One ordinary afternoon, fifeen-year-old Lilo and her family are suddenly picked up by Hitlers police and imprisoned as part of the "Gypsy plague." Just when it seems certain that they will be headed to a labor camp, Lilo is chosen by filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl to work as a film extra.Read more...
One ordinary afternoon, fifeen-year-old Lilo and her family are suddenly picked up by Hitlers police and imprisoned as part of the "Gypsy plague." Just when it seems certain that they will be headed to a labor camp, Lilo is chosen by filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl to work as a film extra. Life on the film set is a bizarre alternate reality. The surroundings are glamorous, but Lilo and the other extras are barely fed, closely guarded, and kept in a locked barn when not on the movie set. And the beautiful, charming Riefenstahl is always present, answering the slightest provocation with malice, flaunting the power to assign prisoners to life or death. Lilo takes matters into her own hands, effecting an escape and running for her life. In this chilling but ultimately uplifting novel, Kathryn Lasky imagines the lives of the Gypsies who worked as extras for the real Nazi filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl, giving readers a story of survival unlike any other.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-09-16
- Reviewer: Staff
Lasky (the Guardians of Ga’Hoole series) delivers a well-researched and uncompromising standalone novel focusing on the Nazi genocide of the Roma and Sinti peoples. Lilo—a Sinti girl of 15 at the beginning of the book—is taken by the Nazis when they start rounding up the Romani of Austria. Lilo’s losses mount quickly as she’s separated from her father and many of her friends; only the opportunity to be an extra in the cast of a film by Nazi propagandist Leni Riefenstahl might save her. Along with a musically gifted boy named Django, Lilo learns the ins and outs of the concentration camps and witnesses the genocide as it affects her loved ones. Lasky’s novel is thorough in its attention to detail, mixing facts like Riefenstahl’s awful behavior toward her charges with the horrific lives of the fictional characters. Only a slightly rushed ending throws off the pace, but even then, between the constant, appalling brutality of the camps and Lilo’s growth over the years, Lasky draws remarkable depth, realism, and even charm out of a bleak story. Ages 12–up. (Oct.)