The Light in Hidden Places
The extraordinary story of Stefania Podgorska, a Polish teenager who chose bravery and humanity by hiding thirteen Jews in her attic during WWII -- from #1 New York Times bestselling author Sharon Cameron.One knock at the door, and Stefania has a choice to make...It is 1943, and for four years, sixteen-year-old Stefania has been working for the Diamant family in their grocery store in Przemsyl, Poland, singing her way into their lives and hearts. She has even made a promise to one of their sons, Izio -- a betrothal they must keep secret since she is Catholic and the Diamants are Jewish.But everything changes when the German army invades Przemsyl. The Diamants are forced into the ghetto, and Stefania is alone in an occupied city, the only one left to care for Helena, her six-year-old sister. And then comes the knock at the door. Izio's brother Max has jumped from the train headed to a death camp. Stefania and Helena make the extraordinary decision to hide Max, and eventually twelve more Jews. Then they must wait, every day, for the next knock at the door, the one that will mean death. When the knock finally comes, it is two Nazi officers, requisitioning Stefania's house for the German army.With two Nazis below, thirteen hidden Jews above, and a little sister by her side, Stefania has one more excruciating choice to make.

The Light in Hidden Places Details

TitleThe Light in Hidden Places
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMar 3rd, 2020
PublisherScholastic Press
ISBN-139781338355932
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Young Adult, War, World War II, Fiction

The Light in Hidden Places Review

  • Katie B
    January 1, 1970
    This is one of the rare times I'm going to recommend a book even though I didn't particularly care for the writing. I've read many World War 2 historical fiction books, and for whatever reason I just found this to be an uneven reading experience. All of the other reviews I have read for this book so far have been positive so take my opinions with a grain of salt. It might just be this wasn't the book for me and that's okay. It happens from time to time.This is a historical fiction book about This is one of the rare times I'm going to recommend a book even though I didn't particularly care for the writing. I've read many World War 2 historical fiction books, and for whatever reason I just found this to be an uneven reading experience. All of the other reviews I have read for this book so far have been positive so take my opinions with a grain of salt. It might just be this wasn't the book for me and that's okay. It happens from time to time.This is a historical fiction book about Polish teenager Stefania Podgorska who hid thirteen Jews in her attic during World War 2. Even though I had a hard time getting into a good flow of reading, I'm still glad I read this book as Stefania's story was fascinating. The Author's Note at the end of the book gave updates for many of the people featured in the book. It was interesting to read how this book came together and for those who might be wondering this is definitely more of a fact based historical fiction book rather than one that is just loosely based on a person or event. It's obvious the author did as much research as possible in order to get Stefania's story out there and I am thankful I had the opportunity to learn about her and her heroic efforts.I won a free advance copy of this book in a IreadYA giveaway. I was under no obligation to post a review and all views expressed are my honest opinions.
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  • ♠ TABI ♠
    January 1, 1970
    the problem with loving books is that, no matter how many I clear off my tbr, I always find at least twice as many to replace the ones I've cleared
  • Leah (Jane Speare)
    January 1, 1970
    In the style of Ruta Septys, Cameron takes on a lesser known angle of history. Stefania Podgorska, a young Polish girl, risked every moment of her daily life to keep alive thirteen Jews during the Nazi occupation. Through Stefis eyes we are given hope in hopeless situations, a difficult thing to accomplish in a novel of WWII. Stefi wasnt fearless, but she used her fear to drive herself and help others, and through those actions, her fear manifested as courage. With concise and affecting writing, In the style of Ruta Septys, Cameron takes on a lesser known angle of history. Stefania Podgorska, a young Polish girl, risked every moment of her daily life to keep alive thirteen Jews during the Nazi occupation. Through Stefi’s eyes we are given hope in hopeless situations, a difficult thing to accomplish in a novel of WWII. Stefi wasn’t fearless, but she used her fear to drive herself and help others, and through those actions, her fear manifested as courage. With concise and affecting writing, Cameron reveals the light and goodness in people, in some of the darkest times of history.
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  • Mandy
    January 1, 1970
    To be honest, before I won this in a Yallfest giveaway, I didn't know anything about it. It was a book that never hit my radar, and it was a book that my eyes immediately glazed over. But this is definitely a light in the hidden TBR pile for me, because it was so good. This story incorporates true life with the fictional. Our heroine, Stefania Podgorska, is a real person that did a lot of the things in this story. We follow Stefania's story from the very first beginnings of WWII to the very end To be honest, before I won this in a Yallfest giveaway, I didn't know anything about it. It was a book that never hit my radar, and it was a book that my eyes immediately glazed over. But this is definitely a light in the hidden TBR pile for me, because it was so good. This story incorporates true life with the fictional. Our heroine, Stefania Podgorska, is a real person that did a lot of the things in this story. We follow Stefania's story from the very first beginnings of WWII to the very end as she deals with the regular horrors of this timeframe but also the stresses and incredible journey she has as she eventually starts hiding at most thirteen Jews in her house. This story is filled with action, tension, historical events, feels and more. Cameron really dived deep into Stefania's life, so it's almost like you're living her life. There is no doubt with this story that you can put Cameron in the same place as Ruta Sepetys and Monica Hesse as a fantastic historical fiction writer. Cameron immerses you in the time period - with the descriptions of the place, the feelings of the time, and staying accurate to the wording/events/things/etc. She creates a mood that is haunting and horrific, and I felt like I was dropped on the streets of Poland. The characters were amazing as well. There are a lot, and a decent amount come and go. There was only one point that I thought, huh, I'm not sure who exactly these people are all, but that was it. Each person had their own distinct personality, and dynamic characteristics that went to them. Yes, these were real people, but Cameron truly made them come alive in the pages of her story.Our true shining stars of these novel were our heroine, Stefania; her sister, Hela; and Max, the brother of Stefania's first love and the boy that started it all. Stefania - both the real life person and our main character - is an incredible person. She faced so much in her life, and you are put into her shoes in this story. You felt everything with her - the hope, the fear, the anger. You go along her emotional, physical, and mental journey, and it truly is a stunning one. I loved her voice, and it's so so so easy to cheer her on. The story is always keeping you on the edge of your seat. I binge read a good deal of it on a Saturday night, because I just had to know what was going to happen. You think things are bad? Trust me, they always get worse and more deadly in this story. Since the material is quite heavy and dark, you won't be necessarily speeding through it, but you'll be wanting to devour it to find out what is going to happen. The beginning was intriguing, but was a touch off. I felt like we were rushing through things, and I guess I would have preferred a touch more context on some of the events that began. I know a good amount of information on WWII, but I felt like I needed a bit more to fully grasp all of the situations that were happening at first. There was a lot of material to cover as we were trying to cover quite a few years in a 400 page novel, so I understand the need to have a quicker pacing. But it did mess with me a bit at first. Towards the middle, too, despite there being a lot of material and the quick pacing, it did feel like it was a 400 page novel. I felt those 100 pages between 200 - 300. Once we got into the groove of the story, there was no other issues that I had with this book, and these really didn't affect my enjoyment of reading this book a lot. Overall, this was an incredible story, and if you're looking for a fantastic historical fiction novel to pick up, this is the one to do it. It's a take that I haven't read before in WWII books I've read before, and it's one filled with amazing hope and horrifying terror. Definitely a must read! rating: Anna because it was so close to perfectionrepresentation: Jewish main characterscontent warnings: death, murder, genocide, discrimination, alcohol, sexual intimidation (nothing graphic - just intense situations where it could happen or the threat of rape is there)read this if you: if you want a story of hope, courage, and incredible strength in one of the darkest periods of history
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  • C.P. Cabaniss
    January 1, 1970
    "I know what fear feels like. Now I know what it looks like." 4.5 stars.I had never heard of Stefania or her sister Helena before I was preparing for Yallfest in 2019 and looking at the giveways listed. Historical fiction, particularly set during World War II, is a favorite genre and when I saw there was a giveaway for this novel I was sure to be at the front of the line. Later, I was able to meet the author and have my book signed, at which time I asked about her research and the kinds of "I know what fear feels like. Now I know what it looks like." 4.5 stars.I had never heard of Stefania or her sister Helena before I was preparing for Yallfest in 2019 and looking at the giveways listed. Historical fiction, particularly set during World War II, is a favorite genre and when I saw there was a giveaway for this novel I was sure to be at the front of the line. Later, I was able to meet the author and have my book signed, at which time I asked about her research and the kinds of things she had done to create this story. She was happy to discuss her process with me and I was thrilled to find out that this was based on a real person, whose journals she was able to use constructing this narrative.During World War II, when the Nazis overtook her city in Poland, Stefania, a teen, along with her younger sister, ended up hiding thirteen Jewish people. They did this knowing that if they were found it meant death. And they did it anyway.This is a beautiful story that shows the strength of these two sisters as they sacrificed both for people they knew and loved as well as strangers, because it was the right thing to do. It wasn't easy and they had doubts, but they did it anyway.These are pieces of history that we need to know. People like Stefania and Helena are people that we should be talking and learning about. They are inspiring and strong and they helped people knowing it was dangerous, knowing they could lose their lives. I hope never to face a situation like these sisters, but if I do, I hope I have the strength to do what they did.This review is based on an advance reader copy received at Yallfest 2019.
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  • Energy
    January 1, 1970
    I won this in a Goodreads giveaway from I Read YA and started it as soon as I could as this is my favorite time period in Historical Fiction. In Poland during the second world war, Stefania, called Fusia, takes a job with a family to get away from home. The family is Jewish, which means little to her as she's Catholic and safe, but she bonds with the mother, who she calls her babcia, her grandmother, and her sons, mainly Izio and Max. As Hitler starts to deport Jews, the boys must go into I won this in a Goodreads giveaway from I Read YA and started it as soon as I could as this is my favorite time period in Historical Fiction. In Poland during the second world war, Stefania, called Fusia, takes a job with a family to get away from home. The family is Jewish, which means little to her as she's Catholic and safe, but she bonds with the mother, who she calls her babcia, her grandmother, and her sons, mainly Izio and Max. As Hitler starts to deport Jews, the boys must go into hiding. After learning of Izio's disappearance, Stefania works harder to help protect Max and his brothers. When she finds her younger sister Helena, she knows she will do everything in her power to protect them all, even if it means death for helping the Jews. Cameron has taken a lesser-known hero of the war and given her a voice. I imagine Fusia's story is very typical of young girls at the time, the naivety that comes with growing up where secrets are kept from the children, and where a lot of people didn't want to believe what was happening right under their noses. As Fusia starts to grow up, she sees the horrors that are happening to the Jews. She learns what happens to single girls that get taken advantage of. As she tells us of the lessons she learns, we watch her knowledge expand, we watch the lengths she goes to get what she needs, to protect those she cares about. Her younger sister Helena was incredibly bright, who caught on quick and picked up a lot of the work at home when Fusia was unable. Fusia really was a beacon of light for the people she kept hidden. Time and again they were so close to being caught, but her quick thinking kept them all safe. The Light in Hidden Places is a story that needed to be told, that is worthy of everyone's time, and a definite must-read for fans of Historical Fiction.
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  • Aislinn Kelly
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed The Light in Hidden Places, which is the true life story of two Polish sisters who hid thirteen jews during the war. It highlights the courage and resilience of ordinary people during this horrific time. I would definitely recommend this book to historical literature fans.Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for this ARC
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  • Pam Page
    January 1, 1970
    This is truly a remarkable story about Stefania Podgorska, a 16 year old Polish Catholic girl, set during the Holocaust in Poland. Stefania uses her wit, bravery, and love to hide thirteen Jews in her attic. The story will be one you cannot forget and I am still amazed at Stefania's ability to survive against so many odds.
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  • Alex Black
    January 1, 1970
    I think ten years ago, I would have really loved this book. It's exactly the kind of thing I would have devoured and adored when I was in the 12-15 age range, which I think is what this book is geared toward. I went in expecting a little older YA since the main character is 17, but that was my mistake and not an issue with the book at all. It was just a little young for my tastes which did impact my overall enjoyment. If you regularly read the younger YA range, I'd wholeheartedly recommend this. I think ten years ago, I would have really loved this book. It's exactly the kind of thing I would have devoured and adored when I was in the 12-15 age range, which I think is what this book is geared toward. I went in expecting a little older YA since the main character is 17, but that was my mistake and not an issue with the book at all. It was just a little young for my tastes which did impact my overall enjoyment. If you regularly read the younger YA range, I'd wholeheartedly recommend this.Honestly my biggest complaint is with the synopsis. I have an ARC of this book so I did double check that the synopsis on the final copy is the same (it is). I found the synopsis kind of misleading.I expect synopses to cover the general premise of the book and be a starting off point for the story, so the meat of the book starts where the synopsis ends. But this one is literally just a summary of the book. The entire book. The only thing left out is the last 40 pages and the epilogue. The two Nazis mentioned in the synopsis don't show up until after the 300 page mark (in my 377 page edition). It probably would have been a more enjoyable experience if I'd stopped after the first paragraph of the synopsis and got to see the rest of the story unfold in the book itself. I also found it a little too fast paced. In the author's note, Cameron makes a joke about how she had to cut things out or it would have been a thousand page manuscript, and I kind of felt that while reading the book. It feels like there's too much crammed in for the length of this story. It's definitely enough to give you a full picture of Stefania's life and experiences during the war, but it feels like skim reading her life. I just wanted a little more.I did quite enjoy this, though. A little bit more time and I'd have gotten through this book in a day because I was always excited to pick it up and always wanting more of Stefania's story. It was such a solid book and so gripping. I love when something grabs me immediately from the beginning and doesn't let go until the end.I think my favorite part was the epilogue. Stefania Podgorska was a real person and this is her real story. Cameron stuck very closely to the real events of her life during the war, and you can tell. I think sometimes that did work to the book's detriment since real life doesn't always unfold in a fiction friendly way, but for the most part I really loved it. Her discussion at the end of the real Stefania and what happened to the Jewish people she hid after the war had me tearing up. This only barely missed hitting 4 stars for me. I'll be passing on my copy because I do think that some people will really adore it and it's a really worthwhile read if it sounds interesting to you and if you're someone who likes younger YA literature. I really liked it, but this is a book I would have loved at 13.
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  • Cassi
    January 1, 1970
    If you are a fan of historical fiction, particularly those set during World War II, I would definitely recommend The Light in Hidden Places. Based on a true story of a brave woman who hid thirteen Jews in her attic during Nazi occupied Poland during World War II, it is a book is equal parts heartbreaking and inspiring. It is easy to root for Stefania. She is putting herself at risk to help those who otherwise have no one else. I like how she even when she thinks things have gone horribly wrong, If you are a fan of historical fiction, particularly those set during World War II, I would definitely recommend The Light in Hidden Places. Based on a true story of a brave woman who hid thirteen Jews in her attic during Nazi occupied Poland during World War II, it is a book is equal parts heartbreaking and inspiring. It is easy to root for Stefania. She is putting herself at risk to help those who otherwise have no one else. I like how she even when she thinks things have gone horribly wrong, she never doubts her purpose and what she is doing. She knows the risks and she takes them. She’s reckless and incredibly courageous. The fact that she is a real person makes it all the more inspiring.Like most books of this setting, the stakes in this book are incredibly high and there were so many tense moments throughout the narrative that had me on the edge of my seat. It’s not the kind of book that you would read through quickly, but is a story that you want to keep reading.I was excited to read this book, and I love the author and this sounded fantastic. And The Light in Hidden Places did not disappoint.
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  • Deb
    January 1, 1970
    I read a lot of WWII historical fiction and this book is a great YA read. I think the story of Stefania and Max will stay with me for a while and I highly recommend this book.I think the following passage (in Stefanias words) is as relevant today, as it was in 1942:Prezemysl had given me an education since that cart ride when I was twelve. It had taught me that people like to divvy up one another with names. Jew. Catholic. German. Pole. But these were the wrong names. Kindness. Cruelty. Love and I read a lot of WWII historical fiction and this book is a great YA read. I think the story of Stefania and Max will stay with me for a while and I highly recommend this book.I think the following passage (in Stefania’s words) is as relevant today, as it was in 1942:“Prezemysl had given me an education since that cart ride when I was twelve. It had taught me that people like to divvy up one another with names. Jew. Catholic. German. Pole. But these were the wrong names. Kindness. Cruelty. Love and hate. These were the borders that mattered.”
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  • Cheryl
    January 1, 1970
    Until, this book, I had only read one other book from this author. I could not stop reading Stefania, Helena, Max, and the others's stories as they survived the Germans. It is people like Stefania that are wiling to risk their lives for others that we should really appreciate freedom. I highly recommend this book. It is one not to be missed. In fact, I would put this book in the same reading vein as The Hiding Place, The Diary of Anne Frank, and The Book Thief. This book will last the test of Until, this book, I had only read one other book from this author. I could not stop reading Stefania, Helena, Max, and the others's stories as they survived the Germans. It is people like Stefania that are wiling to risk their lives for others that we should really appreciate freedom. I highly recommend this book. It is one not to be missed. In fact, I would put this book in the same reading vein as The Hiding Place, The Diary of Anne Frank, and The Book Thief. This book will last the test of times and be one that will have people talking about it for years and years to come.
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  • Kathy
    January 1, 1970
    This was an extraordinary story of a young catholic girl and her sister and how they hide and provide for a number of Jewish Polish citizens during the war. It is based on a true story making it even more tragic and heartfelt. The story is incredibly told by Stephania and is her story of survival as well as those that she helps. Very well down and certainly will stay with me. I would highly recommend it as it combines tragedy with heroism and hope.
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  • Katie
    January 1, 1970
    Absolutely fantastic and unforgettable! Im so privileged to have read Stefanias story and to be able to include this in my online Holocaust literature course for teachers is a true honor! Absolutely fantastic and unforgettable! I’m so privileged to have read Stefania’s story and to be able to include this in my online Holocaust literature course for teachers is a true honor!
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  • Carina Olsen
    January 1, 1970
    This was such a powerful and heartbreaking story. I loved every moment of it. I knew I would love this book. As I have read and loved books by this author before and as it sounded fully perfect to me. Of course, fully evil and heartbreaking. But I knew it would be that. And I also knew I would love this story the most. So I did.There is so much to share about this book. I know I will forget to share a lot of it. But I will share how much I loved this story. How much I adored the characters. How This was such a powerful and heartbreaking story. I loved every moment of it. I knew I would love this book. As I have read and loved books by this author before and as it sounded fully perfect to me. Of course, fully evil and heartbreaking. But I knew it would be that. And I also knew I would love this story the most. So I did.There is so much to share about this book. I know I will forget to share a lot of it. But I will share how much I loved this story. How much I adored the characters. How much I hated what happened to so many during this war. How much it broke my heart but how this story healed it a bit too. Five stars for this most precious one.This book is set in Poland during World War II. It tells the story of young Stefania. A Catholic girl who has spent the past few years working for this very lovely Jewish family at their store. She have worked her way into their hearts, and them into her heart. We get to know a little about them all and I simply adored the Diamants. I loved how Fusia felt right at home with all of them. But then the bombs arrive. The war has come to town. The Germans arrives. And everything goes wrong. It takes some time for Fusia to believe all the horrible stuff that is happening to Jews in her town. She does not truly get it until it happens to her found family. This whole story was so heartbreaking. Beyond sad and real and it hurt my heart most of the time. But interesting and exciting too.We get to know Fusia a whole lot. A little bit about her family, whom she left behind to go work in a bigger city for the Diamant family store. Her life is good. She is secretly engaged to one of the young men in the family, Izio. Getting to know this family was the best. But also the worst, as I knew what was coming when the war arrived. Izio and his brothers left town for a while. But came back again, as there was nowhere to go. At first nothing happened for a while, after the bombs. But then the Diamant family is forced to move.They were forced to leave their apartment and their store, forced to leave all their belongings, and go live in a fenced in ghetto with all the others Jews in their town. It was so horrible to read about. This book is from Fusia's point of view. She is safe from the army, the enemy. But not really. Because she is not okay with leaving her family to starve and maybe die in an awful place. She tries to help them as best as she can. She sneaks them food. But it is not enough. And it is not safe for her to do this any of this, not at all.And then she also ends up having to care for her little sister, Helena, whom is only six. She doesn't know what to do in a lot of this book. But she does something even so. She helps anyway that she can. She try to help Izio escape from a different work camp he got sent to. But this goes wrong and he ends up dead. Which was so sad to read about, as she did love him. But she slowly gets past that. Because there is so much she needs to focus on. How to not starve and freeze. How to get a job, how to keep her sister safe.It is about her relationship to her Jewish found family. About what happens to all of them. And how Izio's brother, Max, need her help. How he does not want to die too. And so he begs her to hide him. To let him live with her and her sister. And to have her hide more than him as well. Fusia spends a little time thinking about it. But she cannot refuse. She has to help. And I loved her for that. Helping meant death if anyone knew. The German army hurt the Jews in this story so badly. And Fusia did everything she could to help.Which is what this book is about. It is about Fusia trying to help Max and others. It ends up with her hiding thirteen Jews in a very small attic. It was beyond dangerous. And it was beyond thrilling to read about too. They were all so brave and had to go through so much. I loved getting to know Max. I loved how he and Fusia started to get closer over time. It was adorable. But this book was mostly about survival. Trying to survive the very worst war, being afraid at all times. It was an epic story about one girl and her big heart.This book is filled with awful things. Fusia witness a lot of bad things happening. There are a lot of death. And it was all so beyond real. Because this war truly happened. This book is even based on a true story. Stefania was a real person. And what she did was real. Which made reading this book even more painful, knowing it had all happened to someone. I have not read about the real Fusia, not yet, but I will. This war was the worst thing to ever happen to humans. And I hope beyond everything that it won't happen again.There was so much I loved about this book. I loved how strong and brave and loving Fusia was. I adored her relationship with her little sister. And I loved how brave she was too. I so completely loved Max. Then there was the setting of this story. It was beyond heartbreaking. But so very good too. The Light in Hidden Places is such an important story. It was everything I had hoped it would be and more. Heartbreaking but hopeful too. It is a must read book. And I will say that I loved every part of this book. It was so very good.---This review was first posted on my blog, Carina's Books, here: https://carinabooks.blogspot.com/2020...
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  • Laura KJ
    January 1, 1970
    An incredible feat has been achieved here. The fear and sadness are real. The stakes can be felt, but the overall tone of love and hope still pervade.The world needs more stories like this, to be sure, but even more than that, the world needs more Stefanias.
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  • Judy
    January 1, 1970
    LOVED the story!!! Couldnt put it down! LOVED the story!!! Couldn’t put it down!
  • Raji
    January 1, 1970
    Find this review and more on my blog at Worlds Unlike Our Own .4.5 starsPrzemyśl had given me an education since that train ride when I was twelve. It had taught me that people like to divvy one another up with names. Jew. Catholic. Germans. Poles. But these were the wrong names. They were the wrong dividing lines. Kindness. Cruelty. Love and hate. These were the borders that mattered.Sixteen year old Stefania Podgorskas life changes when bombs fall on the Polish city of Przemyśl and the Find this review and more on my blog at Worlds Unlike Our Own .4.5 stars“Przemyśl had given me an education since that train ride when I was twelve. It had taught me that people like to divvy one another up with names. Jew. Catholic. Germans. Poles. But these were the wrong names. They were the wrong dividing lines. Kindness. Cruelty. Love and hate. These were the borders that mattered.”Sixteen year old Stefania Podgorska’s life changes when bombs fall on the Polish city of Przemyśl and the Germans invade. The kind Jewish family she worked for, the Diamants, are forced into the ghetto, and she and her younger sister Helena are left alone in a German occupied city that grows more dangerous by the day. Then Max Diamant appears at her door one night, having jumped from the train taking him to a death camp and begs her to hide him and his remaining family and friends. Fusia agrees, though she is risking both her life and her sister’s, and sets out to find a larger house and a job to support and feed them all. She soon finds herself hiding thirteen Jews in her attic, when the Nazis show up to requisition her house for the army.I didn’t hear about this book until the week before it released, but it was an instant addition to my reading list. Based on a real life story, this moving read is reminiscent of The Diary of Anne Frank and Ruta Sepetys’ works. Despite the heavy subject matter, I found it impressive that it stayed to a level appropriate for YA. There was also quite a lot of information to cover, seeing as this spans a couple of years, and the pacing does vary, slowing down towards the middle and then becoming faster as the plot grew more tense, but at no point did the story ever seem to drag and it kept me engrossed throughout.The added element that made this story interesting was that it was from Fusia’s perspective, who, not being Jewish, was safe from the Nazis – yet, not safe, since she refused to let the Diamants whom she considered as family die in the ghetto and regularly placed herself at terrible risk to take them food and supplies. This is a book that will keep you on the edge of your seat as things get worse and worse, and it really drives in the immensity of what Fusia and her sister are doing and at what cost. I really admire Fusia for her courage and willingness to do the right thing in very difficult circumstances. And I have to say, it was wonderful to finally read a World War II era story that had a happy ending despite how dark and heavy things get.Don’t skip the author’s note in this one – it highlights the tremendous amount of research and effort that has gone into this novel and also contains some interesting notes about the characters’ life after the war. There is also a movie based on the events of Stefania Podgorska’s life during WWII called Hidden in Silence that is mentioned here. By the time I finished this book, I just needed to know more about her story and looked for the movie at once – and it’s definitely worth watching.Overall, this was an emotional read, that truly brings to life not only the horrors of the time and how it affected the people who lived through it, but also how the circumstances led to the rise of some very unlikely heroes who risked their lives to save others. I would highly recommend this book for all readers, not necessarily just historical fiction fans that gives a voice to one of the lesser known heroes of the war.
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  • Katherine Younkin
    January 1, 1970
    Not only is this a remarkable story, but it is also a true one. During the height of WWII after the invasion of Germany into Poland, a 17-year-old Polish girl named Stephania hid thirteen Jews in her home for months. The story starts immediately before the war in 1941 when Stephania, Fusia to those who knew her best, goes to live with her older sisters in the town of Przemysl, Poland. The rumblings of war, the rise of the Nazi party and Hitler are felt, but no one knows what this means. Fusias Not only is this a remarkable story, but it is also a true one. During the height of WWII after the invasion of Germany into Poland, a 17-year-old Polish girl named Stephania hid thirteen Jews in her home for months. The story starts immediately before the war in 1941 when Stephania, Fusia to those who knew her best, goes to live with her older sisters in the town of Przemysl, Poland. The rumblings of war, the rise of the Nazi party and Hitler are felt, but no one knows what this means. Fusia’s sisters get her a job working in a shop owned by the Diamants, a Jewish family. She becomes friendly with one of the Diamant’s sons, Izio, eventually falling in love with him.When the Germans invade Poland, Jews are rounded up and forced into ghettos protected by high fencing and patrol guards. The Diamants are taken. Eventually, Izio is sent to a labor camp and Fusia makes a daring attempt to find him, traveling alone on a train to give him news of his family and provide support. This is the last time she sees him. She travels back home and finds that her mother and sisters have been sent to another labor camp. Because Fusia’s family is not Jewish, she thinks they are probably safer. Her youngest sister, 8-year-old Helena has been left in the care of a neighbor, who is treating her cruelly.Fusia takes Helena back to Przemysl to live with her. Izio’s older brother, Max, escapes from the ghetto and asks for Fusia’s help. He wants her to hide him and his remaining family members and friends. The Germans are shooting the Jews in the ghetto. His father and mother have been killed. Fusia agrees and finds a job in a factory to support Helena and 13 other people. When her apartment is taken over by the Germans for their use, her hidden houseguests are stored in a bunker in the floor of her bedroom and a portioned off area in the attic. She is forced to share her apartment with German nurses. With the nurses and their boyfriends coming in and out, the houseguests have to stay in their hidden compartments only coming out for brief periods when the nurses are working. Fusia is working 12-hour shifts finding creative ways to feed everyone and keep them healthy. There are constant reminders as she walks to work of what happens to those who hide the Jews. They are executed and their bodies are put on public display.This book is written as a historical novel. Sharon Cameron has done a tremendous amount of research interviewing many of the principal characters involved in the story to bring Fusia’s heroism to light. Few books have had an emotional impact on me that this one has. Those who doubt what one person can do facing insurmountable odds need to read this book. The conditions were dire and outside help almost nonexistent, but this girl persevered. This is a book I recommend to everyone.I received this Advanced Review Copy in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Rayna
    January 1, 1970
    All those men, women, and children I had seen being put on the trains. They were dead. We were still living. But we must have been living in hell.This is one of those heavy, deeply sad books that somehow leaves you filled with hope by the end, even though so many terrible events happened over the course of the book. Stefania's story was full of so many little moments where everything could have gone terribly wrong, yet somehow didn't. There were enough small moments of joy and light to help me All those men, women, and children I had seen being put on the trains. They were dead. We were still living. But we must have been living in hell.This is one of those heavy, deeply sad books that somehow leaves you filled with hope by the end, even though so many terrible events happened over the course of the book. Stefania's story was full of so many little moments where everything could have gone terribly wrong, yet somehow didn't. There were enough small moments of joy and light to help me understand how these people found the will to keep going under such heavy oppression and very real threats against their lives.I was amazed by the ingenuity of Stefi and Helena as they found ways to feed 15 people when it should have been just the two of them, all while two Nazis lived in the same house. Their selflessness and goodness shone through on so many occasions, enduring unimaginable hardships just to survive. Hiding 13 Jewish people in your attic is not easy, but being those 13 people stuck up there, in constant fear of discovery and death, is even more heart-wrenching.While the structure of the events in this story wasn't as heartbreaking and poignant as many WWII novels are, it was all still so good. I wished it would have been a bit faster paced, but I definitely still appreciated every scene and the scope of what these amazing people lived through. And the writing truly was very lovely and poetic, making it easy for me to connect with this story of an incredible young woman doing everything she could to survive a time of true horror.If you have the chance to read the audiobook, do it! Beata Poźniak is from Poland and she knew Stefi - she was truly the perfect choice to read this story.Sharon Cameron's author's note adds so much context and heart to this story. "Based on a true story" turns out to be an understatement, as so many of the events in this story were very, very real. There is also an interview between her and the narrator, Beata Poźniak, that was amazing and revealed how they were both connected to Stefi. I had sort of teared up throughout the story (but felt just a heavy sadness most of all), but it was the author's note that finally broke me. She talks about the loss of histories and futures, and I am so very thankful that this one history was not lost. Stefi's story is such a light from a dark part of history. Cameron wrote, "This story came to be because extraordinary people lived it." I couldn't agree more.Fear comes with the dark when you're lying still, waiting for the knock on the door. And fear is not always reasonable.
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  • Susan McGrath
    January 1, 1970
    I received a copy of The Light in Hidden Places by Sharon Cameron from the publisher (Scholastic Press) in exchange for an honest review. The Light in Hidden Places is scheduled for release March 3, 2020.TThe Light in Hidden Places is based on the true story of a young woman in Poland during World War II. Stefania has been working in the shop of a Jewish family, and fallen for one of their sons. Everything changes when Germany invades. Some of the family is sent off to work camps, others are I received a copy of The Light in Hidden Places by Sharon Cameron from the publisher (Scholastic Press) in exchange for an honest review. The Light in Hidden Places is scheduled for release March 3, 2020.TThe Light in Hidden Places is based on the true story of a young woman in Poland during World War II. Stefania has been working in the shop of a Jewish family, and fallen for one of their sons. Everything changes when Germany invades. Some of the family is sent off to “work camps,” others are tucked into the city’s ghetto. Stefania is trying to support her young sister, while still sneaking food and supplies in to the family members in the ghetto. One by one, they are loaded onto trains and sent away to camps. The alternative is to stay behind and be shot in the ghetto. Eventually, Stefania begins to hide Jews who escaped the trains and ghetto in her attic, tucking 13 of them into safety. This mostly works, until her house is commandeered by Nazi soldiers. Cameron did a great job of dramatizing this true story. Based on the author’s note, she did very little adjustment to the plot of the story. She was able to meet Stefania and many of her family members as she was researching and writing this story, which showed in the details she was able to incorporate.Cameron chose to write this story in first person. This was a good choice, as this novel is intended for a young adult audience, and first person can work well with this audience to pull them into the story. My only issue with the novel was the writing itself. Despite being in first person, there were parts of the story that felt very distant, removed from the emotional experience of the narrator. This might have been a bit of hesitancy on Cameron’s part to assume what Stefania was thinking or feeling in the moment.What pulled me through this story, even in the moments where things felt distant, was the truth of the story. I needed to know how things turned out for Stefania and her hidden Jews. I needed to bear witness to her story.Overall, The Light in Hidden Places is a powerful story of one of the true heroes of World War II. I recommend it to anyone who wants to deepen their understanding of this period in history through an in-depth look at one woman’s experience.
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  • Veronica
    January 1, 1970
    Okay, last October when I learned there was to be a novel published about my hero, Stefania Podgorska, I was ecstatic. I have admired Stefania and her sister Helena since I first heard about them when I was sixteen years old. I was introduced to their story through Hidden in Silence, a Lifetime Original Movie. Ive scoured the internet in search of interviews, articles, and essays about Stefania. In one interview, Stefania stated she had written her memoirs, but no one wanted to publish it Okay, last October when I learned there was to be a novel published about my hero, Stefania Podgorska, I was ecstatic. I have admired Stefania and her sister Helena since I first heard about them when I was sixteen years old. I was introduced to their story through “Hidden in Silence,” a Lifetime Original Movie. I’ve scoured the internet in search of interviews, articles, and essays about Stefania. In one interview, Stefania stated she had written her memoirs, but no one wanted to publish it because there were “too many Holocaust stories out there.” Can you imagine? But I digress…I swore when I was secure in my own writing career, that’d I’d find a way to help Stefania. It never happened, but I’m pleased that Sharon Cameron was able to. As I have said, I’ve followed Stefania’s story since I was a teenager, so when I started “The Light in Hidden Places,” right away I could hear Stefania’s voice from the interviews I’ve watched. Throughout the narrative, you feel as though you are in Poland during WWII. Stefania is a strong, capable, wonderful character (and real life individual). You marvel at her inner strength and faith. You love her sweet, precocious sister Helena, and you fall in love with Izio and Max and the rest of the Diamant family. As the Nazis invade and take over Poland, Stefania continually must choose between her and her sisters’ lives, and the Diamant family, who were Jewish and facing death. Following her conscience, she and her sister Helena successfully hide thirteen Jews in their attic for two years, until Poland’s liberation. I don’t want to spoil too much (if you are familiar with Stefania’s story, you know what happens), but there are a couple of romances woven through the narrative that are bittersweet. Frankly, I didn’t want the novel to end. Cameron says in her notes she drew from Stefania’s own memoir, so if she fleshed out every bit of the story, it’d be like a thousand pages. I would have been happy with that. Obviously, I recommend it. It’s geared towards a young adult audience, it will appeal to adults and those interested in WWII as well.
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  • Cathie
    January 1, 1970
    middle & upper gradesfirst-person POVstandaloneno AR test yet, just publishedhistorical / romanceVery well written! A novelization of about 2 years in Stefania Podgorska's life in Pryzemsl, Poland during WWII (1942-44). Stefania ("Fusia") is 16 when the story begins, working for and staying with a Jewish family (the Diamants) who own a store. Things are going well and Fusia and one of the sons (Izio) fall in love. Then the bombing starts and the Nazis arrive, and the Diamants are taken to a middle & upper gradesfirst-person POVstandaloneno AR test yet, just publishedhistorical / romanceVery well written! A novelization of about 2 years in Stefania Podgorska's life in Pryzemsl, Poland during WWII (1942-44). Stefania ("Fusia") is 16 when the story begins, working for and staying with a Jewish family (the Diamants) who own a store. Things are going well and Fusia and one of the sons (Izio) fall in love. Then the bombing starts and the Nazis arrive, and the Diamants are taken to a newly-created ghetto. When she goes home to visit her family in the country she discovers that her mother and brother have been sent to a work camp in Salzburg and her 6-year-old sister Helena has been left with a neighbor who has been abusing her. Fusia returns to Pryzemsyl with Helena and is now left in part of the Diamant's apartment (the rest has been rented to other citizens) and has to figure out how to support them and the Diamant family, who cannot leave the ghetto. Izio is sent to a concentration camp and killed before Fusia can attempt to help him escape. Max Diamant slips out of the ghetto and comes to his old apartment several times to see her. The trains come and take his parents to the concentration camp. The next time the trains come Max jumps from it and makes it to Fusia's apartment, asking her to hide him. Then he asks her to hide the rest of his family and some others in the ghetto. Fusia is risking her life and Helena's because the Gestapo and SS are shooting everyone in the family (even little children) who hides Jews as well as the Jews. Fusia has to find a larger apartment and a better income than what she can make from selling and reselling. She ends up hiding 13 Jews in her attic, and the last several months two German nurses are living in the requisitioned bedroom below, eating her food and bringing their SS boyfriends over at all hours.Fortunately the war ends at the point where they have pretty literally run out of food and options. During this ordeal Max and Fusia have fallen in love although Max realizes it much sooner than Fusia does.There is an author's note at the end with several pages of photos and information about how the survivors fared, plus what prompted the author to write the story in the first place.A remarkable story of courage, kindness, and endurance. Examples of both the best and worst of human nature.
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  • Megan
    January 1, 1970
    I want everyone to read this book. The Light in Hidden Places is easily on my list of books I would recommend to people looking for a book to read. Its just one of those books. Emotional, harrowing, inspiring, and story filled of courage, bravery, and hope, even in the darkest of times. There were moments where you can ball you eyes out to surprising little moments that make you laugh. Stefania Podgorska was an incredibly brave woman, as well as her little sister, Helena, and I loved reading her I want everyone to read this book. The Light in Hidden Places is easily on my list of books I would recommend to people looking for a book to read. It’s just one of those books. Emotional, harrowing, inspiring, and story filled of courage, bravery, and hope, even in the darkest of times. There were moments where you can ball you eyes out to surprising little moments that make you laugh. Stefania Podgorska was an incredibly brave woman, as well as her little sister, Helena, and I loved reading her story and the story of the 13 Jewish people she saved. It really goes to show you how much the actions of a single person can be so impactful. This is a story of real history, of real people, which makes it all that more powerful. And it serves as such a wake up call to not just be the bystander, because being the bystander means helping the actor. Also, I just really, really loved how Cameron wrote this story. I absolutely fell in love with her writing style. It wasn’t fancy and full of purple prose; it was simple and aching and it made the words that much stronger. I simply felt drawn in by the writing. Personally, I think she did an amazing job portraying this story with her words.One of the last sentences on the last page made me tear up and mumble incoherent words, so that’s how you know it’s good. If you read the book, you know what I’m talking about. Absolutely recommend; this is not a book to miss!
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  • Colleen
    January 1, 1970
    This book was another "Is my heart still there? Am I still here?" book. What made this book amazing was this was based on a true person and real events, because it made the events all that more real. I also thought this put another dimension on the Holocaust, because it was from the perspective of a non-Jewish person and their cooperation in helping the Jewish people. I really admired Fusia for what she did, because the choices she made were not easy and I am not sure if I would make the same This book was another "Is my heart still there? Am I still here?" book. What made this book amazing was this was based on a true person and real events, because it made the events all that more real. I also thought this put another dimension on the Holocaust, because it was from the perspective of a non-Jewish person and their cooperation in helping the Jewish people. I really admired Fusia for what she did, because the choices she made were not easy and I am not sure if I would make the same choices. Some of the choices she made is what living out the Catholic faith means and as a Catholic I thought that was inspiring. The book's material did not make this book easy to read, but I think this story is an important one. Overall, I would not say the violence and depictions of violence were overtly graphic, but the author does not sugarcoat the events. I think there could be a case that this is appropriate for 7th grade, but generally speaking I say this would be appropriate for 8th grade and up. Verdict: An amazing story of courage and faith based on real events that will have you hooked until the very end.
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  • Angela Piper
    January 1, 1970
    The Light in Hidden Places is an amazing story about a woman who just wanted to help her friends and family during a time when asking for help seemed like an impossibly dangerous task. This story gave a very detailed, horrific perspective about the war. I felt like I was right there in Poland with Stefi and could feel the immense amount of stress she felt while caring for and hiding 13 Jewish people in her small apartment. As a future teacher, I would recommend this story over Anne Frank because The Light in Hidden Places is an amazing story about a woman who just wanted to help her friends and family during a time when asking for help seemed like an impossibly dangerous task. This story gave a very detailed, horrific perspective about the war. I felt like I was right there in Poland with Stefi and could feel the immense amount of stress she felt while caring for and hiding 13 Jewish people in her small apartment. As a future teacher, I would recommend this story over Anne Frank because I feel like readers get the better picture of how strenuous the conditions of the war were for everyone, especially those who tried to help. This book could appeal to any reader because Stefi takes on the incredible task of caring for 15 lives (13 Jews, her sister, and her own) at such a young age. I would give a PG 13+ rating for the book though because some scenes are very graphic and may upset some readers. Whenever you feel ready to really understand the damage that was done during Hitler's reign, read this book. It will open your eyes to one of the most tragic parts of our history.
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  • Karlie Schaefer
    January 1, 1970
    "The world is beautiful, but people make it ugly."The Light In Hidden Places is the true story of a brave teen girl who hides thirteen Jews in her apartment when the Germans take over Poland during WWII.  An amazing story of heroism, but also extremely heartbreaking at times. Author Sharon Cameron has written a thoroughly researched account of Fusia's life that has made Fusia's living family members proud. I swore, yet again, that I'd read all of the WWII stories I can stand to stomach, but I am "The world is beautiful, but people make it ugly."The Light In Hidden Places is the true story of a brave teen girl who hides thirteen Jews in her apartment when the Germans take over Poland during WWII.  An amazing story of heroism, but also extremely heartbreaking at times. Author Sharon Cameron has written a thoroughly researched account of Fusia's life that has made Fusia's living family members proud. I swore, yet again, that I'd read all of the WWII stories I can stand to stomach, but I am thrilled I chose to read this one anyway. The characters all leap from the page because the author has spoken to many of them and/or heard their personal account of events.  It's a well flowing narrative of a horrific time in history, but a story that absolutely deserved to be told.Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from Scholastic Press in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Jennifer Hill
    January 1, 1970
    Stefania Podgorska is living in Poland in 1943. She is a young Catholic girl, living and working for a Jewish family, the Diamants. She has been with them for many years and has even secretly accepted their son's proposal. As Germans invade Poland things begin to change and Stefania is left behind as the Diamants are moved into a ghetto. When Stefania decides to go home she finds her mother and brother were taken to a work camp and her little sister, Helena, is left behind. Stefania takes Helena Stefania Podgorska is living in Poland in 1943. She is a young Catholic girl, living and working for a Jewish family, the Diamants. She has been with them for many years and has even secretly accepted their son's proposal. As Germans invade Poland things begin to change and Stefania is left behind as the Diamants are moved into a ghetto. When Stefania decides to go home she finds her mother and brother were taken to a work camp and her little sister, Helena, is left behind. Stefania takes Helena with her back to the city and her fiance, Izio, is killed in a concentration camp. His brother Max approaches Stefania about hiding some Jews and she agrees. This book is based on a true story, but some of it was fictionalized. Cameron did her research though and included some pictures from the family of Stefania, Max, Helena, and others. There is also a movie out based on the same story Hidden in Silence.
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  • Margie
    January 1, 1970
    An absolutely riveting historical fiction, The Light in Hidden Places, tells the story of one young Catholic woman's efforts to hide 13 Jewish people during WWII. The setting in Poland where Stefania leaves her family's farm as a teen, determined to seek new opportunities elsewhere. She finds a job, housing and the enveloping arms of a family who takes her in and accepts her with caring and love. In turn, as the Germans descend upon Poland, she becomes determined to do what she can to save as An absolutely riveting historical fiction, The Light in Hidden Places, tells the story of one young Catholic woman's efforts to hide 13 Jewish people during WWII. The setting in Poland where Stefania leaves her family's farm as a teen, determined to seek new opportunities elsewhere. She finds a job, housing and the enveloping arms of a family who takes her in and accepts her with caring and love. In turn, as the Germans descend upon Poland, she becomes determined to do what she can to save as many of them as she can. She finds her youngest sister at the family farm and brings her back to save her at all costs. Then she begins to take on others, moving from one apartment to a larger one, allowing her to protect more people. This title reads as quickly and captivating as any mystery and there is certainly plenty of suspense as the Germans come ever closer to the secrets. Black and white photos add to the reality of this important and spell-binding telling.
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  • Jill
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed reading this book, it wasn't easy because of the subject matter. It takes place in a small city in Poland during World War ll. It's about a young girl, Stefania, whose living and working for a Jewish family in the town of Przemys'l. The Russians invade the town first but then they are defeated by the Nazis. This is very bad for the Jewish population who are living there, they are sent to a Ghetto to live which is set up in the town, or sent to labor camps or concentration camps I really enjoyed reading this book, it wasn't easy because of the subject matter. It takes place in a small city in Poland during World War ll. It's about a young girl, Stefania, whose living and working for a Jewish family in the town of Przemys'l. The Russians invade the town first but then they are defeated by the Nazis. This is very bad for the Jewish population who are living there, they are sent to a Ghetto to live which is set up in the town, or sent to labor camps or concentration camps to die or just killed out right. Stefania, now called,Fusia, has the respondsibility of her little sister to take care, and she also takes on the dangerous mission of hiding thirteen Jewish people for two years. This is a true story about two sisters, one a sixteen years old and one only six years, who show so much bravery and strenght in the face of pure evil.
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