VOYA Review of Ashes

Gabrielle Schramm is an inquisitive fourteen year-old girl living in 1933 Germany when Hitler comes to power. Gaby’s father is chairman of the Department of Photoastronomy at the University of Berlin, and her mother is a pianist. Her family has a comfortable life in Berlin that includes a nice home, a housekeeper, and well-known German friends, including Albert Einstein. The terror and violence that Hitler brings to Germany is not only targeted at the Jews and Communists but also intellectuals, artists, and writers. Gaby and her family begin to feel the effects of the Nazi regime, and life as Gaby knows it ceases to exist. The historical information is well written and important to the plot. The novel excerpts at the beginning of each chapter are a wonderful addition to the richness of the story line. It is an important read for studying the Holocaust because it gives perspective to how Hitler rose to power and the immediate aftereffects. Although the main character is a girl, the book is definitely not a girls-only story. The addition of Albert Einstein, interesting astronomy tidbits, the Hitler Youth, and peer pressure make it a good read for all middle school students.

—Lona Trulove.

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