This is a good book for teachers or parents trying to tie-in history with a story. It does a good job of showing the attitudes, fears and harsh reality of being a Jew in Russia, Berlin and New York in the early 1900s.
I think the writing is a bit too dry for contemporary teens. The story had lots of potential for suspense and character development but I felt it lacked something. I never fully connected with the story, forgetting it was a book and living the character’s experience. That’s usually how I feel with a great book, like I’m right there in the action. This felt more like something you have to read in school.
There are several places where it needed more editing. For example it describes a picture of a man standing with his grandparents, holding his infant son. On that same page it explains the man died when the baby was one year old and his grandparents died 5 years earlier. That makes no sense, they couldn’t have had a picture with the baby. Problems such as this put the book out of the running for me in terms of awards.