Red Stars

Publisher: Pushkin Children's

Twins Viktor and Nadya are twelve years old when Nazi forces attack the Soviet Union. As the threat of war creeps closer to their home, the children are quickly evacuated with the promise to their mother that they’ll stay together and look after each other – no matter what.

But on their hurried journey out of a city under attack, disaster strikes; the twins become separated in the panic and confusion, and find themselves torn apart, stranded on two separate trains travelling in completely different directions and with no knowledge of where they’re going.

As enemy planes soar overhead and Nazi forces push forward into Russia, the twins swear to find each other again – but their road isn’t easy. Up against ruthless soldiers, desperate hunger, and the brutal Russian winter, Nadya and Viktor must both fight to survive.

Every bit as much a thriller as it is an historical novel, Red Stars is utterly gripping and believable even as it jumps between two viewpoints and locations. Nadya and Viktor and their friends are strong, memorable characters facing the horror of war with innocence, hope, and determination. The book is packed with historical maps, drawings, diagrams and photographs – and each section of the children’s diaries’ is annotated by a fictional officer using the story as evidence.

The care and detail that has gone into the story of Nadya and Viktor, their joint quest to find each other, and what it means to be a hero make this a really immersive and suspenseful book suitable for slightly older children.

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