By Shelly Sanders
Second Story Press, 2012. 248 pgs. Young Adult
Rachel is a Jewish girl living in Russia in 1903. When her Christian friend Mikhail is killed, there's an uproar in the community, with many of Christians claiming that the Jews were responsible for the murder in order to use the blood in their rituals. Rachel, who actually saw the murder and knows who is guilty, is terrified that if she comes forward, she and her family will all be at risk. As anti-Jewish sentiments ran wild in their city, Rachel forms an unlikely friendship with Sergei, a Christian boy whose father, chief of police, seems content to let violence erupt against the Jews.
Based on actual events, this is a worthy piece of historical fiction as it shows an important piece of history, as well as delivering messages about prejudice, propaganda, and friendship. Sometimes the writing seemed somewhat awkward, such as in a scene where Sergei lectures his father about doing nothing to do stop the pogrom, but overall, it's one that any conscientious reader looking to learn more about history should read.