Sarah's Stars

Eva Wiseman. Puppet
Tundra $19.99  ISBN 978-0-88776-828-6  243 pg.
Reviewed by Anika, Age 10

Esther kept invading my dreams that night. She was hovering above the Tisza River, her dress made of clouds and her feet clad in shiny red boots. Her face was serene and her lips parted in a gentle smile. I called to her.

"Esther, where are you? Your mother is looking for you. Come home!"

"I am home."

Julie is a servant girl who is abused by her alcoholic father. Her dying mother is the only person that can keep peace in the family, mainly preventing her husband from injuring Julie or 3-year-old Clara. It is the year 1882 in Hungary and when Julie's best friend Esther disappears, everyone blames the Jews of murdering her for her blood. Julie knows that Esther was unhappy and knows the Jewish people did not kill her, so she fights to help them. However, something sneaky is afoot. Julieís father sends her away to live in the jailhouse, working as a housekeeper. In the jailhouse, guards are interrogating two Jewish boys until they admit the "truth". Five-year-old Sam confesses immediately, but because nobody would allow a 5 year old in a courtroom, they turn to fourteen-year-old Morris, who becomes their Jewish marionette, their puppet.

Eva Wiseman was born in Hungary and now lives in Winnipeg. She has also written Kanada, My Canary Yellow Star, A Place Not Home and No One Must Know. Eva specializes in novels about Hungary or Judaism. Some books contain both. This book is recommended for ages 11 and up because it is very heavy with the topic of murder. Also, Julie's personal life is very downcast and frightening. At times you can't read more than a paragraph because of the heaviness.

I love, Love, LOVE this book!!! I was grabbed and wanted to keep reading from the very first page.  There were never too many characters in the spotlight so you couldnít keep track of them. Anything that didnít make sense was explained soon after, and most things I did understand. All the characters are extremely believable. The book also was able to make me cry, smile, laugh, or become angry. Anyone who likes historical fiction would like this amazing read. The facts donít stick out like lumps of cold oatmeal, but they donít blend in so you canít tell them apart from the fiction. Each chapter starts with a date so you know exactly when the event happened. It would be a good book for a report because of the useful information, but also a good book to read on your own time. The characters show significant change, especially Morris. I could make some connections with the friendship between Sophie and Julie when their friendship dwindled to nothing then sprang back to life. People are well described, and easy to envision.

Puppet is cleverly put together in the way itís written.  I give Puppet 5 stars.     

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