Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Minutes before the train pulled into the station in Jenkinsville, Arkansas, Patty Bergen knew something exciting was going to happen. But she never could have imagined that her summer would be so memorable. German prisoners of war have arrived to make their new home in the prison camp in Jenkinsville. To the rest of her town, these prisoners are only Nazis. But to Patty, a young Jewish girl with a turbulent home life, one boy in particular becomes an unlikely friend. Anton relates to Patty in ways that her mother and father never can. But when their forbidden relationship is discovered, will Patty risk her family and town for the understanding and love of one boy?
I homeschool my kids so I get to decide what they read for literature. I get some great suggestions from different curriculums. I firmly believe that if I make my kiddos read a book, I should read it too, if I haven't already so the great thing about this is that I am finding some great books that I have never read before. This was one of those books.
Patty is 12 years old. She is the oldest daughter of a Jewish store owner. Her parents make it incredibly clear that Patty's younger sister, Sharon, is their favorite. She is pretty and talented and just the best thing since sliced bread. Patty tries everything to get her parents, especially her father, to find some worth in her. Because of this, she likes to embellish her stories, or just outright make them up, to try to impress the people around her.
In Patty's small and boring little town, something exciting is about to happen. A train with German POWs comes to town. Patty is very interested in the POWs, especially when they come into her father's store. At the store, she meets Anton, a POW that she is instantly interested in. She has a short conversation with him while selling him some items and he is permanently etched into her memory.
Weeks later, when Anton escapes the prison, Patty finds herself wondering how he did it and where he is until she sees him trying to hide. Patty leads him to the abandoned rooms above her garage and lets him hide there. While in hiding, Anton and Patty develop an interesting relationship.
This story was so heartbreaking for me because of the way Patty's parents treated her. Her father actually beat her several times. I was glad she had Ruth, her families help, and then Anton. Patty's stories were slightly annoying but you have to remember that she is 12 and she is trying to get someone to believe she is worth something.
When the ending comes, I really wanted karma to get Patty's parents, mostly her father. You never really find out what becomes of her parents or Patty after she leaves the school she is sent to but despite that, the ending was satisfying (I also know there is a sequel so maybe that answers those questions). I think this is definitely a must read!