Boyne, John. The boy in the striped pajamas.
From the KLIATT starred review of the book, September 2006: "This is the story of a sheltered, privileged nine-year-old boy gradually becoming aware of an overwhelming evil. It begins somewhat like a fairy tale, a dark one, with an otherworldly feel, a dystopia. Bruno comes home one day to find his large, beautiful home in an uproar. The mansion is to be abandoned for life in the hinterlands. Once relocated, Bruno is forbidden to explore, but does so anyway, as boys will, to his cost. Discussions of the evil inherent in the story are far from graphic and readers would need a surrounding context to understand what Bruno never fully does. The novel is quite moving and is a good introduction to Nazi Germany for any young reader, told from a different point of view from that usually chosen."
Maloney brings a quality of voice that is topnotch and creates an atmosphere rich and dark with both emotion and disbelief. Fully voiced in such a way that the characters displaying evil evoke near-physical re. actions, Maloney counter-balances this evil with appropriate tones for Bruno's innocence, confusion, and frustration that will make listeners fear for Bruno. The pacing of the telling is perfect and the use of powerfully haunting music at the close of select chapters adds to the mood and offers listeners time to reflect on what they experience. While Bruno may be naive and no explicit details are given, it is clear to listeners what is happening, so this audio is not easy to get through without pausing, at least for this reviewer. Listeners are urged to give themselves time for the bonus interview with author John Boyne as he responds to both critics and fans and offers insight into the structure and creation of a story that is sure to stick with listeners long after the final stop button is pressed. Emotionally draining and remarkable; book and audio discussion potential abounds.
J--Recommended for junior high school students. The contents are of particular interest to young adolescents and their teachers.
*--The asterisk highlights exceptional books.
Stephanie Squicciarini, Teen Svcs. Libn., Fairport PL, Fairport, NY