Orca Book Publishers

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Fiction Ages 12+
Pages: 232
Themes: Holocaust, concentration camps, survival
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Pub Date: 01/Sep/2010
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A pampered child used to having her own way, Anneke Van Raalte lives outside Amsterdam, where her father is a cartoonist for the Amsterdam newspaper. Though Anneke's family is Jewish, her religion means little to her. Anneke's life changes in 1942 when the Nazis invade Holland, and she and her family are deported to Theresienstadt, a concentration camp in Czechoslovakia. Not only are conditions in the camp appalling, but the camp is the site of an elaborate hoax: the Nazis are determined to convince the world that Theresienstadt is an idyllic place and that European Jews are thriving under the Nazi regime. Because he is an artist, Anneke's father is compelled to help in the propaganda campaign, and Anneke finds herself torn between her loyalty to her family and her sense of what is right. What World is Left was inspired by the experiences of the author's mother, who was imprisoned in Theresienstadt during World War II.

The Jewish Independant
"A very personal, thought-provoking and, ultimately, hopeful book."
CM Magazine
"Through Anneke's eyes, author Monique Polak presents an astonishing and depressing event."
[Starred review] "Heartbreaking. An important addition to the Holocaust curriculum."
The Chronicle Herald
"A powerful story of growing up in unspeakable conditions, of human suffering, loss and, ultimately, hope."
Nikki Tate, "All Points West," CBC Radio One
"The underlying truth of what happened and how her family survived is really what makes this utterly compelling fiction…I am so grateful to [Monique and other authors like her] who tackle these really difficult stories and write unflinching books for teenagers."
Publishers Weekly
"[Offers] a candid look at a father's presumed collusion, a perspective rarely seen in YA literature about the Holocaust."
The Montreal Gazette
"The pressure and urgency of inspiration, not to mention tears and blood, is palpable everywhere."
Resource Links
"This book certainly holds its own in the canon of Holocaust-based fiction for the young adult audience...Polak balances this [dark reality] with uplifting moments of friendship, family tenderness and even romance."
The Rover
"Takes the reader to the heart of the horror by creating a character whose vivid confusion, disbelief, and innocence are immediate and powerful."
"An excellent novel—a great tale of overcoming adversity in a time of such dark despair."
Tucson Unified School District
Tri State Young Adult Book Review Committee
"The descriptive narrative is cohesive, well-constructed, and compelling and provides a different view of what a man deemed necessary to survive.
YALSA YA Galley Teen Review
"This book is well-written, the characters are developed so well you can relate to them, the setting is described such that you can picture it in your mind, and the action and suspense make you keep turning the pages."
School Library Journal
"[This] realistic novel, written in memoir format, raises questions of moral principles and beliefs while it portrays the horrors of the Holocaust."
"Well written, thought provoking, and a solid addition to the canon of Holocaust fiction - perfect for reading lists and teens who enjoy historical fiction."
Library Media Connection
"This well-written, painful story is a good addition to the genre of Holocaust fiction… Recommended."
Canadian Children's Book News
"Full of hope...This volume makes for great reading and an excellent resource for a school library."
Montreal Review of Books
"Polak's story breathes life into a period fading from memory."
What If? Magazine
"Intriguing and quite unique...The reader will undoubtedly find much to think about. I would recommend What World is Left to anyone interested in this often-overlooked piece of history."


ALA Best Books for Young Adults  | 2010 | Short-listed
CCBC Best Books  | 2010 | Commended
Manitoba Young Readers' Choice Award nominee  | 2010 | Short-listed
Quebec Writers' Federation Literature Prize  | 2009 | Winner
Resource Links "The Year's Best"  | 2008 | Commended
Booklist Editor's Choice  | 2008 | Commended