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Eva Underground Hardcover – March 1, 2006

4.0 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

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
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

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
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 710L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books; 1 edition (March 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152054626
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152054625
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,914,428 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Eva's dad forces her to move to poland to help with the underground freedom movement against communism. The government is watching their every move, there is no hot water, there isn't even meat! All she wants is to go home.

She plans the perfect escape. While her father is at a political funeral (great place for speaking against communism in public) she is going to sneak away to an airport. Too bad there isn't one in the city and even the closest ones don't even have flights to America!

Soon Poland grows on her. She's made friends, found a dog and maybe even a new boyfriend. But happiness doesn't last forever. When the freedom movement is broken up she has a choice to make. She can stay in Poland and help put the movement back together, or she can go back home to Chicago.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a magnificent example of how a writer can write on a topic seldom covered and bring the reader right to a time and place he or she has never thought about before. Mackall does an awesome job of showing what life was like behind the "Iron Curtain." This book has it all--intrigue, romance, relationships, suspense, and characters that stay with you after you're done reading.
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Format: Hardcover
It's 1978 and Eva Lott is just your average American teenager getting ready to start her senior year of high school. That is, until her dad drags her kicking and screaming to Communist Poland. He wants to help the local people with a radical underground literacy movement and Eva soon becomes a part of that world. She learns that the average Pole does not have basic freedoms and that their daily lives are downright dangerous at times. Forget about good old American pepperoni pizza, rock-n-roll and freedom of speech. The government is always watching and listening, ready to suppress and control. Most people are poor, with little coal to heat their homes and even less to eat. (To paint a picture for you, bread with lard is something of a delicacy!)

If you were in Eva's shoes, wouldn't you want to hop on the next flight out of the country and get back to the good old USA? That was Eva's plan. Until she met Tomek. Ah...Tomek! The handsome, moody and so intelligent boy who draws her into his world and captures her heart. Through their unusual friendship, Tomek opens Eva's eyes to the sheer beauty of the Polish country and the brave struggles of those fighting for freedom and independence within.

I absolutely fell in love with this book. I think the romantic cover captured my heart from the start! I really enjoyed Eva's progression from your typical self involved American teen to the soulful, passionate person she became during her time in Poland. My favorite aspect of the novel, however, was the manner in which Eva's and Tomek's relationship unfolded. The believable, interesting situations were all beautifully woven through Dandi Daley Mackall's skillful narrative. Alternating the chapters between Eva and Tomek's point of view was a smart move.
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Format: Hardcover
I first read EVA UNDERGROUND back in January of 2007. It had been out about a year at that point and so it's certainly not an older book, but it is very underrepresented in my opinion. I can no longer remember exactly where I heard about it and I'm pretty sure I picked it up based on the strength of the cover alone. Take a look at that baby. Just gorgeous. And an actual scene from the book--one of my very favorite things. The fact that it was YA historical fiction set during the late 1970s in Communist-occupied Poland certainly intrigued me. You don't get many of those, you know? I had never heard of Dandi Daley Mackall before, but my library happily had a copy on the shelves so I went and checked it out immediately. And I'm still surprised at how little I see this book mentioned around the blogosphere because it's really rather lovely and a thoughtful, well-researched coming-of-age tale as opposed to an flimsy excuse to hook the main character up with a Polish hottie and gallivant across the countryside amorously. Not that I wouldn't read that book! Don't get me wrong. But, in the end, I infinitely prefer a realistic and resonant tale such as this one.

The year is 1978. Eva Lott is feeling pretty good about life in general. Her senior year is shaping up to be pretty close to perfect and she's just made the varsity swim team. Then her English professor father has to go and ruin it all by announcing that the two of them are moving. To Poland. Effective immediately. It turns out he's decided to join the underground movement and Eva has no choice but to tag along. She spends the first portion of the story coming up with increasingly far-fetched ways she can sneak back to the States or convince her father she has no business being in Poland at all.
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