Something Upstairs by Avi

Something Upstairs by Avi book review Rachel Poli
Via Goodreads
Title: Something Upstairs
Author: Avi
Genre: Historical Fiction
How I got the book: I borrowed it from my cousin

Summary (from Goodreads):

When 12-year-old Kenny Huldorf moves to Providence, Rhode Island, he soon discovers that his attic bedroom is haunted by the ghost of a teenage slave named Caleb. Before long, Caleb summons Kenny back in time, where Kenny finds himself entangled in Caleb’s murder and deeply troubled by the century-old injustice. Ultimately, it is up to Kenny to solve Caleb’s murder or remain forever trapped in history. Part ghost story, part social commentary, this thought-provoking, hair-raising page turner from master tale spinner, Avi, is a perfect chilling summer read!

My Review:

This book was eerily good. My cousin had to read it for her summer reading for school and when she explained the premise of the book to me, I thought it surely can’t be true because the book states that it’s based on a true story.

I believe in ghosts, but ghosts being able to actually talk to you instead of send signs and miracles as well as going back in time, seem a little far-fetched.

Yet, my interest was piqued and I read the 140-page book in one sitting.

The characters were interesting as Kenny, the protagonist, moves into a new home only to find a ghost haunting his bedroom. The ghost, Caleb, is 16-years-old and was a slave during his life. He was murdered and wants Kenny to help him figure out who murdered him so he can finally rest in peace.

Kenny does research about the past and his house at the library learning a lot about Caleb and the dates that he was alive. True or not, this story is a fun history lesson.

Caleb and Kenny go back in time where Caleb is alive and Kenny, not existing yet, is a ghost. They confront the murderer and… Well, you’ll have to read it for yourself.

When I finished the book I Googled the murderer’s name. Sure enough, these people were real and it’s one of those things that if you decide to believe, then it’s true.

It was a quick, thrilling read and definitely intriguing as you wonder what’s real and what’s not. Avi did a great job interpreting the story and it was hard to put down.

Something Upstairs by Avi gets 5 out of 5 stars.

Favorite Quote:

“Is memory real? Can you kill a memory? Change it?” –Avi, Something Upstairs

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The Munich Girl by Phyllis Edgerly Ring

The Munich Girl by Phyllis Edgerly Ring book review
Via Amazon

Title: The Munich Girl: A Novel of the Legacies That Outlast War
Author: Phyllis Edgerly Ring
Genre: Historical Fiction
How I got it: From the author in exchange for an honest review

Summary (from Amazon):

Anna Dahlberg grew up eating dinner under her father’s war-trophy portrait of Eva Braun. Fifty years after the war, she discovers what he never did—that her mother and Hitler’s mistress were friends. The secret surfaces with a mysterious monogrammed handkerchief, and a man, Hannes Ritter, whose Third Reich family history is entwined with Anna’s. Plunged into the world of the “ordinary” Munich girl who was her mother’s confidante—and a tyrant’s lover—Anna finds her every belief about right and wrong challenged. With Hannes’s help, she retraces the path of two women who met as teenagers, shared a friendship that spanned the years that Eva Braun was Hitler’s mistress, yet never knew that the men they loved had opposing ambitions. Eva’s story reveals that she never joined the Nazi party, had Jewish friends, and was credited at the Nuremberg Trials with saving 35,000 Allied lives. As Anna’s journey leads back through the treacherous years in wartime Germany, it uncovers long-buried secrets and unknown reaches of her heart to reveal the enduring power of love in the legacies that always outlast war.

My Review (may contain spoilers!):

During my read of this novel, there were times that I wasn’t sure if it was fiction or not. The information spread throughout the story seems so realistic that you would think you were reading a memoir from Hitler’s time.

Of course, I don’t know too much about that time period so I’m not entirely sure exactly how much of the information was true and how much was fiction. However, I enjoyed following Anna on her journey as she researched her mother’s past as well as Hitler’s mistress.

I enjoyed the characters enough that I actually cared about what Anna was going to find about her past. Every character was well written and developed well. The only character I had a problem with was Anna’s husband… But I’m sure we’re not really supposed to like him.

I loved the subtle genres in this novel. It’s historical fiction, with a hint of mystery and romance. I love mysteries and it was fun to piece together Anna’s past along with her and Hannes.

Speaking of Anna and Hannes, their romance was perfect. I’m not one for romance, but their love story was subtle enough that we knew they were a match, but it took time. It wasn’t dramatic love-at-first-sight.

The writing style fit the story as well as the timeline for the story. Phyllis Edgerly Ring wrote this story perfectly. And this is coming from someone who doesn’t normally read this genre.

The Munich Girl by Phyllis Edgerly Ring gets 5 out of 5 stars.

Favorite Quote:

“And I think there’s wisdom in those dreams. Your heart knows there’s only one thing worth searching for. And it has absolutely nothing to do with him.” –Phyllis Edgerly Ring, The Munich Girl

About the Author:

Phyllis Edgerly Ring lives in New Hampshire and returns as often as she can to her childhood home in Germany. She has studied plant sciences and ecology, worked as a nurse, been a magazine writer and editor, taught English to kindergartners in China, and frequently serves as workshop facilitator and coach for others’ writing projects. She is also the author of the novel, Snow Fence Road, and inspirational nonfiction, Life at First Sight: Finding the Divine in the Details.

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You can buy The Munich Girl: A Novel of the Legacies That Outlasts War on Amazon.