Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

The Lily Pond

The Lily Pond

Spring 2012 Fiction
Ages: 9 - 12 yrs.
Author: Anika Thor
Publisher: Delacorte Press
ISBN: 978-0385740395
Hardcover Price: $16.99

Stephie wasn't sure what she expected when she left her remote island to attend school in mainland Sweden. She wasn't expecting to be treated like a pathetic charity case by her sponsoring family, the Söderbergs. She wasn't expecting to think of the island as home; after all, she'd only moved there a year earlier as a refugee from occupied Vienna. As a native German speaker, she didn't realize she'd constantly have her accent corrected by the school's German teacher, who is a Hitler sympathizer. And she certainly wasn't prepared to be snubbed by the school's only other Jewish student, a wealthy girl frightened that incoming refugees will endanger her own social status. There are consolations, though. Stephie finds a friend in one of the other scholarship students. And she gets to be near handsome, charming Sven Söderberg, who takes her to walk by the lily pond and who listens to her worries about her parents, still trapped in Vienna. Soon, though, Stephie finds herself caught in a few lies; and she finds that Sven has been hiding a few secrets of his own.

This book is the second in a series of four novels featuring Stephie and her sister; however, it is not necessary to have read A Faraway Island in order to thoroughly understand and enjoy this one. The series has been popular in Europe for several years, and has even formed the basis for a Swedish television series-and for good reason. This book, newly translated for the American market, is beautifully written, with complexly developed characters and a carefully rendered setting. Devotees of historical fiction will appreciate this addition to the literature of World War Two, and young readers who like stories about school, peer conflict, and friendship will also be satisfied.

Naomi Lesley   ©2012 Parents' Choice
Naomi Lesley taught middle and high school English for six years. She is currently in a doctoral program at the George Washington University, focusing on American young adult literature.

Look for this product at:
Random House Children's Books/Delacorte Press

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