Her experiences at a summer camp in the California mountains in 1945 give twelve-year-old Annie Platt new insight into her overprotective family of German-Jewish immigrants. Sequel to Silver Days..
"Gr. 6-10. Set during the last months of World War II, this fine sequel to Silver Days (1989) focuses on 13-year-old Annie's break from her overprotective Jewish immigrant parents. Reluctantly, they allow her to spend the summer in an idyllic Quaker camp in the mountains near her Los Angeles home. The rite-of-passage stuff is overstated at times, but Levitin is never simplistic about what it means to break away. Annie makes friends (and enemies) at camp and discovers surprising strength (and wickedness) in herself and her family. She does some ugly things, and she's sorry, but she can't always go back and put things right. People change in this book, and yet some things stay the same. At the beginning and at the end, Annie hates it when her parents "jabber" in German. Her relationships with her older sisters, Ruth and Lisa, are also drawn with candor, and there's a painful scene when Ruth's soldier fiance returns from Europe transformed: he breaks with her and with Judaism. Annie's critical of her parents, especially when they are racist toward a black friend she meets at camp, but she also sees their bitter daily struggle as refugees; and when she runs away and returns, she learns that loving families can forgive each other, again and again. Annie's growing sense of herself is compelling precisely because she knows her meanness as well as her courage. ~--Hazel Rochman"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review:
"Levitin concludes her series about the Platt family, German Jewish refugees, with this solidly crafted novel, as inviting as its predecessors, Journey to America and Silver Days . Here Annie, the youngest child, tells the story (middle sister Lisa narrated the earlier books), and it's a measure of Levitin's uncommonly asssured voice that she inhabits Annie's character as densely and as authentically as Lisa's. As the novel opens, the Allies have just achieved victory in Europe; in California, however, Annie is just beginning adolescent skirmishes with the strict, Old World ways of her parents. She gets invited to a summer camp that, although run by Quakers, is interdenominational; there she makes friends (and an enemy), learns to ride a horse, develops a crush on a counselor and gets a painful lesson in loving one's neighbor. The plot becomes somewhat diffuse after Annie returns home and battles with her parents, but Levitin's strong, unusually likable characters and her book's pervasive atmosphere easily fuel the narrative. A graceful farewell to a memorable fictional family. Ages 10-up. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved