Grade 7 Up–Place Eva Lott, high school senior from Chicago, behind the Iron Curtain in pre-Solidarity Poland circa 1978 with cute and brooding political activist Tomek and you have a combination of romance and socially conscious historical fiction. Following her mother's death, the teen's English professor father uproots her in order to participate in the underground movement. The border crossing is terrifying, the weather icy, and food and supplies are virtually nonexistent. She plots to sneak away to the airport and desperately longs for the friends and comforts of home. In time, she begins to understand the oppression that the Polish underground is fighting and the hope of freedom that they hold dear. Her father teaches the novice journalists who anticipate the arrival of the forbidden printing press that will enable them to disseminate the truth, if they can get it past a ruthless militia. Eva's trip to Tomek's home to harvest the family's plums before a devastating ice storm and her later dangerous journey to transport the illegal printing press create the expected transformation from spoiled American teen to enlightened supporter of the cause. It takes a few chapters for the pace to become compelling, and the characters emerge somewhat slowly, but readers with an interest in world social and political issues will enjoy this distinctive human portrayal of a troubling time and place mixed with burgeoning young love.–Suzanne Gordon, Richards Middle School, Lawrenceville, GA
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Gr. 8-11. In 1978 high-school-senior Eva Lott leaves her comfortable life in the Chicago suburbs for Communist Poland, where her father is teaching in the underground education movement. Coping with the recent death of her mother from cancer, Eva now has to contend with the boredom and loneliness of living in a foreign country. After a botched attempt to run away and make her way back to Chicago, Eva develops a friendship with Tomek, a young underground leader, and a romance blossoms, giving her a desire to stay. This otherwise standard coming-of-age love story is made more unusual by a strong sense of time and place. Mackall effectively conveys the harsh realities of living under a Communist regime and the sense of hope for a better future among Poles that came with the rise of Lech Walesa and the Solidarity Movement and the election of the first Polish pope. Ed Sullivan
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The book takes place in communist Poland, 8 years after the Gdansk riots of 1970 (which you find out was the year that Tomek's older brother was tragically killed). Read morePublished on August 30, 2011 by Mia N. Searles
Eva Underground by Dandi Daley Mackall takes us back to Communist Poland. Our main character, Eva, and her father travel there from Chicago because Eva's father wants to help the... Read morePublished on July 11, 2011 by The Allure of Books