Stones In Water by Donna Jo Napoli

August 23, 2010
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The story follows Roberto and his his friend, Samuele who are forced into German labor camp after sneaking off to a theater in Venice, Italy.

When arriving at the theater Roberto and his friends settled into their seats for a Western movie. However, they are interrupted by Nazi soldiers who take them as workers to build up their prisons for Jews. Their lives take a rapid turn when they are forced to get on a train to a mysterious place. Here, Roberto is separated from his brother and friend; nevertheless Samuele manages not leave his side.

The reason why Stones In Water stands out it is because it's not entirely about a Jewish person. The main character, Roberto is a Catholic boy who has Jewish friend, Samuele. One would think the story would follow the tragic life of Samuele instead readers will find although Roberto is not a Jew his life will never be the same.

Stones In Water isn't a standard Holocaust story featuring concentration camps set in German. Rather than using a similar Anne Frank story, Donna Jo gives us World World Two history from the Italian side.

While Roberto and Samuele are forced to build guns and pens for Jews at a German war camp. Samuele must hide his nationality. The friendship between Samuele and Roberto is remarkably strong; Samuele often takes a bullet in the chin for Roberto, on many occasions, and Roberto holds the most dangerous secret. Samuele is a Jew, changing his name to Enzo to hide his nationality. While reading this story, a reader would wonder how did Samuele feel? Knowing that he was building a prison for his people. It is indeed intriguing. Each chapter draws your closer and closer to Roberto's world. You find yourself sitting in a freezing barn with him, as Samuele gets beaten in the ribs by a gang of boys, fighting for his friend's boot. Samuele and Roberto's friendship come to an end, when Samuele dies, following the brutal attack during a harsh winter. Donna Jo digs deep into Roberto's feelings and readers will notice a confused and torn boy who is forced to live on his on, at the tender age of thirteen. Although the story is based on World World Two, the strangled emotions and lost that Roberto has to face and how he handles it, only paints a picture of a regular boy desperately wanting the comfort of his home. The story isn't just about being a Jew, it's is about standing up for what's right. Later on in the story Roberto joins the partigiani resistance group because he wants to fight for what's right.

In the squeal Fire in the Hills, Roberto now sixteen is continuing his work with the partigiani group. Many of his friends die during the journey, even his love, nevertheless Roberto remains strong, although still yearning for his home he fights for his friend's people. Stones in Water is gripping and real, a novel prefect for young adults readers who want a different look at the Holocaust.

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radler said...
Jan. 26, 2015 at 4:26 pm
the author should have definitely included what happened to robertos family! other than that, great book- totally recommend it! :)
Ashley said...
Sept. 18, 2010 at 9:48 pm
It was a good story however I think the author, should have said what happened to the brother and the other friend in the end. Very gripping...
tagmeh replied...
Dec. 2, 2014 at 8:10 pm
i agree cause i thought they was going to say something about the brother too but out of the whole story it was a good and gripping but i really thought that samuel A.K.A enzo and roberto was going to live but it was a really good story so i recommend this book to everyone and im only in the 6 grade
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