Acts of Resistance: A Novel
by Dominic Carrillo
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Pub Date 21 Mar 2023 | Archive Date 29 Dec 2023
Between 1943 and 1944, nearly 50,000 Bulgarian Jews were rescued from the Holocaust, including thousands who had already been rounded up and put on trains bound for death camps in Poland. Dominic Carrillo’s suspenseful novel Acts of Resistance is based on the true story of this incredibly heroic effort by the citizens of Bulgaria. In Carrillo’s powerful account, he skillfully weaves together a thrilling tale told by three alternating teenage narrators: Misho, Peter, and Lily.
Misho, an 18-year-old Jewish boy, is a prominent archbishop’s driver, hiding his identity while helping his boss directly challenge the Bulgarian government’s pro-Nazi policies.
Peter, 17, is determined to save his Jewish neighbors by confronting parliament members in the capital, then taking up arms to fight with a partisan rebel communist group.
Lily, 19, works for the collaborationist government office in charge of evicting and deporting Jews to concentration camps. When she witnesses the evil results of her desk job, Lily becomes a spy who leaks information to Jewish community leaders in order to prevent further atrocities.
As the characters’ lives become more endangered and their unsung roles in saving Jewish citizens are revealed, the reader is treated to a tension-filled adventure surrounding one of the greatest unknown acts of heroism associated with the Holocaust. Acts of Resistance will have you on the edge of your seat as Misho, Peter, and Lily face and overcome extremely perilous situations, ultimately triumphing as they each help to lead the people of Bulgaria to rise up against the Nazis and save their nearly 50,000-strong Jewish population from extinction.
A Note From the Publisher
“Acts of Resistance is a tribute not only to those who lived through the Holocaust, and to young people brave enough to resist unjust regimes everywhere, but also to the power of fiction to combine research and imagination into work at once fiercely humane and important. 50,000 human lives were saved by Bulgarian citizens, and Dominic Carrillo lets us imagine—through his thoughtfully rendered teenage narrators—what an individual life means, and how much each one matters.” —Rachel DeWoskin, author of National Jewish Book Award and Sydney Taylor Award-Winning, Someday We Will Fly
“Acts of Resistance explores the timeless question we all ponder but are rarely able to answer: ‘Would I be willing to sacrifice my life to save another?’ With its masterful storytelling, sincerity, and suspense, any reader—young or old—will feel inspired to answer this question with a resounding ‘yes’ upon finishing the last page.” —Scott Stambach, author of The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko
“The diary entry format adds suspense, and the focus on young adult protagonists is effective.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Bulgaria, 1943. In the face of evil, the question is: What will you do? In this thrilling historical novel, Dominic Carrillo examines the action of a number of characters, ranging from an Archbishop to a secretary, from a young Jew to a young non-Jew. This novel is about the high-stakes of personal responsibility and trying to overcome fear. It is informed by a deep sense of Bulgarian history during the Second World War, but marked, too, by a keen eye toward our own time.” —George Cotkin, author of Morality’s Muddy Waters
“Dominic Carrillo deftly blends history with believable characters, while fearlessly questioning the moral sense of right and wrong.” —Shih-Ju Lin, Librarian, NOVA International Schools, Skopje Macedonia
“I thoroughly enjoyed Acts of Resistance. Carrillo has a way of bringing different young adult perspectives into a story and making sense of those perspectives. The work blends different points of views from three main characters into a cohesive and compelling story, and one which will resonate with readers. Many readers of historical fiction will find the story to be refreshing in that it brings to light a little known chapter of eastern Europe and World War II. Readers of Skrypuch and Alan Gratz will especially enjoy the narrative and story that Carrillo brings. This is a strong addition to a historical fiction collection and highly recommended.” —John Kurtenbach, Librarian, American International School of Johannesburg
“Dominic Carillo has created a timeless story about a moment in history where the triumph of the human spirit soars despite the obstacles. Acts of Resistance is proof that good prevails over evil; it’s a reminder that a book can change the way you see the world. In a word: remarkable.” —Azul Terronez, CEO & Co-Founder of Authors Who Lead
Publicity will be focused on traditional YA outlets, including Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, Booklist, Kirkus, Bookpage, Shelf Awareness, etc.
Publicity and marketing efforts to the general consumer trade will target Jewish, World War II, mystery and suspense outlets, as well as traditional print media for book reviews.
We will do our best to secure noteworthy endorsements.
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Average rating from 28 members
I really enjoyed the way Dominic Carrillo wrote this, it had what I was looking for in a historical suspenseful novel. The characters were what I was looking for and felt like they belonged in the time-period going on. I thought the plot worked well and I was invested from the cover.
"A woman screamed offstage and I turned to see who it was. She was a blonde young woman wearing a red coat. When I turned back to Stefan, he was gone. Then everyone was gone. I was kneeling on the stage completely alone." That’s when I woke up sweating, panting, my heart pounding. The nightmare stuck with me all day."
I really enjoyed how this book was written. I was given three different view points where the people cross paths. They are not actually working together but have the same goal, fighting for the freedom of the Jewish people. With each person being in a different situation I was given an amazing overview of the situation in WW2 Bulgaria. Thanks to the book I gained understanding and learned so much that is ignored in textbooks.
Peter is a young adult/late teen that wants to do something to help his best friend who is Jewish. We observe his growing dedication, his continuing frustrations and how his hands are tied; as a member of the Fatherland Front. Peter's character allowed me to see what might have been happening in Bulgaria as citizens attempt to save the Jewish people. The story also shows the disconnect between those wanting to help. With in the story Peter comes across the other two characters that are affected by the crisis.
Lily works for Mr. Belev, the head of KEV which is in charge of eradicating the Jewish population. As his personal secretary, she has access to many of their secrets. After seeing the horrors in one town she knows she has to do something to stop the atrocities. Fear has her doing the unexpected in order to save people and herself. I was given a glimpse into the difficult decisions she had to make. Her actions woud have consequences. I soon learned what they could and would be.
The other main character is Misho. Thanks to him, I got to see Archbishop Stefan in action. As a Jew, Misho doesn't quite understand Stefan's actions but he is right in the thick of things as he pretends to be his driver and a seminary student. Misho's hands are tied. To be vocal would risk his safety. To take action risks his life and the life of Stefan, the man hiding him in plain sight. Through Misho's character we get to observe the of politics of Bulgaria. A little manipulation goes a long way until it doesn't.
Acts of Resistance is a story that needed to be read. As people, we need to keep learning the world's history for fear of repeating past mistakes. Through the use of the three characters I gained so much. Knowledge is always a good thing, and the different view points really helped. The author did a wonderful job of giving an overview of the time period without overwhelming me.
I really love historical fiction surrounding WW2. This was a quick read and the way it was written on journal entries really broke up the narrative for me and made it enjoyable. Also, never read a Bulgarian perspective so that was new and interesting.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me an ARC of this book for my honest review
This novel is a heartfelt YA historical fiction. The story takes on three characters POV during the deportation process of Bulgarian Jews during WWII. Mischo, Peter and Lily are all fighting for the greater good of the Jewish people. The intersecting of the characters was thoughtfully done throughout the story, even though each character was on their own quest.
This is a quick read, which I read in one sitting. The topic is very important to revisit to the younger generation. The story was both poignant and fast paced to keep a young reader or any reader engaged.
Thank you to NetGalley, Dominic Carrillo, and Santa Monica Press for an ARC copy of this in exchange for an honest review. This book follows three young people as they resist against the deportation on Bulgarian Jews. Lily works in collaborationist government office in charge of evicting and deporting Jews to concentration camps. Peter is determined to help save his best friend, who is a Jew and joins a rebel communist group. Misho is a Jew who is hiding in plain site as a chauffeur to an Archbishop. The three of their lives are intersected without them knowing and each play their part as the war rages on. This book grips you and doesn’t let you go. I had a knot in my throat the entire reading this as I was afraid of what would happen next. The entire book was so well researched and written and the story was really well laid out. Really enjoyed this book and the story of resistance will stay with me for a long time.