Review by Elinor
Title: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
Author: John Boyne
Plot: If you start to read this book, you will go on a journey with a nine-year-old boy named Bruno. (Though this isn't a book for nine-year-olds.) And sooner or later you will arrive with Bruno at a fence.
Fences like this exist all over the world. We hope you never have to encounter one.
(Taken from the back cover)
The plot of this story was absolutely fantastic. The frightening truths of World War II were told through the eyes of an innocent and normal boy, who really doesn't understand what he is witnessing. Living near one of Germany's concentration camps, he goes exploring one day and meets another boy just like him - except on the other side of the fence. Bruno doesn't know why the people are separated by a fence, or why they are treated differently, but he makes a friend and decides it best to keep it a secret.
Characters: This story was about 200 pages long, which is shorter than most novels I read, so I'll admit that I was a little skeptical about how easily I would connect to the characters compared to what I'm used to reading. I was very pleasantly surprised, and I felt that the characters were easier to connect to than anything I have read for some time. I loved the way that the author followed the thought processes of a typical nine-year-old boy, and it endeared Bruno to me even more deeply.
Emotion: The entire story is portrayed through the eyes of a young boy, so for most of it, even though you understood what was going on for those on the other side of the fence, it wasn't paid much attention because Bruno didn't know what was truly going on. So about ninety-percent of the book is fairly light-hearted and carefree. But I must give you a fair warning, the last few chapters of this story are some of the most heart-wrenching words I have ever read. I can honestly tell you that I have never sobbed so hard over fictional characters as I did for this book.
My Thoughts: This story was truly a work of art, and something that I will surely read for years to come. There's really nothing more for me to say... it was simply amazing.
I'm really not sure about an age recommendation on this book. Nothing inappropriate for younger children was ever fully described, but even I could hardly handle the ending. Your heart will be broken, no matter your age, so I would simply suggest reading at your own risk ;).