Cover Image: The Young Survivors

The Young Survivors

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Member Reviews

Due to a sudden, unexpected passing in the family a few years ago and another more recently and my subsequent (mental) health issues stemming from that, I was unable to download this book in time to review it before it was archived as I did not visit this site for several years after the bereavements. This meant I didn't read or venture onto netgalley for years as not only did it remind me of that person as they shared my passion for reading, but I also struggled to maintain interest in anything due to overwhelming depression. I was therefore unable to download this title in time and so I couldn't give a review as it wasn't successfully acquired before it was archived. The second issue that has happened with some of my other books is that I had them downloaded to one particular device and said device is now defunct, so I have no access to those books anymore, sadly.

This means I can't leave an accurate reflection of my feelings towards the book as I am unable to read it now and so I am leaving a message of explanation instead. I am now back to reading and reviewing full time as once considerable time had passed I have found that books have been helping me significantly in terms of my mindset and mental health - this was after having no interest in anything for quite a number of years after the passings. Anything requested and approved will be read and a review written and posted to Amazon (where I am a Hall of Famer & Top Reviewer), Goodreads (where I have several thousand friends and the same amount who follow my reviews) and Waterstones (or Barnes & Noble if the publisher is American based). Thank you for the opportunity and apologies for the inconvenience.
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I am an avid fan of historical fiction books that take place during WWII. This was an emotional read and it was made more so because the author shares the similarities of her mother’s experiences as a holocaust survivor. The characters were well developed and the story is a vivid portrayal of what the Laskowski children endure at the hands of the Nazis. There were a few things that left me unsatisfied ... the ending was rushed and there could have been more closure between some of the characters. But other than these issues, this was a touching and engaging story that will tug at your heartstrings.

Thank you to NetGalley and Duckworth Books for my advanced review copy. All opinions and thoughts are my own.
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What if everyone you loved was taken away? 

This is a harrowing book based on the true story of the authors mother and her family.

Five siblings struggle to stay together and fend for themselves during the war when their family are taken through the night by the Nazi’s.

A beautifully written, but sad story about what happened to French Jews when France was occupied by the Nazi’s during WW2! 

Each chapter is written from the POV of one of the siblings / children and tells the story through their eyes. 

A story of family, friendship, hope and survival.

I would definitley recommend this to anyone who enjoyed historical fiction set during WW2. But be warned, I needed tissues!!
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The Laskowski family live in Metz, they have three boys Pierre, Samuel and Claude and they have just celebrated the birth of twin girls Henriette and Georgette. They have no idea that before the girls turn one, the family would have to leave Metz, to put some distant between them and the rapidly advancing German army. The Germans easily invade France, Jewish adults start being arrested in the middle of the night, they disappear and never to be seen again. 

The Jewish agency does it’s best to keep the children safe, by hiding them on isolated farms, using various remote youth camps, the twin girls are looked after at orphanages and the catholic church also hides Jewish children. The five siblings desperately try to stay together, it’s difficult due to the age difference and girls being housed separately from boys. The situation in France gets worse, decisions have to be made quickly to move vulnerable children, it’s impossible to keep track of five siblings, after the war they try and reunite families, and  it's utter chaos. 

After reading The Lost Wife by Alyson Richman, discovering her own mother’s shocking childhood, and Debra Barnes wrote her book to pay tribute to the French Jewish children who suffered during the holocaust. The Young Survivors is a moving and inspiring true story, about surviving despite the terrible odds, and a generation of Jewish children losing the innocence of childhood and their parents. I recived a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, it made a lasting impression and five stars from me.
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The novel tells another side of WWII and Nazi  occupied territories - the children who were left.  This story follows five French-Jewish siblings whose parents have been taken to a concentration camp. The oldest is only a teenager and allows the younger to be taken to an orphanage.  The story progresses as he tries to get them back together. It is poignant and beautiful. An immensely moving literary experience.
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There are many novels set during WWII and each one tells yet another heartbreaking tale of life during Nazi occupation, yet none more poignant than those that are based in fact. Debra Barnes tells the story of Georgette Laskowski, her mother, twin sister Henrietta and their 3 siblings. When Germany invades and occupies France , the five Laskowski children lose everything: their home, their Jewish community and their parents, whisked away in the dead of night. The novel is told through the voices of the children as they attempt to stay together and survive. This book is written in the first person through the voices of the children, the plain simple language flows so clearly it’s as if you were sitting next to the children as they chronicle their experiences living through the Holocaust. 
This is an important tale to share we must never forget.
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Amazing story based on true events. It never fails to astound me of the horrors inflicted by the Nazi's and Vichy French during the War. It sometimes seems as the survival of individual European Jewish people was based simply on luck as shown in this novel. A case of right place, right time or vice versa. It also shows the courage of not only the Jewish people, but of those people who helped them to survive the horrors of transportation and certain death at the concentration camps.
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I enjoyed this moving historical novel - a Holocaust survival story of 5 Jewish children after their parent are abducted. The story is fiction but based on a true story of the author's mother.

It is beautifully written. The characters are well-written, realistic and relateable. I cant say that it was an enjoyable read, but it was a worthwhile read.

I certainly recommend it.

Thank you to netgalley, the publisher and the author for sending me this ARC.
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This book was kindly gifted to me via Netgalley as an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I enjoyed this book.  I'm always drawn to WWII books and I liked that this one was from a different perspective., that being children from France. Many books I've read about the war and survivors, haven't really been about what was happening in neighboring countries and how Hitler's reign was affected by Jews in other countries. It was eye opening. It also hit a different chord once I read the acknowledgements and realized that this story was based on the true story of the authors mother. 

So, why only 3 stars? I just didn't feel like poignant character developments. I wish there was a a bit more of me invested into them. I wanted to know more about Pierre's story and the struggles that ensued. That being said, the narrative was written very lovely and I enjoyed that each child had their own chapters and perspectives.

Thanks agin for the ARC
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The Laskowski children, during the Second World War, have to endure the painful fate that comes with being Jews. With their parents arrested, they have to go their separate ways for a chance at survival. Until the war is over and with the hope of being one day reunited. 

Even if we study at school about the Holocaust and we have watched, probably, hundreds of movies about it, I still can’t shake the dreadful feelings I feel when reading the survivors testimonies.. this book based on the author’s mother story is heartbreaking. Those innocent kids having to endure so much pain and experiencing such a traumatising fate.. and when everything is over they are left with the grief of loosing their loved ones, at the expenses of a group of fanatics.. honestly it just upsets me! 
Anyway the story was wonderfully written, from the point of views of the 5 kids. While reading is palpable the pain and grief they experience during the war and the hope of being reunited with their family once everything is over. Thanks to the many testimonies, everything is super detailed and accurate. 

If you enjoyed reading the tattooist of Auschwitz or the boy in the striped pyjamas then give this book a go!
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I received The Young Survivors ebook as an ARC from Netgalley & Duckworth Books. It is written by Debra Barnes. This is her debut novel. The book is fiction, but inspired by her mother’s experience of losing her twin sister at the age of six as well as her parents. Her mother was a French Jewish child in an orphanage during WWII. 

The Young Survivors is a story of the Laskowski Family. The Laskowski’s are Jewish living in France at the onset of WWII. The parents are abducted, one after the other, by the Germans.  The five children are left to fend for themselves. 

The book is written from the narrative of three of the children alternating in chapters. The writing style is quick and easy to read being that it comes from the perspective of the children. What makes this book unique is that it’s focus is on children of France who were also Jewish. It’s important to know about the many who silently fought to keep the children safe and based on that, I would recommend this book.
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I absolutely love this story. Or I love it as much as you can love a tale of heartache and despair. You cannot help but grow fond of the characters so they are going through literal hell. With every new turn of events you root for them despite knowing the odds are against them. A story of love, pain and survival. I have never had a book tear apart my heart the way The Young Survivors did.
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Definitely one of my outstanding reads this year! A harrowing, brutal look at the fates of a family of Jewish Germans and their treatment during the Nazi era. Tearing apart the family, the children are separated and basically cared for during the intervening years, not knowing if their parents or siblings are alive or dead. A true tribute to the human spirit and the urge to go on living, no matter what happens. Recommended.
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I cannot devour these types of books fast enough lately. I didn’t use to be a historical fan, but all books dealing with WW2 and the deplorable treatment of innocent men, women, and children strike at my heart. How strong these children must have been. I cannot even imagine. I will always be grateful for the true stories that these people find it in their hearts to tell. The past will live on by educating those who learn from it. 

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by NetGalley.
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This was a beautifully written and articulate true story about the young survivors who survived the terrible time they had during the war
Thanks net galley and Debra Barnes for allowing me to read this, and each time I hear about the survivors of this terrible war you cannot but think they only survived with the help of people who were not Jewish, just very brave.l
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A Jewish family living a good life in Poland. They were all very happy until one day they heard that the Germans were coming to separately of the Jews and send them away.
This book is about courage and resilience.  
This book is different from other Holocaust survivor books because it shows the role that France had in helping the Jewish children escape.  
I could not put it down. I really liked the characters.
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The Young Survivors by Debra Barnes is a marvellous historical debut novel. It is completely absorbing and I could not put it down.
The novel is grounded in fact as it is based on the author’s mother’s wartime experiences. It is a tribute to the indomitable human spirit and to the six million who perished in the holocaust.
Set between 1938-1945 in France the story follows the plight of a Jewish family. There are some truly heart-breaking scenes to read. The five siblings have a strong bond and love for each other. Along the way they meet the very good and the completely evil. The youngsters are so brave, even the youngest twins who were born in 1938.
Debra Barnes is clearly a talented author and I look forward to more by her.
Being hated for merely the circumstances of being born Jewish is horrendous. This quote sums it all up. I found it extremely powerful and absolutely heart-breaking:
“We had no idea what it meant to be Jewish except it meant the Germans and many of the French hated us.”
I received this book for free. A favourable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.
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An absolutely beautiful, yet haunting book.  Based on the author's own mother's story this book tells of five siblings and their journey through WWII.  It's very difficult to imagine adults during this time, let alone children.  And for these children to have survived so long without their parents is amazing.  The author did a wonderful job of telling their stories without being maudlin and yet making you feel attached to these children.  Beautiful job!
I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley and the publisher and voluntarily chose to review it.
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Resilient Children in Harrowing Circumstances

What a heartbreaking, but ultimately uplifting, story! It is made even more poignant knowing that it is based on the story of the author's mother as a young child during the Holocaust and WWII. I'm so glad that she has told her mother's story; we need stories like this to remind us of the past so that we can all have a better future by not repeating atrocities. This is a book that lives up to the term “unputdownable,” one given to many books but rarely merited. It follows the story of five Jewish siblings whose world is upended and shattered when all the adults in their lives are taken away to concentration camps. So the oldest brother, who is only in his mid-teens, takes care of his four younger siblings as best he can, including four-year-old twin girls. The things they see and experience are heartbreaking. The book is told in the alternating viewpoints of the children, and I liked the insights the different children gave into what was happening with them. They go through so much, but you truly get a sense of the resilience these children have,  doing the best they can to survive in a frightening world that IS out to get them. It's a story that certainly evokes a variety of emotions as you read it, and you can't help but continue to think about the book after you've finished it. I so love historical fiction that is based in reality, especially the real lives of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. This is just one of those books. Highly recommended.
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This book "The Young Survivors"  is one of the best books written about a family during the Holocaust that I have read in a long time! It is the story of the family of Polish decent living in Metz when the story begins.
The author has put together a very good story telling, which keeps you want to continue reading it. Storys that took place during WW II were very dramtic and often so barbaric that, it became scary and quite horrible.
Here Debra Barnes tells us with genuine and loveable characters their family story, the theme about how the war became a part of their lives. Lives that would be changed forever. During the story which will take us from present time and back to the past, she weaves it in very nicely. The awareness and how the family was split up, leaving behind several children. How dramatic their lives turned out to be and how the oldest child is doing his best to keep together his siblings. We also get to follow how the years shortly before the war were and then during the war. How life turned badly and got worse, still there was the daily fight to find the parents, survive the days, months and years. How at the same time there were those who really went out of their way to help save the Jewish children and people, resisting as best they could. Reading the book was as if you were there living through their hardships and also finding out more about the horrible things all those people had to go through. We follow the children that did come out of this and that did have the hope of a second chance in their lives, even if a lot of the family members didn't  make it back. The read was emotional and I can really recommend this read! I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to read this book! My thanks to the author and publisher! Charlotte N
The innocence
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