The Blood Years

$19.99 USD

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Michael L. Printz honoree and National Book Award finalist Elana K. Arnold returns with the harrowing story of a young woman's coming-of-age during the Holocaust in Romania—a tale based on the author's grandmother's true experiences.

Frederieke Teitler and her sister, Astra, live in a house, in a city, in a world divided. Their father ran out on them when Rieke was only six, leaving their mother a wreck and their grandfather as their only stable family. He’s done his best to provide for them and shield them from antisemitism, but now, seven years later, being a Jew has become increasingly dangerous, even in their beloved home of Czernowitz, long considered a safe haven for Jewish people. And when Astra falls in love and starts pulling away from Rieke, Rieke wonders if there’s anything in her life she can count on—and, if so, if she has the power to hold on to it.

Then—war breaks out in Europe. First the Russians, then the Germans, invade Czernowitz. Almost overnight, Rieke and Astra’s world changes, and every day becomes a struggle: to keep their grandfather’s business, to keep their home, to keep their lives. Rieke has long known that she exists in a world defined by those who have power and those who do not, and as those powers close in around her, she must decide whether holding on to her life might mean letting go of everything that has ever mattered to her. And if that’s a choice she will even have the chance to make.

Based on the true experiences of her grandmother’s childhood in Holocaust-era Romania, National Book Award finalist and Printz honoree Elana K. Arnold weaves a harrowing, heartbreaking tale of love and loss in the darkest days of the twentieth century—and one young woman’s will to survive them.

Elana K. Arnold is the award-winning author of many books for children and teens, including The House That Wasn’t There, the Printz Honor winner Damsel, the National Book Award finalist What Girls Are Made Of, and the Global Read Aloud selection A Boy Called Bat. She is a member of the faculty at Hamline University’s MFA in writing for children and young adults program, and lives in Long Beach, CA, with her husband, two children, and a menagerie of animals

 "This book is many things: an examination of love and duty, a revelatory account of a Holocaust experience many won’t know, and a wrenching coming-of-age story. A moving glimpse into a past that is an all-too-possible vision of our future.” -Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Arnold confronts tough subjects via unflinching depictions of war and compassionate renderings of intense familial drama. Searing." -Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Arnold’s gripping novel of sisterhood and survival amid both ­Soviet and Nazi occupation illuminates a little-explored part of the Holocaust in ­Romania. A must-read.” -School Library Journal (starred review)

"Extraordinary. This beautifully written novel juxtaposes passages of transcendent insight with terrible loss. An excellent choice for readers of Monica Hesse and Ruta Sepetys, and a first purchase for all teen collections." -Booklist (starred review)

"Each page of this extra­or­di­nary sto­ry teems with nerve-tin­gling, edge-of-your-seat anx­i­ety. A riv­et­ing addi­tion to the Holocaust-lit­er­a­ture canon." -Jewish Book Council

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