Inspired by a true story, this easily accessible novel should appeal to teens who, like Patrik, are keen observers of the chaos that surrounds them.
The overall story is excellent, conveying feelings of dread, suspicion, despair, and frustration experienced by citizens in Communist Eastern Europe. The relationships among Patrik and his friends and family are realistic and genuine. This novel will open some eyes about how difficult and unfair life was in the Eastern Bloc.–
—School Library Journal
Marsden palpably depicts the paranoia of the time and the stress Patrik’s family is under; there’s an unremitting tension to the second half of the story as they make plans to flee the country. It’s an entirely believable portrait of a boy whose daily life is divided between normal teenage concerns—like winning the girl of his dreams and improving his photography skills—and worries about his very uncertain future.
Marsden’s carefully researched and engrossing story will be of obvious classroom use but will also appeal to thoughtful independent readers.