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Reviewed by Angelique Papayannopoulos for Readers' Favorite
Vandella: Resilience by M. Ch. Landa is a gripping novel about a German teenager named Emma Mädel, also known as Peach. Peach is from a staunch German family and dreams of participating in the Olympics, for the Fatherland. The family is attending a wedding at Wewelsburg Castle in the heart of SS territory during WWII. She witnesses a secret séance where a supernatural entity promises a Nazi victory in exchange for seven children prisoners, that she discovers in a dungeon. The children are rescued by Peach and together embark on a perilous journey to cross the Dutch border, while the German soldiers are hot on their trail. A second-sight gift makes her aware of the Harbinger of Death, who haunts her whenever someone close to her is about to die. She is faced with the difficult task of dealing with the violent loss of her innocence and dignity.
Vandella: Resilience is a YA graphic novel filled with intrigue and suspense, culminating in a climactic bittersweet ending. The easy-to-read style instantly immerses the reader in the dramatic and troubled events that Peach has to endure. Author M. Ch. Landa describes all the characters in great detail, building up an exhilarating story that is believable and exciting. The themes of war, violence, abuse, courage, and perseverance create a sense of urgency and the reader is anxious about what will happen next. You empathize with Peach as she is tortured by the horrors of war, facing death and the loss of loved ones. This novel contains the duality of magic and reality as the story unfolds, thereby making it an unputdownable read for any age group.