Jennifer A. Nielsen
8 - 12 years
August 28th, 2018
Summary from Goodreads:
Chaya Lindner is a teenager living in Nazi-occupied Poland. Simply being Jewish places her in danger of being killed or sent to the camps. After her little sister is taken away, her younger brother disappears, and her parents all but give up hope, Chaya is determined to make a difference. Using forged papers and her fair features, Chaya becomes a courier and travels between the Jewish ghettos of Poland, smuggling food, papers, and even people.
Soon Chaya joins a resistance cell that runs raids on the Nazis' supplies. But after a mission goes terribly wrong, Chaya's network shatters. She is alone and unsure of where to go, until Esther, a member of her cell, finds her and delivers a message that chills Chaya to her core, and sends her on a journey toward an even larger uprising in the works — in the Warsaw Ghetto.
Though the Jewish resistance never had much of a chance against the Nazis, they were determined to save as many lives as possible, and to live — or die — with honor.
Nielsen does not shy away from sharing the horrors that occurred during this time period. Her vivid descriptions of the emaciated people, their lack of will to live, as well as their fear, create a strong contrast between Chaya's actions that highlight her bravery. In contrast to A Night Divided, this book not only focuses on the effects of WWII on one family, but also on thousands of different people. This wider perspective emphasizes that these brutalities occurred to people in real life, contributing to the sense of shock, fear, and respect I had while reading.
This novel was well-researched. The accurate settings and characters added to the authentic and brutally honest tone the author sets. There was some back-and-forth in the beginning of the book to provide some background on Chaya, but it confused her timeline for me when I first read it.
Chaya's attitude was inspiring. Not only did Chaya stand up to the regime that wanted to kill her and her people, she saved countless lives and worked through personal moral questions. Her determination to save the Jews despite the risks and opportunities to give up touched me deeply. The relationship that developed between Esther and Chaya stressed their different personalities and only added to my awe of their courage.
Resistance's plot led up to a showdown in Warsaw. I appreciated that Nielsen devoted many chapters to describing the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and Chaya's role in it. Sometimes the climax of a book feels very brief, but I was not disappointed with Resistance's.
Jennifer Nielsen has written a powerful book that is a strong reminder of hope, perseverance, and faith. With a fierce protagonist and a beautifully described historical setting, Resistance should definitely be on your TBR. I highly recommend this book. Readers should be aware that this book covers some dark and tough stuff, but I believe the recommended age group can handle it.
Biography taken from her website here.