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September 20, 2019

Castle of Concrete by Katia Raina ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts


"I shouldn't be here. Under the city of my dreams, during rush hour. Inside the blue train, rushing me toward New Life. Next to my mama whom I adore, whom I haven't seen in how many centuries." (p3)

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

June 2019; Young Europe Books
978-0999541630; ebook, print (304 pages)
young adult, historical fiction
Castle of Concrete takes place in the early 1990s when life in Russia was changing dramatically. Fifteen-year-old Sonya has lived with her grandmother in Siberia most of her life because her mother was a dissident and it was not safe for her to live with her mother. As the novel begins, Sonya has just arrived in Moscow to live with her mother and her new step-father. They are Jewish in a country where Jews are discriminated against.

Sonya has to start a new school and has decided to be bold and brave instead of being the shy, retiring girl she had been in her earlier life.  Unfortunately many of her new attitudes backfire and at first, she is not accepted at her new school.  She falls in love with someone who may be anti-Semite but she is young and in love and doesn't think that's important.  She has to make a decision whether love or her family history is more important.  There are rumors in Moscow of an upcoming coup but Sonya is more interested in her boyfriend and trying to make friends at school.  Her mother is becoming interested in moving to the US and leaving Russia behind.

The book is all about change in a 15-year-olds life.  She is living in a new place with a mother that she barely knows and a new step-father.  She is going to a new school where it's tough to be the new kid.  She falls in love with the wrong boy and has to keep her Jewish heritage a secret from him.  The country she lives in is also going through huge changes that affect everyone's lives.  AND we see all of these changes through the eyes of a 15-year-old who has to decide who she wants to be.

This is YA fiction - something that I don't usually read so I may be judging it as adult fiction by saying that some of the characters and situations seemed to be uninteresting.  But the reviews of this book are very good so I think it was probably the way that I read it and not the fault of the book that I had to force myself to finish it.

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Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina when she isn't traveling. She and her husband enjoy traveling, gardening and spending time with their family and friends. She reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction, and thrillers. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on FacebookGoodreads, or Twitter

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