Monday, 27 April 2015


by Vanessa Curtis
336 pp. THE EARTH IS SINGING by Vanessa Curtis336 @Usborne @UsborneDigital . £6.99. (Ages 14 and up)


Rating: 4 Stars

    I will admit that I was actually rather surprised I liked this book, as it wasn’t my normal choice. Normally I read fantasy or sci-fi, not historical fiction based on real lives. I may have to change my usual agenda, though, as this book was fascinating, and there have also been a few other historical fiction books and biographies which I have enjoyed. Throughout this whole book I really felt like I could connect with the main character, Hanna, There were a few times when my heart clenched in fear for her and I smiled when she was happy.
    This book is set in World War 2 in Germany, and is narrated by a 15-year-old Jewish Latvian called Hanna, whose father has been taken by the Russians. It starts off not too bad. Life is hard, but Hanna is still following her dream of becoming a dancer. Although many of her friends have deserted her because she’s Jewish, her best friend and boyfriend Uldis stands with her, so you think everything will be okay. Soon, however her world is turned upside down when the Nazis come and slowly take away everything she’s ever cared about. This book took me on a whirl of adventure as Hanna faced all types of danger, heart breaking sadness, betrayal and fear during a fight for her life. I would definitely give this book 4 out of 5 stars as it really explored the awful treatment Jews got during World War 2 and captured my interest from the start.
    My favorite character has to be Hanna as the writer does an amazing job of making you feel like she’s a real person telling you all of this and experiencing all of this. I can also really feel for her when she’s wishing she wasn’t different from everyone else, as my family has had trouble with living in England as we are American and Portuguese, although the problems this causes for us are nowhere near as large as the problems being a Jew causes for her.
    Most of this book is quite sad, but I would say two parts stand out in particular. First, Uldis betrays her leaving her heartbroken. Second, all the Jews, her mother included, are shot and thrown into a pit of dead bodies. This is especially sad because after her mother dies she is left with no one else in the world to care for her and love her.
    Although most of this book is sad there are a few parts where Hanna is happy. I would say the happiest parts of this book are when it’s the New Year and her uncle brings up a feast for them to share, and at the end of the book when Hanna escapes from the Nazis. I think this because in both these times Hanna feels free and safe from the Nazis and like everything might be all right again.