of the Soviet Union.
The school year of 1990-1991 is ushering in a lot of change in Russia, especially in Moscow. Democracy is starting to take shape with the face of Boris Yeltsin. Gorbachev is starting to be forced out but isn’t ready to give it up just yet. Sonya Solovay is experiencing several changes too. She is finally able to live fully with her mother, who is a dissident of the Russian government. She leaves her grandmothers in a small remote village and moves with her mother to the outskirts of Moscow. To complicate things, they are Jewish and many of Russia’s disgruntled residents blame the Jews for their problems. However, Sonya is determined to make a new life for herself at her new school. She butts heads with some of the teachers but manages to strike up a relationship with the best-looking boy at school. She finds it easy to fall in love, but her Jewish ethnicity may cause a problem. When her mom decides that it may be best to move to America, Sonya is torn between her friends love for Russia and her love for her mother.
This book is a prime example of why I love historical fiction. I learned quite a bit about the social climate in Moscow during the fall of the Soviet Union. I had no idea that there was such an anti-Semite feeling across the country during this time frame. I would have figured earlier in the century but was surprised to find this out. History aside, I had a lot of trouble connecting with Sonya. I understand that she is a teenage girl out to make a new life, but she seems to just go about it all wrong. I didn’t really understand the relationship between her and Reslan either. If the intent was to see this time period though the eyes of a confused teenager, then it was definitely successful. There is some tension throughout the book between Sonya and two of the boy characters, which plays out great at the end. Stay through the end of the book and you will enjoy it.
There is some foul language throughout the book as well as some implied young adult intimate scenes that makes is suitable for a mature audience.
I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher. The views and opinions express within are my own.