Crushing the Red Flowers by Jennifer Voigt Kaplan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is a solid middle grade historical fiction, but I do feel like there are better options. This book has unique perspective from the lives of two German boys living among the growing anti-Semitism that led to Kristallnacht and eventually the Holocaust. Emil is a funny, tubby kid that just likes to explore and get dirty in mud puddles, trying hard to ignore the growing stress among his Jewish family. The other, Friedrich, is a member of the Hitler Youth. Friedrich questions his cruel leader and the group's drastic changes from what started as fun scouting experiences to hate-filled speeches and brutal attacks against Jews. The boys eventually cross paths and have to determine what truths they really believe in. "The Night of Broken Glass" is a peak moment in the book, and it was chilling to read how the characters experienced this awful event. The main issue I have with this book is that the boys' voices read much younger and felt more childish than what a middle grade book deserves.
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