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Jan 28

Teens Review: The Boy in the Stripe Pajamas

Posted on January 28, 2019 at 5:08 PM by Elizabeth Land

Join us for a new series featuring book recommendations by teens, for teens (and adults who are young at heart!). Teens Review will include a local teen's review of a favorite young adult title available from York County Public Library, followed by a list of similar titles recommended by our YCPL staff.

Title: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
Reviewer: Raafat S.
Star Rating: 4 stars

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas book coverThe Boy in the Striped Pajamas is a book based on the Holocaust. We follow an eleven-year-old boy named Bruno who witnesses the event of the Holocaust first hand. He once lived in Berlin, Germany, but had to move to southern Poland due to his father’s work. When he arrives in southern Poland, he is struck with sadness and anger at the fact that he had to leave his childhood friends behind. This all changes when he befriends a young Jew by the name of Shmuel. Throughout the novel they must interact in secret due to the fact that his father was not quite fond of Jews. Later on in the story, Bruno receives news that he is going to be moving. Bruno and Shmuel are both very upset with this so they decide that the last time they meet they should play a game, but they cannot do that because if they get caught they will both be in big trouble. Then Bruno gets the idea that if he dresses up as Shmuel then they could play without getting caught, but this backfires.

The book is a historical fiction written in the third-person point of view. The book is written fairly well, with little to no plot holes. Throughout the story you really get a sense of how much research the author put into writing the book, however this slightly dulls the story due to the fact that at some points it causes you to feel as if you’re reading a history textbook. The use of words and the setting dulls the book, but the characters make up for that. While reading the novel you go through an array of emotions, such as fear, sadness, and doubt. I would give the book a four out of five stars. It’s one of the better if not the best books written by John Boyne, mainly because of the plot, but not something to stay up till dawn reading.

I recommend this book to mature teenagers and adults who want a sad and dark novel to read.

YCPL Readalikes

  • Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys: As World War II draws to a close, refugees try to escape the war's final dangers, only to find themselves aboard a ship with a target on its hull.
  • Code Name Verity by Elizabeth E. Wein: In 1943, a British fighter plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France and the survivor tells a tale of friendship, war, espionage, and great courage as she relates what she must to survive while keeping secret all that she can.
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: Trying to make sense of the horrors of World War II, Death relates the story of Liesel—a young German girl whose book-stealing and story-telling talents help sustain her family and the Jewish man they are hiding, as well as their neighbors.