. Athena's Books: On the first day of Christmas...
Tuesday, December 7, 2010

On the first day of Christmas...

On the first day of Christmas, my true love (Reading) gave to me...Eva Underground by Dandi Daley Mackall

If you follow my blog, you know historical fiction...with romance...holds a special place in my heart. And what better than historical YA fiction set in 1970's Communist Poland? Down with medieval, renaissance, 19th century heroines!
I picked up this back about a year ago...of course the book jacket had everything to do with it! A train, old architecture, and a passion filled goodbye kiss...ahhhhh. Just my kind of reading.

But Eva Underground is not the flimsy YA novel of girl meets boy and boy is a dangerous rebel who rides motorcycles. Well, the boy is a rebel of sorts but the politcal sort and he's beyond boyhood. He lives for a greater cause and Eva slowly falls for the cause as she lives, breathes, eats, and sleeps the cause in the tiny, rebel-crowded apartment she shares with her father and members of the underground movement. Cultural shock doesn't even begin to give her experience justice, and at the end, the one place she never considers home is more home than her old high school life in Chicago.

The politcal atmosphere of change, fear, hunger are taken from straight from the author's own experiences as a college graduate in communist Poland, so besides suspense and romance this novel provides realism and a historical lesson without my boring class lectures (I'm a history teacher right now...)
Plus...absolutely love the cover!

Brief Summary from Booklist

Gr. 8-11. In 1978 high-school-senior Eva Lott leaves her comfortable life in the Chicago suburbs for Communist Poland, where her father is teaching in the underground education movement. Coping with the recent death of her mother from cancer, Eva now has to contend with the boredom and loneliness of living in a foreign country. After a botched attempt to run away and make her way back to Chicago, Eva develops a friendship with Tomek, a young underground leader, and a romance blossoms, giving her a desire to stay. This otherwise standard coming-of-age love story is made more unusual by a strong sense of time and place. Mackall effectively conveys the harsh realities of living under a Communist regime and the sense of hope for a better future among Poles that came with the rise of Lech Walesa and the Solidarity Movement and the election of the first Polish pope.


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