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Saturday, July 12, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 71.0° F  Overcast
The Paper


By Alice Hoffman

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This novel tells the chilling tale of a young girl growing up in Spain during the Inquisition. 16-year-old Estrella feels like she fits in with her community and her best friend, Catalina. As the story progresses, Jews are being persecuted, and she slowly begins to realize that her family shares many traditions with those being punished. She learns that her family are Jews in hiding, and, even though they pretend to be Christians, they are not safe from the Inquisition. Estrella watches as her friendship and her family are torn apart. Will she be strong enough to carry on?

Alice Hoffman takes a complex subject and covers it in a brief, character-driven novel appropriate for older teens. The novel includes scenes of torture and punishment, but they are never gratuitous, and it treats these events within the context of the story and the time period.

I chose to download this title from Overdrive, an audiobooks service provided free to all South Central Library patrons, and listen to it on my computer. The reader has a slight Spanish accent and a quiet voice that propels the story forward, but keeps in mind the character's age and innocence.

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