FIRST THINGS FIRST: I almost died over the comments on my last post. I AM SO GLAD YOU ALL THINK I AM FUNNY AND GOT A GOOD LAUGH OVER THE THING THAT IS ME. I actually didn't think I was that funny but apparently you all think I am, idk. SO YEAH! If you commented I always reply sooo yeah you can check dat out. And if you haven't seen the vlog I ever so conveniently linked it right HERE. You're welcome. 

What you are about to read is a review of my new favorite but also my least favorite book. Confused? Thought so. Read on.

*also warning: there's a lot of gifs in this post ok*

I found this book while aimlessly scrolling through the children's department. I have this problem where I literally can't find any books to read because my family is very strict about what we read/watch. I hope that doesn't sound like I'm annoyed by that? I am actually all for it I'm just annoyed at writers, not my parents *laughing emojis* LIKE WHY YOU HAVE TO PUT ALL THESE CUSS WORDS AND RAUNCHY SCENES THAT REALLY DO NOT BENEFIT THE STORY AT ALL??? Rant over.

SO ANYWAYS. I was walking around and I go to the section where you can find biographies/memoirs/etc.
Not really expecting to find anything. AND THEN! THE GLORIOUS MOMENT! The cover is what attracted me and so I picked it up.

"A memoir about a boy in the Holocaust. RIGHT UP MY ALLEY!" *

Little did I know this book would tear my heart into a million pieces and thrown to the ground only to be trampled time and time again with every chapter I read! *smiles sarcastically*

*backstory: I have always been extremely interested in WWII/Holocaust/anything historical actually. And I love autobiographies/documentaries?? I like real life stuff, I guess. Idek why I like them but I do.

I checked it out, brought it home, put it on my bookshelf. But I really just wasn't DYING to read this. Maybe it was because I had other books to read and this was just one I was like, "Eh, I'll give it a shot." IDK! But I do know that I REALLY underestimated it. So I finished my books and then I finally picked it up and started reading it. And then the magic (and sadness) begun.


I'm not good with describing books to the fullest extent so I found this from Simon and Schuster and used bits and pieces:

Resilience shines throughout Michael Gruenbaum’s “riveting memoir” about his time in the Terezin concentration camp during the Holocaust.

Michael “Misha” Gruenbaum enjoyed a carefree childhood playing games and taking walks through Prague with his beloved father. All of that changed forever when the Nazis invaded Prague. The Gruenbaum family was forced to move into the Jewish Ghetto in Prague. Then, after a devastating loss, Michael, his mother, and sister were deported to the Terezin concentration camp.

At Terezin, Misha roomed with forty other boys who became like brothers to him. Life in Terezin was a bizarre, surreal balance—some days were filled with friendship and soccer matches, while others brought mortal terror as the boys waited to hear the names on each new list of who was being sent “to the East.”

Those trains were going to Auschwitz. When the day came that his family’s name appeared on a transport list, their survival called for a miracle—one that tied Michael’s fate to a carefully sewn teddy bear, and to his mother’s unshakeable determination to keep her children safe.

This is written like a diary. But it's also a memoir. It's completely true and what actually happened. I think I read that Todd Hasak-Lowy (the contributor, but Michael is the main author) said that some of the things he elaborated on himself but he did extensive research and even visited Prague so he could know how to describe his hometown. He questioned Michael's friends that he roomed with in Terezin and pieced everything together and made the stories. But most of it was all Michael.


The age group recommended for this book is ages 10-14. But I honestly think this is all about your maturity level. I mean.. This is the Holocaust we're talking about. This book completely haunted me. Michael went through the war as a child. So everything that goes on is described as a child would describe it. A lot of things he described he was so confused about and he wondered why the adults wouldn't tell him and what even was "the East"?? We all know what is going on because we learned this in school but he didn't. And everything is very detailed. I mean, I'm already pretty educated on this stuff and it was hard for me to fall asleep. And there were many tears. It really all depends on how sensitive you are and how much you can handle. 

This is actually a very new book! It was published August of 2015.

It has 384 pages. But honestly, once you get into this book I promise you won't be able to put it down.

None! I think there was one part where Misha saw his older sister, Marietta, kissing her boyfriend but like, that was literally it.

gUyS. It's WWII. Yes, there's violence. And it's quite detailed. But I am so glad it is detailed. It opened my eyes to what really went on and how the Nazi's really treated Jews. It's so terrible but it gave me a completely new, awful, broken perspective about the Holocaust.


There wasn't any alcohol or drugs but I can't be sure about smoking. I think it may have mentioned that one of the officers was smoking but that's it. I honestly don't remember... But I don't think that's a big deal...?

Definitely a five-star rating. The rating I seen on the website was a four but I really don't understand why..? It was so wonderfully written. It's such a horrible but AMAZZZIINNGGGG book. Yep.

UMMMMMMMM, YESSSS! I literally forced this on my poor mother. And also several friends but none of them listened to mE AND READ THE BOOK. DON'T YOU JUST LOVE THAT??

Same, Mary.

This book left me with no words. I can't even begin to describe it to you. You just have to read it. And die. And cry. And be thankful. And praise Jesus you aren't Michael "Misha" Gruenbaum. It will open your eyes. PLEASE, EVERYONE, I BEG OF YOU! READ.THE.BOOK.

If you made it this far I shall personally send you a certificate. Jk I won't but thanks for sticking around, lol. I'm such a nice person, aren't I?!

-aaliyah xx


  1. Anonymous9/08/2016

    This is a great review! Looks like a great book!
    I had the WW2 thing last year until I read The Boy In Striped Pajamas, and watched the movie. Then I hated all WW2 books ever....even though I've still read some since. I totally understand about the hating the book but loving it so much at the same time! XD
    The Holocaust is so incredibly sad. I'm a very emotion person, so whenever I read a book about WW2, the book pages get wrinkly from being drenched by tears. XD
    If your into WW2 books Number the Stars by Lois Lowry is a good one. And if you want a real tearjerker, read Night by Elie Wiesel. Night is pretty violent, but its a great book and a real eyeopener.
    You have an awesome blog, and I love this post! #totallyfollowing

    1. Thank you so much!!! I am so excited that you decided to follow! <3

      Hahahahahahaa, exactttllyyyyy. You love it but you hate it. I know!!! It's so sad :((
      I will totally check out these books!!

  2. I'm pretty sure I've looked at this book before, but I've never picked it up. I'll have to get my hands on a copy!

    Also, hit me up for some clean books sometime! I got you girl XD


      And thank you again for those suggestions you are my life-saver js

  3. What happened during WWII was incredibly tragic, and something about books that take place during that time period always draws me in, so this book is now on my "to read" list. I also recommend Night by Elie Wiesel but Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein is also a SUPER good book about that time period, although it's historical fiction and little scary, but about friendship and one of my all time favorites! XX

    1. Yes. I totally agree. I will totally check those two out!! Thank you so much for checking out my blog :))

  4. This sounds like the kind of book I would really enjoy (as ironic as it is to enjoy sad and horrific books). I read a lot of books about World War II, and I think sometimes to ones for children/teenagers are the most powerful.. anyway, what was I saying? Yes, I enjoyed this review, and thanks for the recommendation, and I shall be checking that book out! :) What are some of your other favourite WWII reads?

    1. Haha, yes, the irony!! AND YESSS!!!!

      I haven't read a whole lot.. I've read The Diary of Anne Frank several times.. I may think of more later, lol!!

  5. This sounds like an amazing/terrible/sad/lovely book! I'm off to see if my library has it...
    I enjoy your reviews a lot!

    1. Yep. That's pretty much the description XD

      Yay!! You'll have to let me know if you enjoyed it!!
      Thank you so so much :))


your comments truly make my day. ❤️

be kind. be polite. keep comments pleasing to the Lord ⭐️