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Reviewed by Maria Beltran for Readers' Favorite
Jugend by Aalia Lanius is a historical fiction novel that is set in 1937 Europe juxtaposed with events unfolding in 2017 in the United States of America. Fourteen-year-old Ernst, an enthusiastic member of the Hitler Youth, is chosen to participate in what is made to look like a bicycle tour of London. But his real task is to spy on a wealthy British family of Jewish descent suspected of sheltering Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany in 1933. Clark, on the other hand, is a young American boy who lost his mother to cancer and his father to the Iraq war. Orphaned and living with his guardian, his dad's friend who is a rabid white supremacist, Clark finds himself spying on a Muslim family that are long-time residents of the US, but branded as terrorists.
Aalia Lanius' Jugend is a riveting tale of two boys innocently caught in historical events that have drastically changed their lives and enormously impacted the very history of the world. Ernst and Clark are two young boys who are forced to make a decision between good and evil when children their age should just be starting to learn the intricacies of life. Fast paced and gripping, Jugend successfully tells a complex and emotional story in a way that is easy to understand. Aalia Lanius' creative writing style is subtle, without a lot of frills, and the result is a novel that is informative, enjoyable and emotionally tugs at the reader's heart. The content of this book is universal and is relevant to any other time in history!