Books of the Week Aug. 10 – 14
Title: “Stalking Jack the Ripper”
Reviewer: Alex Vankoughnett
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Interest Level: Teen/Young Adult
“Stalking Jack the Ripper” is a young adult thriller, romance and mystery story. The two main characters, Audrey-Rose and Thomas Creswell, investigate and solve the case of Jack the Ripper’s identity.
Audrey-Rose Wadsworth is the teenage daughter of a wealthy lord, and she doesn’t fit within the high society of Victorian England. She would rather be assisting her uncle perform autopsies than attend high tea. Her love of blood and the dead is seen as outlandish and unbecoming of a high-born woman.
Audrey-Rose’s sidekick, Thomas Creswell, is highly intelligent, rebellious and high-born.
This eccentric duo set out to find Jack the Ripper using the knowledge they acquired through helping Audrey-Rose’s uncle perform the autopsies.
Throughout the novel, the duo faces many challenges. They learn to appease the expectations of their family and peers while being themselves. This challenge leads to both characters maturing into young adults ready to face the challenges of life.
Without each other and their shared love for knowledge, both teens would have caved to the expectations and pressures of those around them.
Title: “The Children of Willesden Lane”
Author: Mona Golabek and Lee Cohen
Reading Level: 6.2
This is the true story of 14–year–old Jewish girl Lisa Yura, a music prodigy who dreamed of being a concert pianist during World War II.
This story begins in 1938 in Vienna. Lisa’s parents see the tide of destruction and the hatred the Nazis are spreading. As the situation worsens, Jews are barred from having jobs or worshipping and from seeking refuge in other countries. They begin suffering hunger and abuse. The Yuras soon fear what will happen to their three daughters, Rosie, Lisa and Sonia.
They manage to obtain one ticket for Kindertransports, or “children’s trains.” Lisa’s parents make the heartbreaking and courageous decision to send their middle daughter to England because she is “strong” and “has her music to guide her.”
Her mother’s last words to her are to “hold on to in your music … It will be your best friend.”
Their hope is to eventually get the other two out of Vienna, too.
This book is written by Lisa’s daughter, Mona Golabek, who is also a world class concert pianist. Ms. Golabek brings her mother’s story to life. She describes beautifully the determination of Lisa Yura to live up to her parents’ hopes and dreams and not waste the sacrifice they and many others made who worked tirelessly to rescue Jewish children using the Kindertransports.
This book is also available as an audiobook on Camellia Net, our free e-book/audiobook service. It is an extremely well-done audiobook that integrates classical piano music with the story, emphasizing how much Lisa’s music helped her to survive and triumph over the struggles she faced.