Albania

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The Siege by Ismail Kadare

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In the early fifteenth century, as winter falls away, the people of Albania know that their fate is sealed. They have refused to negotiate with the Ottoman Empire, and war is now inevitable. Soon enough dust kicked up by Turkish horses is spotted from a citadel. Brightly coloured banners, hastily constructed minarets and tens of thousands of men fill the plain below. From this moment on, the world is waiting to hear that the fortress has fallen. The Siege tells the enthralling story of the weeks and months that follow – of the exhilaration and despair of the battlefield, the constantly shifting strategies of war, and those whose lives are held in balance, from the Pasha himself to the technicians, artillerymen, astrologer, blind poet and harem of women that accompany him.


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Stalin's Barber By Paul M. Levitt

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Avraham Bahar leaves debt-ridden and depressed Albania to seek a better life in, ironically, Stalinist Russia. A professional barber, he curries favor with the Communist regime, ultimately being invited to become Stalin s personal barber at the Kremlin, where he is entitled to live in a government house with other Soviet dignitaries. In the intrigue that follows Avraham, now known as Razan, he is not only barber to Stalin but also to the many Stalin look-alikes that the paranoid dictator circulates to thwart possible assassination attempts including one from Razan himself.


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The Country Where No One Ever Dies by Ornela Vorpsi

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A young girl’s father is constantly forcing her to kiss him, and her aunt predicts that she will grow up to be a whore. With Albania's communist regime crumbling around them, sex, dictatorship, and death are inescapable subjects for the girl and her family;though the protagonist of The Country Where No One Ever Dies always confronts the ridiculousness of her often brutal reality with unflappable irony and a peculiar kind of common sense. Her name and age changing from moment to moment, she is an unforgettable portrait of the imagination under siege, while The Country Where No One Ever Dies is itself a one-of-a-kind atlas to a land where black comedy is simply a way of life


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The Day of the Pelican by Katherine Paterson

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Meli Lleshi is positive that her drawing of her teacher with his pelican nose started it all. The Lleshis are Albanians living in Kosovo, a country trying to fight off Serbian oppressors, and suddenly they are homeless refugees. Old and young alike, they find their courage tested by hunger, illness, the long, arduous journey, and danger on every side. Then, unexpectedly, they are brought to America by a church group and begin a new life in a small Vermont town. The events of 9/11 bring more challenges for this Muslim family--but this country is their home now and there can be no turning back. A compassionate, powerful novel by a master storyteller.

Andorra

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The Road to Andorra By Shirley Deane

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There are few blithe spirits left in this burdened world, but Shirley Deane is one of them. Who else would find herself in Andorra, a small republic high in the Pyrenees, because her son's eye was caught by a minute and unlettered spot on a map? And, who, at the summons of her artist husband, would pick up and head for the sun-drenched Balearics (Ibiza to be exact) because of the chance offer to run a pig farm? The answer can be found in this entertaining and perceptive book which is a glowing account of two different ways of life, Andorran and Ibizercan. It is in Ibiza that the author learns she and her family have been expelled from Spain because her book "Tomorrow is Manana" had displeased the authorities there. So once again they are on the road to Andorra with the tacit understanding that one in flight becomes one of Andorra' own.

Arminia

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Like Water on Stone By Dana Walrath

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Blending magical realism and lyrical free verse, this is an intense survival story of three siblings caught up in the horrific events of the Armenian genocide of 1915.

It is 1914, and the Ottoman Empire is crumbling into violence.

Beyond Anatolia, in the Armenian Highlands, Shahen Donabedian dreams of going to New York. Sosi, his twin sister, never wants to leave her home, especially now that she is in love. At first, only Papa, who counts Turks and Kurds among his closest friends, stands in Shahen's way. But when the Ottoman pashas set their plans to eliminate all Armenians in motion, neither twin has a choice.

After a horrifying attack leaves them orphaned, Shahen and Sosi flee into the mountains, carrying their little sister, Mariam. Shahen keeps their parents' fate a secret from his sisters. But the children are not alone. An eagle named Ardziv watches over them as they run at night and hide each day, making their way across mountain ridges and rivers red with blood.


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Forgotten Fire by Adam Bagdasarian

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In 1915 Vahan Kenderian is living a life of privilege as the youngest son of a wealthy Armenian family in Turkey. This secure world is shattered when some family members are whisked away while others are murdered before his eyes.

Vahan loses his home and family, and is forced to live a life he would never have dreamed of in order to survive. Somehow Vahan’s incredible strength and spirit help him endure, even knowing that each day could be his last.

Austria

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Elisabeth: The Princess Bride, Austria - Hungary, 1853 by Barry Denenberg

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Author Barry Denenberg brings us into the whirlwind that is the life of Princess Elisabeth of Austria. A free and impetuous spirit, Elisabeth is chosen at the age of fifteen (over her older sister) to be the wife of Franz Joseph, Emperor of Austria. From that moment on, she is thrown into an intimidating world of restrictions and tremendous responsibilities. Feeling lonely and alienated, Elisabeth is forced to rely upon her own personal strength, which eventually leads her down the aisle and into an uncertain future.


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The Musician's Daughter by Susanne Dunlap

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Murder and lovefrom the halls of Vienna’s imperial family to a perilous gypsy camp

Amid the glamour of Prince Nicholas Esterhazy’s court in 18th-century Vienna, murder is afoot. Or so fifteen-year-old Theresa Maria is convinced when her musician father turns up dead on Christmas Eve, his valuable violin missing, and the only clue to his death a strange gold pendant around his neck. Then her father’s mentor, the acclaimed composer Franz Joseph Haydn, helps her through a difficult time by making her his copyist and giving her insight in to her father’s secret life. It’s there that Theresa begins to uncover a trail of blackmail and extortion, even as she discovers honor—and the possibility of a first, tentative love. Thrumming with the weeping strains of violins, as well as danger and deception, this is an engrossing tale of murder, romance, and music that readers will find hard to forget. 


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A Song for Summer by Eva Ibbotson

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Ellen never expected the Hallendorf school to be quite so unusual. Her life back in England with her suffragette mother and liberated aunts certainly couldn't be called normal, but buried deep in the beautiful Austrian countryside, Ellen discovers an eccentric world occupied by wild children and even wilder teachers, experimental dancers and a tortoise on wheels. And then there is the particularly intriguing, enigmatic, and very handsome Marek, part-time gardener and fencing teacher. Ellen is instantly attracted to the mysterious gardener, but Hitler's Reich is already threatening their peaceful world, and only when she discovers Marek's true identity and his dangerous mission does Ellen realize the depth of her feelings for him - and the danger their newfound love faces in the shadow of war.

Belarus

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Wave of Terror by Theodore Odrach

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This panoramic novel hidden from the English-speaking world for more than 50 years begins with the Red Army invasion of Belarus in 1939. Ivan Kulik has just become Headmaster of school number 7 in Hlaby, a rural village in the Pinsk Marshes. Through his eyes we witness the tragedy of Stalinist domination where people are randomly deported to labour camps or tortured in Zovty Prison in Pinsk. The author's individual gift that sets him apart from his contemporaries is the range of his sympathies and his unromantic, unsentimental approach to the sensual lives of females. His debt to Chekhov is obvious in his ability to capture the internal drama of his characters with psychological concision.

Belgium

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Silent Saturday by Helen Grant

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Seventeen-year-old Veerle is frustrated with life in suburban Brussels. But a chance encounter with a hidden society, whose members illegally break into unoccupied buildings around the city, soon opens up a whole new world of excitement - and danger.

When one of the society's founding members disappears, Veerle suspects foul play. But nothing can prepare her for the horror that is about to unfold when an old foe emerges from the shadows... No one is safe, and The Hunter will strike again...


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Water Song: A Retelling of The Frog Prince by Suzanne Weyn

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ONCE UPON A TIMEIS TIMELESS Young, beautiful, and wealthy, Emma Pennington is accustomed to a very comfortable life. Although war rages abroad, she hardly feels its effect. She and her mother travel from their home in Britain to the family estate in Belgium, never imagining that the war could reach them there. But it does. Soon Emma finds herself stranded in a war-torn country, utterly alone. Enemy troops fight to take over her estate, leaving her with no way to reach her family, and no way out. With all of her attention focused on survival and escape, Emma hardly expects to find love. But the war will teach her that life is unpredictable, people aren't always what they seem, and magic is lurking everywhere.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

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The Bridge on the Drina by Ivo Andrić

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The Bridge on the Drina is a vivid depiction of the suffering history has imposed upon the people of Bosnia from the late 16th century to the beginning of World War I. As we seek to make sense of the current nightmare in this region, this remarkable, timely book serves as a reliable guide to its people and history.


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Under the Sun by Arthur Dorros

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Emet, separated from his parents by the Balkan conflict, must travel across a rugged landscape to a place he's heard rumours of, a village of children, living in harmony away from the violence that is tearing their country apart. Here, the author combines his interest in other cultures and knowledge of nature.


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Zlata's Diary: A Child's Life in Wartime Sarajevo by Zlata Filipović

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When Zlata’s Diary was first published at the height of the Bosnian conflict, it became an international bestseller and was compared to The Diary of Anne Frank, both for the freshness of its voice and the grimness of the world it describes. It begins as the day-today record of the life of a typical eleven-year-old girl, preoccupied by piano lessons and birthday parties. But as war engulfs Sarajevo, Zlata Filipovic becomes a witness to food shortages and the deaths of friends and learns to wait out bombardments in a neighbor’s cellar. Yet throughout she remains courageous and observant. The result is a book that has the power to move and instruct readers a world away.

Bulgaria

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Dobry by Monica Shannon

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A Bulgarian peasant boy must convince his mother that he is destined to be a sculptor, not a farmer.


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Wunderkind by Nikolai Grozni

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Life in Sofia, Bulgaria, in the late 1980s is bleak and controlled. The oppressive Communist regime bears down on all aspects of people’s lives much like the granite sky overhead. In the crumbling old building that hosts the Sofia Music School for the Gifted, inflexible and unsentimental apparatchiks drill the students like soldiers—as if the music they are teaching did not have the power to set these young souls on fire. 

Fifteen-year-old Konstantin is a brash, brilliant pianist of exceptional sensitivity, struggling toward adulthood in a society where honest expression often comes at a terrible cost. Confined to the Music School for most of each day and a good part of the night, Konstantin exults in his small rebellions—smoking, drinking, and mocking Party pomp and cant at every opportunity. Intelligent and arrogant, funny and despairing, compassionate and cruel, he is driven simultaneously by a desire to be the best and an almost irresistible urge to fail. His isolation, buttressed by the grim conventions of a loveless society, prevents him from getting close to the mercurial violin virtuoso Irina, but also from understanding himself. 

Through it all, Konstantin plays the piano with inflamed passion: he is transported by unparalleled explorations of Chopin, Debussy, and Bach, even as he is cursed by his teachers’ numbing efforts at mind control. Each challenging piano piece takes on a life of its own, engendering exquisite new revelations. A refuge from a reality Konstantin detests, the piano is also what tethers him to it. Yet if he can only truly master this grandest of instruments—as well as his own self-destructive urges—it might just secure his passage out of this broken country. 

Nikolai Grozni—himself a native of Bulgaria and a world-class pianist in his youth—sets this electrifying portrait of adolescent longing and anxiety against a backdrop of tumultuous, historic world events. Hypnotic and headlong, Wunderkind gives us a stunningly urgent, acutely observed, and wonderfully tragicomic glimpse behind the Iron Curtain at the very end of the Cold War, reminding us of the sometimes life-saving grace of great music.

Croatia

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Croatia: A Nation Forged in War by Marcus Tanner

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In this book an eyewitness to the breakup of Yugoslavia provides the first full and impartial account of the rise, fall, and rebirth of Croatia from its medieval origins to today's tentative peace. Marcus Tanner describes the turbulence and drama of Croatia's past and - drawing on his own experience and interviews with many of the leading figures in Croatia's conflict - explains its violent history since Tito's death in 1980. This second edition updates the account and follows Croatia's progress to democracy since the death of President Franjo Tudjman. 


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Every Day, Every Hour by Natasa Dragnic

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An exquisitely romantic debut novel that captures the longing of lost—and sometimes found—love

It is the mid-1960s in a small seaside town in Croatia. Two children, Luka and Dora, meet on their first day of kindergarten. Luka faints the first time he sees Dora and she wakes him with a kiss. The two become inseparable. Over the next few years, they wander the shores of their town, lying on their special rock by the sea as Luka paints—until Dora’s parents move to Paris. Bereft, Luka becomes a solitary young man, prey to the needs of his family, but a promising painter. In Paris, Dora blossoms and becomes a successful actress.

When Luka comes to Paris for a show of his paintings, a chance encounter brings them together. Now adults, they fall back in love, and their feelings are given resonance by a shared adoration of Pablo Neruda. Timing and fate, however, seem determined to keep them apart. Like The Solitude of Prime Numbers and One Day, Nataša Dragnic’s Every Day, Every Hour is a haunting tale of star-crossed love that will utterly entrance readers with the rhythmic beauty of its language and ineffable air of expectation and heartache.

Cyprus

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66 U.S. Dollars by Alan Northeast

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The run up to Christmas is usually a time for peace and goodwill toward all men, but in one household nothing could be further from the truth. Shipyard manager Jack Durham receives a most unwelcome present - his redundancy notice. With no jobs on the horizon the future looks uncertain, and if that isn't enough, the spectre of bankruptcy also looms, threatening everything for which Jack and his partner, Mary, have worked so hard.
Just as the situation becomes critical a white knight arrives in the person of Frank Palmer, a wealthy entrepreneur, who offers Jack a job in Northern Cyprus building a new harbour tug. Even though it means decamping the whole family thousands of miles to a politically divided foreign country, the chance of solving all their financial problems seems too good to pass up.
Jack, Mary and their two young daughters quickly settle into their new life in Cyprus, but a series of bizarre incidents brings trouble back to their door. As the problems gradually escalate a suspicion begins to take hold. Is Frank Palmer all he seems to be?


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Small Wars by Sadie Jones

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Sadie Jones, the award-winning and internationally bestselling author of The Outcast, returns with an ambitious, richly imagined novel that confirms her place in the literary firmament.

A passionate and beautifully written tale of personal loss in the midst of war in late 1950s Cyprus, Small Wars raises important questions that are just as relevant today. 

What happens when everything a man believes in — the army, his country, his marriage — begins to crumble? Hal Treherne is a young British soldier on the brink of a brilliant career. Transferred to Cyprus to defend the colony, Hal takes his wife, Clara, and their daughters with him. But Hal is pulled into atrocities that take him further from Clara, a betrayal that is only one part of a shocking personal crisis to come. Small Warsis a searing, unforgettable novel from a writer at the height of her powers.

Czech Republic

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The Cabinet of Wonders by Marie Rutkoski

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Petra Kronos has a simple, happy life. But it’s never been ordinary. She has a pet tin spider named Astrophil who likes to hide in her snarled hair and give her advice. Her best friend can trap lightning inside a glass sphere. Petra also has a father in faraway Prague who is able to move metal with his mind. He has been commissioned by the prince of Bohemia to build the world’s finest astronomical clock.

Petra’s life is forever changed when, one day, her father returns home—blind. The prince has stolen his eyes, enchanted them, and now wears them. But why? Petra doesn’t know, but she knows this: she will go to Prague, sneak into Salamander Castle, and steal her father’s eyes back.

Joining forces with Neel, whose fingers extend into invisible ghosts that pick locks and pockets, Petra finds that many people in the castle are not what they seem, and that her father’s clock has powers capable of destroying their world.


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Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

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Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands", she speaks many languages - not all of them human - and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?


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My Own Revolution by Carolyn Marsden

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In 1960s Czechoslovakia, Patrik participates in and rebels against the communist regime, knowing that anyone could become an enemy in the blink of an eye.

Fourteen-year-old Patrik rebels against the communist regime in small ways whenever he gets the chance: spray-painting slogans, listening to contraband Beatles records, even urinating on a statue of Lenin under cover of night. But anti-Party sentiment is risky, and when party interference cuts a little too close to home, Patrik and his family find themselves faced with a decision — and a grave secret — that will change everything. As the moments tick toward too late, Patrik takes his family’s fate in hand, risking everything for a chance at freedom. Examining the psychological toll of living under an authoritarian regime, Carolyn Marsden allows readers to experience both Patrik’s persistent worry and his hope for better things.


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Puppet Master By Joanne Owen

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From riches to rags, Milena is growing up in the city of Prague at the turn of the twentieth century. Her parents' once prosperous theatre lies in disrepair and her life seems to be in ruins, and has been since that fateful night her father died in a tragic accident and Milena's beautiful, talented Mother went missing. No trace of her has been found. But Milena has never lost hope that she will come back. The day she meets the flamboyant Puppet Master and his menacing proteges, the twins Zdenko and Zdenka, under the shadow of Prague's famous Astronomical Clock in the Old Town square is, coincidentally, the date of her mother's birthday. And it's the day Milena's grandmother chooses to reveal to her the story of her ancestors... and of her legacy. Or perhaps it's not such a coincidence. Joanne Owen's debut novel skilfully mingles the legends of Bohemia in a story rich in the traditions of circus, theatre and magic, all set in a city waiting to lay bare a myriad of secrets. 


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Rivka's Way by Teri Kanefield

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Rivka has never been beyond the walls of Prague's Jewish quarter. One day she ventures outside . . and nothing will ever be the same.


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Someone Named Eva by Joan M. Wolf

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In 1942, eleven-year-old Milada is taken from her home in Lidice, Czechoslovakia, along with other blond, blue-eyed children to a Lebensborn center in Poland. There she is trained to be a "proper German" for adoption by a German family, and all the while she struggles to remember her true identity.

Denmark

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Nothing by Janne Teller

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When Pierre-Anthon realizes there is no meaning to life, the seventh-grader leaves his classroom, climbs a tree, and stays there. His classmates cannot make him come down, not even by pelting him with rocks. So to prove to Pierre-Anthon that life has meaning, the children decide to give up things of importance. The pile starts with the superficial—a fishing rod, a new pair of shoes. But as the sacrifices become more extreme, the students grow increasingly desperate to get Pierre-Anthon down, to justify their belief in meaning. Sure to prompt intense thought and discussion, Nothing—already a treasured work overseas—is not to be missed.


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Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

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Ten-year-old Annemarie Johansen and her best friend Ellen Rosen often think of life before the war. It's now 1943 and their life in Copenhagen is filled with school, food shortages, and the Nazi soldiers marching through town. When the Jews of Denmark are "relocated," Ellen moves in with the Johansens and pretends to be one of the family. Soon Annemarie is asked to go on a dangerous mission to save Ellen's life.


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Room in the Heart by Sonia Levitin

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Told from several points of view, this novel reveals how life in Copenhagen was soiled by the Nazi occupation and how the Danes fought back with courage and kindness. Julie lives with the constant, nagging fear that her family will be sent to a concentration camp. Niels can't stand the brutish, arrogant Nazi soldiers and finds himself drawn to the Danish resistance. When Niels learns of the Nazi plot to round up all of Copenhagen's Jews, he is dominated by a single thought: rescue. Julie wonders how she will endure so many good-byes, especially to Niels. This riveting read is based on the true story of how thousands of Denmark's Jews were saved from the Nazis.

Estonia

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The Darkest Corner of the World By Urve Tamberg

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Who can you turn to when the only choice is between two evils? 
In 1941, fifteen-year-old Madli hopes that the Soviet occupation of Estonia is only temporary, but when the neighbours, along with thousands of others, are deported, she knows that their lives are in danger. She longs for the safety of her grandparents' farm. Days later, the Nazis invade her country. Friends and family find themselves divided as they try to choose which dictator they'd rather live under - Hitler or Stalin. Madli is horrified by either choice, but how long can she remain neutral? Every day brings new dangers and unimaginable decisions. In order to survive, Madli knows she can't fight the enemy, so she is determined to outwit them. 


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Treading Air by Jaan Kross

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Treading Air follows the life of Ullo Paerand through 30 years of violent political upheaval. Abandoned by his father as a child, he grows up to become an electoral assistant to the parliamentary office in Tallinn and it is in this position that Ullo witnesses first the Soviet and then the German occupation of Estonia. Forced out of his honest profession Ullo becomes involved with the Resistance but, when many Estonians flee the country, he chooses to remain. An interlude of a decade shows much has changed since the end of the War; Soviet influence is marked in the style of government and the manner of the people. The narrative unfolds in stories imparted to an unknown "author" by a 70-year-old Ullo. Just before the end, however, Kross introduces a teasing ambiguity: Ullo dies before he is able to answer the last question about his life.

France

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Eleanor: Crown Jewel of Aquitaine, France, 1136 by Kristiana Gregory

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Author of the best-selling Royal Diaries title, Cleopatra VII,Kristiana Gregory now takes readers to twelfth-century France and introduces Eleanor of Aquitaine, who becomes queen at age 15.

Fourteen-year-old Eleanor of Aquitaine lives in a castle in Poitier, France, with her father Count William of Aquitaine (son of William the Conqueror), and her 12-year-old sister Petronilla. Their mother died several years earlier, so their grandmother and ladies-in-waiting raise the girls. Eleanor is extremely intelligent and literate, having been carefully educated by royal tutors. Spinning bores her, as does weaving, sewing, and other housewifery skills expected of her. She would rather be a knight and ride off to war. In fact, in 1136, when her father is invited to help invade Normandy,


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French Kissmas by Catherine Hapka

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For Nicole Larson, the Christmas season in Paris is more than just a romantic interlude—it’s also a homecoming. Nic studied abroad in Paris a year ago, and is back in town with her friend Annike to spend Christmas and New Year’s in the City of Light. Of course, now that Nic is there, the chemistry she once had with Parisian hottie Luc instantly reignites. But why fuel a romance that has only three weeks to survive? Nic would rather spend time with her new buddy Mike . . . until it becomes clear that Mike is also interested in being more than just friends. With a backdrop of twinkling lights on the Champs-Elysées and Parisian Christmas carols, it’s going to be difficult for Nic to deny the romance around her. . . .


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I Love I Hate I Miss My Sister by Amélie Sarn

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Two sisters. Two lives. One future.
Sohane loves no one more than her beautiful, carefree younger sister, Djelila. And she hates no one as much. They used to share everything. But now, Djelila is spending more time with her friends, partying, and hanging out with boys, while Sohane is becoming more religious.
When Sohane starts wearing a head scarf, her school threatens to expel her. Meanwhile, Djelila is harassed by neighborhood bullies for not being Muslim enough. Sohane can’t help thinking that Djelila deserves what she gets. But she never could have imagined just how far things would go. . . 


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Losing the Light by Andrea Dunlop

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A smart, obsessive debut novel about a young woman studying abroad who becomes caught up in a seductive French world—and a complex web of love and lust.

When thirty-year-old Brooke Thompson unexpectedly runs into a man from her past, she’s plunged headlong into memories she’s long tried to forget about the year she spent in France following a disastrous affair with a professor.

As a newly arrived exchange student in the picturesque city of Nantes, young Brooke develops a deep and complicated friendship with Sophie, a fellow American and stunning blonde, whose golden girl façade hides a precarious emotional fragility. Sophie and Brooke soon become inseparable and find themselves intoxicated by their new surroundings—and each other.

But their lives are forever changed when they meet a sly, stylish French student, Veronique, and her impossibly sexy older cousin, Alex. The cousins draw Sophie and Brooke into an irresistible world of art, money, decadence, and ultimately, a disastrous love triangle that consumes them both. And of the two of them, only one will make it home.


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Mary, Queen of Scots: Queen Without a Country by Kathryn Lasky

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Mary, the young Scottish queen, is sent a diary from her mother in which she records her experiences living at the court of France's King Henry II as she awaits her marriage to Henry's son, Francis.


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Pardon My French by Catherine Hapka

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Seventeen-year-old Nicole dreams of spending the rest of her life with her boyfriend Nate. So when she finds herself on her way to Paris to study abroad without him, she’s less than thrilled. Paris is filled with cars that move at the speed of light, edible snails, and a language that Nicole can’t speak or read. Worst of all, Nicole feels lost without Nate. She’s not sure she’s capable of finding joie de vivre on her own, but with the help of some new friends—and a certain handsome Frenchman— Nicole might find Paris as sweet as a café au lait after all.


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Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

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BROOKLYN: Andi Alpers is on the edge. She’s angry at her father for leaving, angry at her mother for not being able to cope, and heartbroken by the loss of her younger brother, Truman. Rage and grief are destroying her. And she’s about to be expelled from Brooklyn Heights’ most prestigious private school when her father intervenes. Now Andi must accompany him to Paris for winter break.

PARIS: Alexandrine Paradis lived over two centuries ago. She dreamed of making her mark on the Paris stage, but a fateful encounter with a doomed prince of France cast her in a tragic role she didn’t want—and couldn’t escape.
 
Two girls, two centuries apart. One never knowing the other. But when Andi finds Alexandrine’s diary, she recognizes something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession. There’s comfort and distraction for Andi in the journal’s antique pages—until, on a midnight journey through the catacombs of Paris, Alexandrine’s words transcend paper and time, and the past becomes suddenly, terrifyingly present.


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Zazoo by Richard Mosher

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Zazoo is Vietnamese by birth but feels entirely French. She has lived with her adoptive Grand-Pierre in France in an old stone mill between the river and the canal since she was two, sharing poetry, adventures, and the predictable rhythms of the seasons. Then one misty October morning, a young man on a bicycle rides into Zazoo’s small village and asks a question from which many stories begin to unfold. A love story within a love story.

Germany

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The Berlin Boxing Club by Robert Sharenow

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Sydney Taylor Award-winning novel Berlin Boxing Club is loosely inspired by the true story of boxer Max Schmeling's experiences following Kristallnacht.

Karl Stern has never thought of himself as a Jew. But the bullies at his school in Nazi-era Berlin, don't care that Karl has never been in a synagogue or that his family doesn't practice religion. Demoralized by attacks on a heritage he doesn't accept as his own, Karl longs to prove his worth.

So when Max Schmeling, champion boxer and German national hero, makes a deal with Karl's father to give Karl boxing lessons, A skilled cartoonist, Karl has never had an interest in boxing, but now it seems like the perfect chance to reinvent himself.

But when Nazi violence against Jews escalates, Karl must take on a new role: protector of his family. And as Max's fame forces him to associate with Hitler and other Nazi elites, Karl begins to wonder where his hero's sympathies truly lie. Can Karl balance his dream of boxing greatness with his obligation to keep his family out of harm's way?

Includes an author's note and sources page detailing the factual inspirations behind the novel.


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The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

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t’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.


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The Dark Room by Rachel Seiffert

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The Dark Room tells the stories of three ordinary Germans: Helmut, a young photographer in Berlin in the 1930s who uses his craft to express his patriotic fervour; Lore, a twelve-year-old girl who in 1945 guides her young siblings across a devastated Germany after her Nazi parents are seized by the Allies; and, fifty years later, Micha, a young teacher obsessed with what his loving grandfather did in the war, struggling to deal with the past of his family and his country. 


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Going Over by Beth Kephart 

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In the early 1980s Ada and Stefan are young, would-be lovers living on opposite sides of the Berlin Wall--Ada lives with her mother and grandmother and paints graffiti on the Wall, and Stefan lives with his grandmother in the East and dreams of escaping to the West


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Halinka by Mirjam Pressler

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You should never hope for a miracle, for then you might count on it really happening.

In the two years Halinka has spent in a home for girls, she has learned not to hope for anything, and to hold tightly to what she has. But all Halinka has is herself, a blanket from her beloved Aunt Lou, and a secret notebook where she holds her sayings. 

Just as she is losing hope of ever finding a home, and forgetting all she once loved, Halinka sees something that reminds her that everyone needs some beauty in their lives, like they need air, or food . . . and maybe a friend. But for that, Halinka would have to share her thoughts, secrets, and maybe even her memories. And she's not sure if she can afford to lose that much.


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Otto of the Silver Hand by Howard Pyle

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A rich and engrossing thread of Romance runs through this tale of the motherless son of a valiant robber baron of Medieval Germany. Young Otto, born into a warring household in an age when lawless chiefs were constantly fighting each other or despoiling the caravans of the merchant burghers, is raised in a monastery only to return to his family's domain and become painfully involved in the blood feud between his father and the rival house of Trutz-Drachen.
The narrative is told with Howard Pyle's consummate skill and illustrated with some of the most enchanting sketches ever done for a book of this type. Like the same author's version of The Story of King Arthur and His Knights and his collection of original stories known as The Wonder Clock, this book has become a legend, a modern story with the feel and sound of an ancient tale. It is a reading adventure that youngsters will not soon forget. 


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The Sound of Munich by Suzanne Nelson 

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Siena Bernstein is leaving her yoga mat behind for a semester of study abroad in Munich. She’s thrilled with the prospect of a German adventure (her horoscope is encouraging as well), but she hopes to make more than just her dreams come true while she’s there. Siena’s dad, who passed away when she was a baby, kept a "Carpe Diem" list—sort of his top-ten adventurous things to do. He completed all but one of the tasks—going to Germany to thank the man who helped smuggle his family past the Berlin Wall. Amidst her adventures in biergartens, Alpine skiing, and a rigorous course load, Siena is on a quest to complete her father’s list. But she’s also set on having the best possible time while she tries. With the help of two new best buds and a handsome RA in her dorm, she’ll surely succeed.


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You Can't See the Elephants by Susan Kreller

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One brave girl takes an extreme step to protect two abused children.

When thirteen-year-old Mascha is sent to her grandparents' for the summer, she spends her days bored and lonely at a nearby playground. There she meets Julia and Max, two young siblings who are incredibly shy and withdrawn. Mascha soon begins to suspect that they are being physically abused by their father, a prominent member of their small community. She tells her grandparents and the authorities, but they all refuse to believe her.

Mascha can’t let the abuse go on, so she takes matters into her own hands. Already an international award winner, this beautifully written novel is a haunting and timely tale. 


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Second Fiddle by Rosanne Parry

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The author of Heart of a Shepherd offers another sensitive portrayal of military families, this time stationed abroad, in the city of Berlin at that historic time just after the Wall came down.

When 13-year-old Jody and her friends save a badly beaten Russian soldier from drowning, they put into motion a chain of events that will take them from Berlin to Paris and straight into danger. Jody must quickly learn to trust herself, because in the time directly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the border between friend and enemy is not as clear as it once was.

Award-winning author of Heart of a Shepherd Rosanne Parry offers a fast-paced, coming-of-age story filled with adventure, music, friendship, and intrigue.


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Tinder by Sally Gardner

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Otto Hundebiss is tired of war, but when he defies Death he walks a dangerous path. A half beast half man gives him shoes and dice which will lead him deep into a web of dark magic and mystery. He meets the beautiful Safire - pure of heart and spirit, the scheming Mistress Jabber and the terrifying Lady of the Nail. He learns the powers of the tinderbox and the wolves whose master he becomes. But will all the riches in the world bring him the thing he most desires?

Fairy tales are often the cruelest stories of all; in this exquisite novel Sally Gardner writes about great love and great loss.

Greece

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Cruel Summer by Alyson Noel

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"This was supposed to be my best summer yet, the one I've been working toward since practically forever. Now I'm being banished from everything I know and love, and it just doesn't make any sense."

Having recently discarded her dorky image--and the best friend that went with it--Colby Cavendish is looking forward to a long hot season of parties, beach BBQ's, and hopefully, more hook-ups with Levi Bonham, the hottest guy in school. But her world comes crashing down when her parents send her away to spend the summer in Greece with her crazy aunt Tally.

Stranded on a boring island with no malls, no cell phone reception, and an aunt who talks to her plants, Colby worries that her new friends have forgotten all about her. But when she meets Yannis, a cute Greek local, everything changes. She experiences something deeper and more intense than a summer fling, and it forces her to see herself, and the life she left behind, in a whole new way, in Alyson Noël 's Cruel Summer.


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A House Like a Lotus by Madeleine L'Engle

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When sixteen-year-old Polly O'Keefe journeys to Athens, she feels confused and betrayed. The past eight months at home were different from any other time in her life. She met the brilliant, wealthy Maximiliana Horne, who gave her encouragement and made her feel self-confident. Polly idolized Max, until she learned a starting truth that left her wounded and angry.

Now on a trip to Greece arranged by Max, Polly finds romance, danger, and unique friendships. But can she find a way to forgive Max and remember her as more than a painful memory?


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Sophomore Year Is Greek to Me by Meredith Zeitlin

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High school sophomore Zona Lowell has lived in New York City her whole life, and plans to follow in the footsteps of her renowned-journalist father. But when he announces they’re moving to Athens for six months so he can work on an important new story, she's devastated— he must have an ulterior motive. See, when Zona's mother married an American, her huge Greek family cut off contact. But Zona never knew her mom, and now she’s supposed to uproot her entire life and meet possibly hostile relatives on their turf? Thanks... but no thanks. 
 
In the vein of Anna and the French Kiss, Zona navigates a series of hilarious escapades, eye-opening revelations, and unexpected reunions in a foreign country—all while documenting the trip through one-of-a-kind commentary.

Hungary

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The Bear Makers by Andrea Cheng

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One family's story of survival in postwar Hungary, 1948. In Budapest after the war, when Kata's family first returns from hiding, they are glad to be alive and hopeful that life will improve. But the secret police is questioning everyone about their loyalty to the Hungarian Workers Party, and conditions seem to be worsening. The eleven-year-old doesn't understand why her brother Bela is acting so differently or why he hasn't come home from his recent excursion. Her father used to own the factory, but now, as an employee, his wages continue to fall. She helps her mother sew the bears they will sell on the black market, but when Kata learns that Bela has escaped the country, she grows angry and sad. In time, she hopes that Bela will make it to America and will send for his family. 


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Elisabeth: The Princess Bride, Austria - Hungary, 1853 by Barry Denenberg

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Author Barry Denenberg brings us into the whirlwind that is the life of Princess Elisabeth of Austria. A free and impetuous spirit, Elisabeth is chosen at the age of fifteen (over her older sister) to be the wife of Franz Joseph, Emperor of Austria. From that moment on, she is thrown into an intimidating world of restrictions and tremendous responsibilities. Feeling lonely and alienated, Elisabeth is forced to rely upon her own personal strength, which eventually leads her down the aisle and into an uncertain future.


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Upon the Head of the Goat: A Childhood in Hungary 1939-1944 by Aranka Siegal

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The classic true story of one child's experiences during the holocaust.
 

Nine-year-old Piri describes the bewilderment of being a Jewish child during the 1939-1944 German occupation of her hometown (then in Hungary and now in the Ukraine) and relates the ordeal of trying to survive in the ghetto. 


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The White Stag by Kate Seredy

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For generations the tribes of Huns and Magyars had moved relentlessly westward, obeying the voices of their pagan gods, which compelled them to follow the elusive white stag to their promised homeland. They swept Europe, all the while pursuing their vision of the stag. Their leader was called Attila, and the land Hungary. Here is the epic story of their tribal migration and their fierce leader—known to us even today.

Iceland

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Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

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A brilliant literary debut, inspired by a true story: the final days of a young woman accused of murder in Iceland in 1829. 

Set against Iceland's stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution. 

Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Tóti, a priest Agnes has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes's death looms, the farmer's wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they've heard. 

Riveting and rich with lyricism, BURIAL RITES evokes a dramatic existence in a distant time and place, and asks the question, how can one woman hope to endure when her life depends upon the stories told by others? 


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Thief Eyes by Janni Lee Simner

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The latest YA fantasy book from Bones of Faerie author Janni Lee Simner!

After her mother mysteriously disappears, sixteen-year-old Haley convinces her father to take her to Iceland, where her mother was last seen. There, amidst the ancient fissures and crevices of that volcanic island, Haley meets gorgeous Ari, a boy with a dangerous side who appoints himself her protector.

When Haley picks up a silver coin that entangles her in a spell cast by her ancestor Hallgerd, she discovers that Hallgerd's spell and her mother's disappearance are connected to a chain of events that could unleash terrifying powers and consume the world. Haley must find a way to contain the growing fires of the spell—and her growing attraction to Ari.

Janni Lee Simner brings the fierce romance and violent passions of Iceland's medieval sagas into this twenty-first-century novel, with spellbinding results.

Ireland

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Bog Child by Siobhan Dowd

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DIGGING FOR PEAT in the mountain with his Uncle Tally, Fergus finds the body of a child, and it looks like she’s been murdered. As Fergus tries to make sense of the mad world around him—his brother on hunger-strike in prison, his growing feelings for Cora, his parents arguing over the Troubles, and him in it up to the neck, blackmailed into acting as courier to God knows what—a little voice comes to him in his dreams, and the mystery of the bog child unfurls.

Bog Child is an astonishing novel exploring the sacrifices made in the name of peace, and the unflinching strength of the human spirit.


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Nory Ryan's Song by Patricia Reilly Giff

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Nory Ryan's family has lived on Maidin Bay on the west coast of Ireland for generations, raising a pig and a few chickens, planting potatoes, getting by. Every year Nory's father goes away on a fishing boat and returns with the rent money for the English lord who owns their cottage and fields, the English lord bent upon forcing the Irish from their land so he can tumble the cottages and clear the fields for grazing. Times are never easy on Maidin Bay, but this year, a terrible blight attacks the potatoes. No crop means starvation. Twelve-year-old Nory must summon the courage and ingenuity to find food, to find hope, to find a way to help her family survive.


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When Irish Guys Are Smiling by Suzanne Supplee

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For seventeen-year-old Delk Sinclair, studying abroad in Ireland means one thing: escape. Delk is tired of hearing about her friends? debutante parties, watching her pregnant stepmother redecorate her mother?s house, and having to smile sweetly even though she doesn?t think she?ll ever get over losing her mother. Ireland is Delk?s chance to be happy. With the stunning green landscape as backdrop, Delk revels in all things Irish, from living in a real Irish castle, to celebrating St. Paddy?s Day in Galway, to enjoying Irish music and dance, to studying Yeats and shearing a sheep! So when Delk begins to fall for a very handsome Irishman, she wonders if there?s more to the Emerald Isle than it first seemed. It is fun, to be sure, but will those smiling Irish eyes really be able to heal her broken heart?