Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Ewa Jozefkowicz - Girl 38: Finding a Friend - Book Review - Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books

One of the books I have read recently is the second book by Ewa Jozefkowicz entitled Girl 38: Finding a friend. It was actually published in March 2019 by Zephyr so I am a little bit behind with this one. Ewa's debut novel The Mystery of the Colour Thief was shortlisted for the Waterstone's Children's Prize 2019. This second book builds on the same characteristics of her debut story, but with a little added extra superpower layered into the storyline. 

The first part of the story follows Kat, a 12-year-old girl, who loves working on her super-heroine in her Comic: Girl 38. Kat is lonely as her parents are busy working long hours and, at school, Gem is no longer her 'best friend'. This part of the plot draws out the narrative with a considerate and heartfelt approach.   

The second part of the story is told through the creation of Kat's inventive super-hero, a comic that she starts to write. It's a place that Kat loses herself in, an imaginary world that pulls into the contemporary thread fantastically. This helps to water down the tension, seriousness, and the dark situations that the characters face in the book. 

The final part of the storyline is also the most compelling. It is the real-life story told by Ania, Kat's lonely next-door neighbour. The story is set at the time of WWII in Poland retelling the encounters by Ania such as her daring leap to freedom, and her search for her lost friend, Mila. Unfortunately, she was taken away by soldiers to a 'walled village' at the outbreak of the war. This part explains the terrifying, darkest times and the emotions that Ania faced through her ordeal. It is told in snippets that all pull the story threads through a rollercoaster of events creating a magical performance. It really softens the heartstrings and makes it a joy to read. 

All the stories relate to unlikely friendships both new and old as well as overcoming fear in the darkest and bleakest of times. However, it also teaches us about courage, bravery, and superhero powers as Kat unravels the mystery of the girl in the painting. This is all done with an imaginative flair by a writer who understands how to keep a reader engrossed. It encompasses the darkness as well as showering the reader with light, love, and warmth told through great storytelling.

This is a fantastic thought-provoking read that will be loved by everybody regardless of age. It shows both human frailties and strengths in a blink of an eye. It is a fantastic adventure from start to finish - a book to savour and reflect upon. 

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