Reader: GuananĂ­
Age: 15
Title: Once
Author: Morris Gleitzman
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Pub Date: ?
Galley: No
Nominate for Teens’ Top 10: Yes
Recommend: Yes
Convince us to read the book: This is a unique book in the WWII genre: it's short, has a relatively simple yet satisfying plot, and is told from the perspective of a young kid very convincingly.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: The most compelling things in this book are the voice and use of repetition. Felix's character, age, and way of dealing with life through his stories are beautifully and convincingly conveyed. The use of the word "once" at the beginning of each chapter tied the story together in a very neat way and helped contrast Felix at the beginning of the story and at the end, highlighting his growing up in hard times and emotional change. The simplicity of the prose and perspective helped make the horrible things Felix experienced more striking and believable.
Did you finish: Yes
Were you disappointed with the book at all: I didn't really know what to expect from this book, and I was not disappointed at all. This is a very concise and well-told story that I think will draw readers of various ages even though the book is told from such a young main character.
Comments: Kudos to Mr. Gleitzman, for nailing the kid voice so well in such a harsh setting. I especially recommend this book to the WWII genre fans who want something fresh and from a slightly new angle on a well-explored time in history.
Cover: This cover is absolutely stunning. The title is big, simple and intriguing, and the use of shading on the scratched metallic blue is visually appealing while conveying a mysterious harshness that illustrated the book's theme well. The silhouette of the boy balancing on the barbed wire looks awesome and is a nice metaphor for Felix's mental state throughout the book of teetering between his naive innocence and the harsh reality is his forced to overcome. This is one of the best covers I've seen in a long time.
Age Range: 12-17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal

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