By Adina Rishe Gerwirtz
Sommerville: Candlewick Press, 2013.
This a first novel by Adina Rishe Gerwitz which sets itself up to be an historical novel during the time period of the Iran Hostage Crisis (1979-1981). Annie, who is eleven and her younger brother Rew, short for Andrew, have a very complicated family life. They live in the city of Sunshine in a house just at the edge of a forest of white birch trees, which they call the zebra forest, a place of refugee for the two of them—where they escape to–to play and create great pirate stories.
They live with their grandmother who sometimes feels up to taking care of them and sometimes just lives in her bedroom for days at a time—an escape for herself. Annie and Rew have heard stories of their parents—a mom who just left them one day and a father who was died in a brawl fight. They really try to make the best of their situation but Annie yearns to know more about her father.
Then one day in the towns prison there was a riot and fifty prisoners escaped. One of those prisoners ends up taking Annie, Rew and their grandmother hostage—just like in Iran at the U.S. embassy. As Annie tries to scream, the prisoner starts to choke her but her grandmother steps in to the room and Andrew Snow, releases his hold on his own daughter.
Join this family as they explore many love-hate relationships between siblings, parents and grandparents. This is an intriguing novel that will pull at your heart strings and renew a hope in forgiveness.