By Jodi Picoult
Audience: Adults, Older Teens
Sage Singer befriends an old man who's particularly beloved in her community. Josef Weber is everyone's favorite retired teacher and Little League coach. They strike up a friendship at the bakery where Sage works. One day he asks Sage for a favor: to kill him. Shocked, Sage refuses…and then he confesses his darkest secret - he deserves to die, because he was a Nazi SS guard. Complicating the matter? Sage's grandmother is a Holocaust survivor.
What do you do when evil lives next door? Can someone who's committed a truly heinous act ever atone for it with subsequent good behavior? Should you offer forgiveness to someone if you aren't the party who was wronged? And most of all - if Sage even considers his request - is it murder, or justice?
This is my favorite Jodi Picoult so far. I feel like I say that about all of her books, but I've only read about five so far. I am not a die-hard fan who reads everything she writes no matter what. However, I do think she's very talented and read the titles that I think will appeal to me. Out of the books that I have read, I think this is her most powerful.
The characters in this book were vivid and interesting. I loved how they explored religion without judging or trying to convert each other. That helped offset the terrible Holocaust scenes and showed that people can be understanding. Even if the characters made bad choices, I understood their reasons because they were so well-written. It opened my eyes more as to how Nazis could do what they did. I've always learned that they were basically brain-washed, and that Hitler was a very powerful speaker and times were hard. This book explained why an individual may have chosen that path.
For the record, I still don't like Nazis. I dislike them even more after reading this book.
The Holocaust scenes were gut-wrenching. I can't believe that there are people out there who think that it never happened. The horror of the prisoners' experiences made me unbearably sad. I don't understand how anyone made it out of the concentration camps alive. They were so terrible. It makes the survivors that much more amazing.
I saw the twist at the end coming. I noticed the discrepancy right away. Despite that, I still liked the ending. Also, Leo was SO SWEET. I hope Sage finds happiness and peace after everything that she went through in this book. People can really learn from this story, and I wholeheartedly recommend it.