Genre: Historical Fiction, Young Adult
First Published: 2002
Where I Got It: My shelf (Goodwill)
(I'm a little upset right now, because for some reason my original copy of this review has "vanished" and so I had to re-type the whole thing. Ugh >_>)
"'I would be an explorer, a scientist, a writer. Did Andras really think that a man named Hitler in Germany would stop me?' In 1944, the Nazi invade Hungary, and Marika's family is forced into hiding. As her world shatters around her, the concerns of Marika's childhood suddenly seem very small and far away. Unspeakable acts of anti-Semitism are everywhere. Now Marika will need to call upon her sharp intelligence and an unexpected core of strength and courage-to keep herself and her family alive."
Marika is set in Budapest, Hungary during WWII. The book focuses around Marika (a young girl) and her family, who all happen to be Jews. The story is told in young Marika's viewpoint. Her parents are fully aware that the war and the Germans will be coming their way soon, so they have Marika and her brother, Andras, learn as much as they can; they even spend a lot of money to forge papers that "prove" their Catholic ancestry.
Before I began reading, many people have told me that this book is a lot like The Diary of Anne Frank and they weren't entirely wrong, but I found that this book was very different. For one Anne and Marika were completely different and their experiences were different. Marika was pretty much clueless the whole time, while Anne had to live in fear the entire time. Both are good stories who shared many similarities and differences.
Marika was a simple and quick read, but it was a pretty good read overall. I hate to say it was cute, because of the cruel times that it was set in. I say its cute because I love how Andrea Cheng used an innocent child's viewpoint and I really felt that Marika herself wrote it. I loved the innocence that Marika had and how her family tried to keep the truth from her for so long, because they didn't want her to grow up in fear.
Like I stated earlier, it was short read and I wished that some points had been expanded upon...especially the last couple of chapters. I felt that those experiences (if it was a real diary) would have been more detailed. However, I'm glad that it was a short, but bittersweet book.
All-in-all, I liked this book and I'll probably read it again in the future. I wished some points would have been expanded, but hey it was short and had a simple plot and I liked it. If you're looking for a small but good book you should check this out and if you're into the 1940s I think you would like this. Out of five stars, I grant this 4 stars.
Favorite Character(s): Andras (Marika's brother), Zsofi (Marika's best friend), and Marika...of course
Not-so Favorite Character(s): Umm....the German SS? I don't know really...there wasn't really any characters that I disliked.
Quote(s) That Stuck With Me: "I would be an explorer, a scientist, a writer. Did Andras really think that a man named Hitler in Germany would stop me?".