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on January 8, 1999
Jane Yolen beautifully intertwines the tale of Briar Rose (Sleeping Beauty) with the horrors of the Holocaust. I am not a reader of fantasy, but this currently tops my personal list of best books. This was an incredible, exhausting journey.
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on November 1, 1999
I loved this book. It was mysterious but at the same time you knew what was exactly going on. jane yolen is such a good writer, and probably one of my favorites!!
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on August 24, 2009
The story is interesting in concept but very watered down to what it could have been. The plot is forced, character development is not only incomplete, but I found the characters dull, flat and one-dimensional. This book had great potential but for me I couldn't finish it. There are many more books worth my time than this one.
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on January 12, 2004
I did not really enjoy this book. The story of a girl trying to figure out her past is a great idea. However, the story was very dull and boring. Their were times in the story when Jane would ramble on and on about stuff that was not even imporant to the story plot. If you get easy confused this is not the story for you becasue the chapters go back and forth from past to present tense. Jane Yolen seems like a very talented author but this was a very boring story. I did think that the last four chapaters inculding the ending were very clever and intersting. I would not recommend this book.
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on May 29, 2010
I am still baffled by the amount of rave reviews Briar Rose received. Admittedly, the story is very unique. The idea of comparing the Holocaust to the Sleeping Beauty fairytale may seem a bit far-fetched initially, yet Yolen manages to bring the truth of this parallel to light. Unfortunately, it was executed in a way that really detracted from what was formerly an original idea. Instead we are left with a poorly written, confused, and mediocre young adult novel.

Many of the characters that populate this book are completely unconvincing. Beccah is a shallow protagonist with a boring personality and no flaws to speak of. Magda stuck out to me in particular. She was a nuisance to read with her broken English, and her benign comments seemed to only reinforce the stereotype of the "Stupid Polack." Stan was a useless plot device (Beccah's love interest) and should have been further developed or thrown out entirely, as the romance seemed to have no real purpose at all.

There also seems to be an issue in this book with age. Many of the adults act like children. Beccah is so immature I thought her to be 16 or 17 rather than 23. Her sisters were by far the worst though, with their constant bickering and melodramatics, spewing out comments that only a spiteful 10 year old would say. Every time I read their dialogue I would consider putting down the book permanently. Unfortunately this was required reading for a class, so on I read.

I would have much rather seen a novel based on the story Josef tells. The characters were much more human and the action much more real. But even this part of the novel was lacking It wasn't developed enough to be heart wrenching in the way it had the potential to be. It is not difficult to make stories about the Holocaust sad. However, to make it a truly emotional story, one must pay close attention to the characters and the pacing. Both of these are severely neglected. However, this isn't just an issue with the telling of Josef's story. There seems to be something missing throughout the entire book. It desperately needed to be further elaborated on and tied together more neatly.

Overall Briar Rose was a great idea that fell flat due to poor character development, writing, and (what seemed to me) laziness. The amount of complaints I have about this novel are innumerable. The only thing that really keeps me from calling it one of the most disappointing books I have ever read is the idea that underlies it. There is so much untapped potential here it is frustrating. I wish Yolen had taken better advantage of the opportunity she was given.
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on August 29, 2007
Not a book for children. Some may disagree but it is my opinion. There are too many adult situations for a younger audience. That said, Miss Yolen brings an intriguing story to paper that comes to a complete ending. I like the way she pulls the story together chapter by chapter, never giving any thing away until necessary.
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on August 2, 2005
For the time space of about a year, my best friend and I have been collecting a variety of Fairy Tales. The first we found had us captivated for the better part of a week, and we've been collecting ever since. Once I discovered one of the tales was set during the holocaust, a subject I've reasearched for years, I looked everywhere for a copy. Since I'm in a small town I could only find a copy on-line. After it came in the mail I read the book in less than two days. Many thanks.
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on March 23, 2007
it was an ok book because to me i thought it was kinda boring but kinda good.It was boring because it is tied to the movie sleeping beauty and i personally didnt like the movie. For me i thought the movie was to girly. It was good because it had a lil bit of Mystery and it was well writtin.
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on March 11, 1999
This is one of my all-time favorites!! An absolutely heart-wrenching (at times) but wonderful story!! I found myself crying in parts. A very creative re-telling of the Sleeping Beauty story. I can't wait to read it again! Ignore the negative comments -- majority rules!!
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on February 13, 2000
If you're planning to buy this book, I would say "just buy it." When you get it in the mail, and you begin to read, you will enjoy it! However (my opinion may be the way it is because I am a high school student) but some parts of the book are confusing. I do not recommend this for young audiences nor the frail at heart.
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