My Long List of Impossible Things

By Michelle Barker,

Book cover of My Long List of Impossible Things

Book description

A brilliant historical YA that asks: how do you choose between survival and doing the right thing?

The arrival of the Soviet army in Germany at the end of World War II sends sixteen-year-old Katja and her family into turmoil. The fighting has stopped, but German society is in collapse,…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked My Long List of Impossible Things as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This is a haunting and uncomfortable book, in the best way; it’s one that you can’t stop thinking about because it raises difficult questions without providing easy answers. Barker writes about the immediate postwar period through the eyes of a German girl who must come to terms with what her country and her own family have done during the war. This book doesn’t gloss over anything; we see firsthand what the Soviet occupation means for the German civilian population, and we must grapple with questions of culpability and justice, of who deserves judgment and who has the right to mete…

From Amanda's list on unusual YA books about WWII.

I love this book first and foremost because Michelle Barker is a brilliant writer and this story gripped me. The setting is similar to Traitors Among Us, taking place in the Soviet Zone in Germany, after WWII, but Katja and her family are German. Unlike other post-WWII novels from a German perspective, Barker doesn’t cast the Germans as victims, but as people caught up in their own bubble of prosperity and ignorance until the bubble bursts and they’re confronted with their own guilt. Authentic and humble. A great book.

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