Friday, June 24, 2011

Blog Tour - How Huge The Night

How Huge The Night by Heather and Lydia Munn

Fifteen-year-old Julien Losier just wants to fit in. But after his family
moves to a small village in central France in hopes of outrunning the
Nazis, he is suddenly faced with bigger challenges than the taunting of
local teens.

Nina Krenkel left her country to obey her father’s dying command: Take your brother and leave Austria. Burn your papers. Tell no one you are Jews. Alone and on the run, she arrives in Tanieux, France, dangerously ill and in despair.

Thrown together by the chaos of war, Julien begins to feel the terrible
weight of the looming conflict and Nina fights to survive. As France fallsto the Nazis, Julien struggles with doing what is right, even if it is not enough—and wonders whether or not he really can save Nina from almost certain death.

Based on the true story of the town of Le Chambon—the only French town honored by Israel for rescuing Jews from the Holocaust—How Huge the Night is a compelling, coming-of-age drama that will keep teens turning the pages as it teaches them about a fascinating period of history and inspires them to think more deeply about their everyday choices.

The Review:
My Ranking: `9 out of 10
Ages: 16 & up

I've always loved learning about WWII, and my favorite way to learn is through fictional books based off of true events: so when I saw and looked into How Huge The Night, I knew if it had great characters and was well written I would love it. Love it I did! From page one, I was drawn into this remarkable, unique, and informative story about the impact of the war on several different young-adult characters. The writing style was easy to read and flowed quite nicely. 

One thing that I found interesting was that Nina and Julien are actually together for a very short amount of time. In fact, the don't even meet each other until the last 75 pages of the 300 page book. While it didn't really bug me, I did find it didn't sync with the back-cover description much, but it didn't affect how much I enjoyed this book. :)

Out of all of them, Julian was my favorite of the characters, which ia strange because he also was the main character and usually my favorite is a secondary character. I'm not sure exactly what made him my favorite, he just was. I looked forward more to reading Julian's scenes rather than Nina's. I felt I could connect more with Julian, as I could see more into his feelings, struggles, etc, while Nina was harder for me to get to know. In fact, I think Giovanni should have been the second main character, as I was able to connect more with him and, frankly, liked him more. 

I almost had the feeling that Nina was kinda a baby. While I sympathize with her situation, it was part of what made it hard to connect with her. She seemed to be such a strong character at the beginning, but then totally changed and broke down. I totally believe this to simply be my preference, and in no way condemn their writing because of it - it was just something that I noticed.

Two other characters that I really enjoyed were Pierre and Benjamin. I think Pierre was my second favorite character - I absolutely loved him and looked forward to reading the next scene that included him. Benjamin was an awesome add - a Jew hiding with Julian's family. I loved getting glimpses of what it might have been like for the hideaway Jews. 

As for content, there is little to tell except one part that, while historically realistic, prohibited me from handing it to my 13 year old brother. A stranger tells Nina and her brother he'll help her but Nina, who is crippled and is riding piggyback on the mans back, thinks the mans hands were not so supportive under her legs, but feeling. Barely escaping(but with no further description of what she thinks he will do to her), she and her brother continue their journey. Later, Nina mentions how they barely escaped a man who wanted to rape her.
I was actually disappointed by this add-in, and wished it had been left out. The history in this book was wonderful, but unfortunetly none of my brothers will be able to enjoy and learn from this book any time soon.

All in all, this was an excellent book that I absolutely loved. The only thing that kept it from receiving 10 stars was the lack of connection between the reader and Nina and also the added content that made it impossible for me to hand it down as a historical book to my brothers. Other than that, I absolutely LOVED this book! I wouldn't consider it a rereadable, but I definitely do not regret putting this book down and highly encourage it to all older teenagers who love to learn history and life lessons. 

I received this free book in return for an honest review from KregelPublishers. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own.


Heather Munn said...

Thanks for reviewing our book! I'm so glad you liked it. Yes, I like Julien a lot too. I think he's easy to like because he's such an average kid who just wants what we all want--friends and belonging and a chance to do what he loves (in his case soccer)--but then he gets caught up in all this stuff that's confusing and too big for him and grows through it till he's someone who puts others before himself. I feel like if he was too good at the beginning he wouldn't be as easy to like, if that makes any sense.

Diana Flowers said...

Thanks for your review...always neat to learn about new books!

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