BookBrowse Reviews They Went Left by Monica Hesse

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They Went Left

by Monica Hesse

They Went Left by Monica Hesse X
They Went Left by Monica Hesse
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  • First Published:
    Apr 2020, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2021, 384 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Debbie Morrison
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In this breathtaking YA novel, a young Jewish woman desperately searches for her brother in the aftermath of World War II.

As World War II comes to an end, Zofia Lederman, an 18-year-old Polish Jew, tries to rebuild her life after being liberated from a Nazi concentration camp. It is August of 1945 in Monica Hesse's historical Young Adult novel, They Went Left, and Zofia is determined to find her younger brother, Abek. He is the only other living member of the Lederman family, and from the outset of the novel readers can sense the difficulty of Zofia's task, as she is a self-described "nothing-girl." The concept of nothingness emerges as a deep wound and a pervasive trauma that weaves itself through every aspect of the characters' lives.

To find her brother, Zofia must contend with the litany of "nothing" that appears in the first third of the novel. When describing herself and the other "nothing-girls," many of whom remain in the hospital months after their liberation, Zofia says, "We have no addresses ...

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