Publisher's Note:  

When eleven-year-old Annie first started lying to her social worker, she had been taught by an expert: Gran. "If you’re going to do something, make sure you do it with excellence," Gran would say. That was when Gran was feeling talkative, and not brooding for days in her room — like she did after telling Annie and her little brother, Rew, the one thing they know about their father: that he was killed in a fight with an angry man who was sent away. Annie tells stories, too, as she and Rew laze under the birches and oaks of Zebra Forest — stories about their father the pirate, or pilot, or secret agent. But then something shocking happens to unravel all their stories: a rattling at the back door, an escapee from the prison holding them hostage in their own home, four lives that will never be the same. Driven by suspense and psychological intrigue, Zebra Forest deftly portrays an unfolding standoff of truth against family secrets — and offers an affecting look at two resourceful, imaginative kids as they react and adapt to the hand they’ve been dealt.

Zebra Forest

by Adina Rishe Gewirtz

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Overall Review:  

Zebra Forest was a multi-faceted book with deep and interesting characters.  The story engages the reader with its charm, and addresses several complicated topics.  Its charm is derived mainly from the brother-sister relationship that exists between the protagonist and her sibling, as well as the innocence the two share before the main events of the novel.  The novels many layers come from the levels of awareness and intelligence that exist between the characters, and how these differing perspectives line-up in the plot and how the author uses these different perspectives to explore the novel's family and forgiveness themes.  However, I felt that the overall point of the novel may have gone over my head, as the author's style tended to address themes and actions indirectly.  While this didn't work for me, readers who prefer to slowly think out a novel and pick it apart will definitely enjoy this novel.  Otherwise, Zebra Forest is an enjoyable read for strong readers.

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language:  None


Violence/Gore: One threat is issued; there are 2 brief reports of violence and one extended, but mild retelling of a murder; one scene where a character is hurt.


Sex/Nudity: None

Mature Subject Matter:  

Murder, family trust.

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

Characters are reported to have been at a bar drinking.

Reviewed By Jackson
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