The Young Survivors

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Pub Date 23 Jul 2020 | Archive Date 10 Aug 2020

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What if everyone you loved was suddenly taken away? Five siblings struggle to stay together as the tides of war threaten to tear them apart.

When Germany invades and occupies France in the Second World War, the five Laskowski children lose everything: their home, their Jewish community and most devastatingly their parents who are abducted in the night. There is no safe place left for them to evade the Nazis, but they cling together, never certain when the authorities will come for what is left of them.

Inspired by the poignant, true story of the author’s mother, this moving historical novel conveys the hardship, the uncertainty and the impossible choices the Laskowski children were forced to make to survive the horrors of the Holocaust.

What if everyone you loved was suddenly taken away? Five siblings struggle to stay together as the tides of war threaten to tear them apart.

When Germany invades and occupies France in the Second...

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Featured Reviews

It’s been a couple of hours since I completed this book and yet I’m still feeling emotional. Based off the author’s mother’s own holocaust story, this one is sure to tug on a few heartstrings. This book isn’t too long so super easy to devour in a few sittings, like I did - but it will stay with you for much longer. The Young Survivors follows five siblings on their individual journeys throughout nazi occupied France during 1938-1945. God I really can’t say anything without tearing up, just read it. You won’t regret it.

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I absolutely loved this book even though it dealt with such a horrific period in time. It was so brilliantly told that I felt connected to all the characters and their experiences during WW2. This is a story that will stay with me for a long time to come.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for this ARC

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The Young Survivors by Debra Barnes is a haunting story of five young Jewish siblings that end up being alone after their parents and adult family members are taken away by Gestapo during the occupation in France during WWII.

The harrowing journey that these children went through, and all that they lost, was horrible and heartbreaking. The chapters alternated with different siblings and the reader was able to see those alternate viewpoints which added to the complexity of the novel. We see their journey throughout this devastating time.

This is a great novel with such strong, resilient children that grew up much too soon. Anyone that enjoys reading historical fiction about WWII and the people it affected would enjoy this read.


Thank you NetGalley and Duckworth Books for this ARC and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion.

I am posting this review to my GR account immediately and will post it to my Amazon and B&N accounts upon publication. GR review attached below as the automatic link would not work.

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Heartbreaking novel about 5 French-Jewish siblings of the Polish-descent Laskowski family, who are left on their own in World War II France after their parents, aunt & uncle and grandmother are deported by the Nazis.

This book, "The Young Survivors" kind of reminds me of the TV series "Party of Five" in that the eldest sibling, Pierre is left to take care of his 4 brothers & sisters (similar to the premise of "Party of Five where in the original series, the eldest child, Charlie is left to care for his 4 younger siblings after their parents were killed by a drunk driver and in the 2020 reboot of "Party of Five", the eldest child, Emilio was left to care for his 4 brothers & sisters after their parents were arrested by ICE and deported to Mexico).

However, UNLIKE in "Party of Five" where the eldest sibling was a full-grown adult when they were involuntarily thrust into the role of parent, in this book, if I remember correctly, Pierre was only 15 or 16 at the time his parents & other adult relatives were arrested & sent to concentration camps in the summer of 1942, and he was left to care for his 4 younger brothers & sisters which included his brother Samuel who was maybe a year or two (or so!) younger, his brother Claude who was 10, and his twin sisters, Henriette and Georgette who were 4. years old.

"The Young Survivors" tells the story of these 5 siblings during World War II and what happens to each of them. This book is both heartbreaking and yet, in some ways, uplifting in how the French Resistance worked to hide and try to save as many people (especially Jewish children), as possible from the genocidal Nazi thugs.

This book was so riveting that I stayed up until 5;30 in the morning reading it, because I couldn't put it down before I knew what happened at the end. So I just kept going and before I realized it, it was almost morning, before I went to bed!

Highly recommend this book for those interested in the subject of the Holocaust and World War II.

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This is one of the those impossible to put down books. You know the ones were the pacing, the chapter breaks etc are all perfectly timed so you keep reading "just one more bit", until you are late for making dinner, or have stayed up too late? I am a big sucker for a Holocaust survivor story it must be said. However, i found I was more invested in this story than i was with the big hit The Tattooist of Auschwitz. Maybe it is the voices of the children, with their innocent look at the world. The author has based this novel on the story of her mother's survival. The reader is led into the story by a meeting of two survivors, however, you aren't sure until the end how the whole story plays out. If you watched and enjoyed the TV movie, The Windermere Children, then this book comes highly recommended. It doesn't cover the Windermere story at all, but the journeys of Jewish children in Nazi occupied France.
The post war reconnection of family after the war, would have been a mammoth effort on the part of multiple agencies. So many unbelievable stories, of survival, of loss, and of hope.
Thanks to Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this gem.

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This is a heartbreaking story of love, resilience and the struggle to keep one family together against all adversities. Five Laskowski children were left without their parents, who were abducted one night, when the Nazis invaded France. They endured hardship and witnessed atrocious atrocities as the war progressed, they loved through ordeals that nobody else should ever have to even dream of. This was another heart wrenching read highlighting the suffering that so many endured during the second world war. It didn't bring any new information to light but it was interesting and well written.

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The Young Survivors

"aѕ мore people reтυrned ғroм тнe caмpѕ or нιdιng placeѕ, тнe нoтel lυтeтιa waѕ a ғaѕcιnaтιng place тo вe. ғaмιlιeѕ ѕoввed joy aѕ тнey were reυnιтed ιn one oғ ιтѕ мany rooмѕ. ѕυrvιvorѕ were тreaтed lιĸe royalтy; ιdenιтιeѕ and opтιмιѕм ғor тнe ғυтυre were reтυrned тнroυgн newѕpaperѕ and paѕѕporтѕ. вυт ғor тнe ѕυrvιvorѕ wιтн ғaмιlιeѕ wнo dιd noт reтυrn, нope waѕ ѕмaѕнed тo pιeceѕ; ғaмιlιeѕ deѕтroyed ғorever and lιveѕ вroĸen вeyond repaιr."

I was given an arc from netgalley to review.
This book tells the story of a Jewish family that was ripped apart during WWII. There are 5 siblings who are tossed all around Europe at an attempt of survival. They're parents were arrested early during the war and never returned. This is a new tale of the Jewish people during this nasty time. Instead of being about the camps, it is about the the 5 children who were taken away from one another and moved from one home to another to try and stay out of the German's hands.

This novel gives an emphasize on the broken families during the war and after. it shows the love and connection between a family even when they are not together. It showed the hope and helplessness family members endured after the war when someone returned or did not. It was a hard read, but one that is definitely worth it.

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I really loved reading this book. It is a beautifully constructed novel which provides a window into the experiences of French Jews during World War Two, in an extremely engaging way.

The majority of Holocaust literature, both factual and fiction, focuses on Central and Eastern Europe, but in many cases the impact on Western Europe Jewry was just as dramatic. In all, approximately 77,000 Jews living on French territory perished in concentration camps and killing centres—the overwhelming majority of them at Auschwitz—or died in detention on French soil. The Young Survivors gives insight into their journeys and the experiences of those who survived.

The book follows the lives of the Laskowski family after Germany invaded France. As the front cover of the book hints, only three of the five children survived. Although fictional, the children’s experiences are based on those of the author’s mother and her four siblings.

Like many historical novels the book begins in a contemporary setting, with a character reconnecting with someone or something from their past. The narrative is then told in the first person and ‘real-time’ and in alternate chapters by the Laskowski children who survived. In fact the youngest child doesn’t start ‘writing’ until late in the book, due to the fact that she would have been too young earlier on.

I especially liked the way the book describes events through the eyes of the different siblings, showing how different ages understand and experience things very differently according to their personal needs and interests. While the eldest son rises nobly to the responsibility conferred to him as the new head of the family, his younger brother finds intrigue and teenage camaraderie in the various new situations that he experiences. At kindergarten age their younger sister’s needs are still very primal and she instinctively trusts the adults around her.

Although the story is told through the eyes of children, this is by no means a children’s book. It is an extremely emotional story which brought me to tears on more than one occasion but also made me smile numerous times. I felt slightly lost after I finished it, which I always think is the sign of a genuinely compelling book. I heartily recommend it.

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An engaging book based on the true story about the author's mother growing up in France as a young girl in a Jewish family at the outbreak of WW2. An interesting read with a different side to the hardships endured during the second WW2, told from the perspective of the family members that survived which is obvious which ones as the story progresses giving their different sides of the story as they each experienced. The story is written in part through the eyes of children, who are being shielded from the more gruesome aspects of war which makes some of the reading more naive, but it is their memories. Surprisingly easy and fast read which keeps the reader engaged as to the next part. The acknowledgements at the end give the whole picture as they're not just a list of thanks for the help received.

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I have always been interested in the social history of WW2 and this was another chance to learn something of the terrible tragedy that befell the Jewish people albeit from the eyes of children. In the form of a diary written by the children involved, Ms Barnes has managed to successfully portray the ages of the children through the language used and the experiences. Whilst the older children have more understanding of what is going on, your heart bleeds for the younger children and their perceptions. Equally moving is the description from the author of her real family's story. All in all I found this to be a moving story and would recommend it to all.

Thank you to Netgalley for the chance to read an early copy in exchange for an honest review

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I'm so happy I requested this amazing book!!!! What an amazing book!!! The real story of a family ripped apart during WWII and what each of them needed to survive, different ages, different fights!! What would you do if you see all your beloved ones leaving you alone? How would you try to keep your family together during a war? Would you know what's the right thing to do? Would you forgive yourself if you survive but your beloved ones doesn't? 🌸 This story is told from five kids perspective. Five kids growing up during WWII. That's one of the things I love the most about this book, is really hard to find this kind of perspectives! They were ripped apart, they all live different things, each of them feelings were different and that was really heartbreaking for me, to be able to see a kids perspective, being a mom, broke my heart. 🌸 I loved the characters, their story, their fight, their bravery!!! Strong amazing kids!!!
JUST INE THING!!! It says is historical fiction BUT the author at the end of the book says she has even been on tv and that here she tells the story of her mom and her mom's family. That's a bit confusing

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When Germany invades France and they start rounding up Jews, Rosa and Albert Laskowski are taken away leaving their 5 children behind with some various relatives including their blind grandmother. The children included Pierre, Samuel, Claude and twins Henriette and Georgette. When the other adult relatives are taken away, it leaves only the children to fend for themselves with Pierre being in charge since he was the oldest. This story is told from the different points of view of Pierre, Samuel, Georgette and later Jacqueline as the children struggle to try to stay together and to survive. I love WWII Historical Fiction books and this was so different from others that I have read in that it was from the POV of the children who were left behind trying to survive. I think the author did a fantastic job researching and writing her debut novel. Thank you NetGalley and Duckworth Books for the ARC of this heartbreaking page-turner in exchange for an honest review.

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This is a really well written memorable read about a Jewish family being torn apart by World War 2. Heartbreaking and horrific. It is a moving emotional story which will stay in my mind for a long time.

Thank you to Netgalley for my copy.

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Thank you to NetGalley and Duckworth Books for the arc of The Young Survivors by Debra Barnes.

Thank you Debra Barnes for writing such a tear jerking, emotional and gripping book which i really enjoyed.

The Young Survivors is the tear-jerking story of which involves 5 siblings in which are all Jewish and where raised in France when Germans took over the country. They are forced in which to flee their apartment in Metz and relocated to the city of Sarry. They ended up living in a house with extended family and were quite happy despite the father having lost his business. Eventually the adults of the family are in which are arrested because they are Jewish and sent them off to concentration camps. This follows the children of the family and what happens with them.

The Young Survivors opens up a section about of the Holocaust narrative that is often overlooked and not spoke about very often which is sad as it is history in which needs to be spoken about and in which is the fate of the Jews in France. It is told through the eyes and POV of three children.

I really loved books about world war 2 and the holocaust so I knew before reading that I would love this in which I did!

Definitely recommend
5 Stars⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Heartbreaking story of survival told from different angles and experiences of War War II. Family thorn apart. Hopes broken. Lives lived.
Beautifully written tragic, yet heroic story combined into one family journey during second World War.
I would hardly recommended this read to everyone who wants to know how survival can be done.

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Orphans and War

Not a lot is written about the orphanages full of Jewish children whose parents have been arrested by the Nazi's and sent away. While many Jewish families were rounded up and sent away together, some parents were arrested and children left to fend for themselves. These children often ended up in orphanages set up around the country,

This story is written about a Jewish family that was torn apart by the war. The parents sent to camps and the eldest son still a child was left to care for his brothers and sisters. Pierre not knowing what to do let the siblings go to the orphanage and he went to work on a farm. He later tried to get them out but the orphanage would not let them go. This book is the story of this family, those that survived the war and those that did not, it is also a story of those that cared for them helped them, and those that could not,

Stories of the war are so sad and the horrible things done to the Jewish are beyond words, but the saddest of all is the senseless acts against young children.

This was a good book, I enjoyed reading about this courageous family and how they loved each other. I would recommend it.

Thanks to Debra Barnes, Duckworth Publishing, and NetGalley for allowing me to read an advance copy of the book for an honest review.

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A very emotional book to read. It tells of the struggles of a Jewish family during the second world war. I learnt a lot about the horrors of war and the people who helped .This was a hard book to enjoy as it was sad at times but very well written. I do recommend that you read this book if you want to know more of the awful things they had to endure .

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Absolutely marvellous!
The Young Survivors is an emotional story of love and loss, hope and survival throughout the Second World War. A memorable story that will no doubt stay with me for some time.

I’m often interested to know what inspires authors in their writing - in this case it was her own mother’s traumatic childhood in German-occupied France and survival of the Holocaust. Combining this with her own research, the author has successfully penned a debut novel that I would highly recommend without any hesitation.

I really loved this book - the characters are wonderfully depicted and the reader easily warms to them, the pace is good and the story flows really well between the different sibling narratives. Definitely a book I didn’t want to put down!

An excellent debut novel from Debra Barnes which beautifully portrays her mother’s story - such a miracle that she survived! I finished this book feeling privileged to have glimpsed an insight into the incredible survival story of the author’s mother.

I am grateful to the publisher, Duckworth Books for an advance digital copy of this book via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

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"The Young Survivors is a tribute to the 76,000 French Jews who lost their lives in the Holocaust" - Author Debra Barns

After reading the acknowledgements, it made it more touching and heartbreaking the similarities Debra incorporated to mirror her moms life as a Holocaust survivor. This read was effortless. I enjoyed the story alternating perspectives of the Laskowski children since not many books capture that viewpoint especially Jewish children. I think I hyped the plot too much so it fell a little short for me. I found the end a bit rushed compared to how the story flowed. There was closure between all the characters but I would have preferred if the events were spaced out or elaborated on more. Other than that, the story itself was memorable and gripping.

Side note: I absolutely loved the prequel short story, 'The Laskowski Brothers' that got me hooked and was a perfect lead into The Young Survivors. You can get a free copy at this link:,straight%20to%20your%20inbox%20here.

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It was difficult to get into the style of writing in the very beginning but after that, wow! It was a great book! I can't imagine everything this family went through. 4.5 stars

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With thanks to netgalley for an early copy in return for an honest review.
First time reading this Author and really was blown away,this really us a work of art.
A Harrowing tale of how one family survived the horrific abuse thrown at them and yet found the inner strength to carry on I laughed and cried in equal measures through out this book I have nothing but praise for this beautiful book

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This is going to be short because I seem to be lacking words for how much I loved this book. In fact, saying I loved it almost seems wrong because reading this novel was so poignant and such an experience that...I don't have the proper words.

This book is startling, horrifying, and yet the story is told in a charming way. Debra Barnes' prose is lyrical she is truly gifted as a writer. The beauty of the writing, almost like poetry, carries the story along and takes you with it effortlessly.

Bottom Line: This book was amazing. I loved the characters, the story, the narrator and everything it had to tell. This is one novel that I will not soon forget. I took a star off because it leans more towards Young Adult...and there is nothing wrong with that! It isn't marketed as young adult though.

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What if everyone you loved was suddenly taken away? Five siblings struggle to stay together as the tides of war threaten to tear them apart.

When Germany invades and occupies France in the Second World War, the five Laskowski children lose everything: their home, their Jewish community and most devastatingly their parents who are abducted in the night.

There is no safe place left for them to evade the Nazis, but they cling together, never certain when the authorities will come for what is left of them.

Inspired by the poignant, true story of the author’s mother, this moving historical novel conveys the hardship, the uncertainty and the impossible choices the Laskowski children were forced to make to survive the horrors of the Holocaust.

There isn’t much I could put down in words about this book. Written with lyrical prose and such pounding emotion 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗬𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗴 𝗦𝘂𝗿𝘃𝗶𝘃𝗼𝗿𝘀 is a truely heartbreaking story. I read it in one sitting and would recommend to all historical fiction readers.

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The Young Survivors by Debra Barnes

We follow five Jewish siblings in occupied France and this is a story about family and the inhumane struggles they had to face. I have read a lot of WWII novels but not many that are from the eyes of children. You watch these precious kids face so much while growing up, it broke my heart. I found this unique because even the youngest children have POVs in this story.

If you enjoy reading Historical Fiction set in WWII, please check out this novel by Debra Barnes. Out on July 23rd!

Thank you @netgalley and Duckworth Books for a free e-copy in exchange for an honest review.

#netgalley #bookstagram #bookcommunity #bookrecommendations #arc #theyoungsurvivors #historicalfiction

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Amazing story!
It is not often you read about the children during the Holocaust and what happened to them. This story was so well written. I was so immersed in this story I didn’t want to put it down(; I wanted to know that the children were okay and what would happen to them next.

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What if everyone you loved was suddenly taken away?

I have been on a light, happy rom-com kick lately, but I just picked up a historical fiction and was reminded why I have always been drawn to them.

The Young Survivors is out today so you can all fall in love too. Once you're in love your heart will be torn out, squoze, and slowly put back together. I have read many WWII novels, but not many are told in the eyes of children. This is the true story of five siblings and their struggles as Jews during WWII. It's heartbreaking in it's rawness.

This is such a beautiful novel. If you like reading about WWII it's one for you. If you like books that sit with you after and make you think, this one is for you. If you want to learn how good you have life, this one is for you. Well done.

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I have really been into historical fiction lately and this book was amazing. It is obvious that the author knows a lot about the time period, as the descriptions of the Holocaust were vivid. The choices that the siblings in this story had to make were heartbreaking at times. It was interesting to know that this story is based on the author's mother's experience during the war.

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This book was written from the viewpoint of the younger Jewish family members caught up in in WW2 based in France. Unlike others books in this genre it was written in the style where it follows the story while the families were surviving from outside the camps not inside
It was well written and I read it quickly, getting attached to the main characters and absorbed in what they had to deal with to survive. It has loyalty and bravery running through it.
Thanks to #NetGalley for the advance copy

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The Laskowskis were content living in Metz France 🇫🇷, (very close to the Maginot line). In 1938, brothers Pierre, Claude and Samuel, visited their mom in the hospital to welcome the newest members of their family, twins Georgette and Henriette on the day of their birth. At this same time, the family knew the invasion of France by #Germany 🇩🇪 was inevitable.

While some members of the extended Laskowski family left France for England and America, Mr. Laskowski, Albert (father), chose to remain in France. When war is declared, the Laskowskis are forced to leave Metz. Then the Laskowski parents are arrested, and, Pierre, at 14 yo, (& the eldest of the 5 children), is suddenly in charge of his siblings, the twin girls are barely even toddlers. The children struggle to stay together in spite of the war which is pulling the family apart at its seams.

Author Debra Barnes’ mother’s life story served as her inspiration to write this fictional tale. Growing up, Debra’s mother avoided talking about the war, in fact the subject was taboo. This all changed in 2006, when her mother’s picture (as a young girl during the war), appeared on the cover of a book, written by another survivor. This inspired conversations that ultimately led Debra Barnes to write this fictional novel based on her mother’s story. Now she also helps other survivors write books telling their war stories.

I really enjoyed reading #theyoungsurvivors by @debra_author. I give it #5⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. Thank you @NetGalley for the digital copy of the book in return for my honest review.

@duck_books #metz #condenorthern #sarry #drancy #louveciennes #poitiers #beaulieusurdordogne #vichy #milice

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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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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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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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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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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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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 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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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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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 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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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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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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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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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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