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Lost in America Hardcover – March 10, 2005

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
Book 2 of 2 in the Nicole Nieman Series

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5 Up–This sequel to A Pocket Full of Seeds (Penguin, 1994) begins with the last night the 13-year-old French protagonist sees her family alive. Coming home after a sleepover, Nicole Nieman finds her apartment ransacked and discovers that the Gestapo has seized her parents and little sister. Terrified and alone, she is forced to seek out an estranged aunt who agrees to keep her. After the occupation ends in 1944, Nicole is uncomfortable living with her aunt and chooses to board at school, where she is reunited with Rosette, another Jewish girl. Though Rosette's father tells horror stories of the camps, Nicole remains optimistic. Nevertheless, she gets the tragic news that her family did not survive Auschwitz. Devastated, she decides to move to America and live with cousins in the Bronx. Her relatives never make her feel welcome, and Nicole, who is now 17, must get a job and make a future for herself. Most of the book deals with Nicole's adjustment to life in the United States, and the first-person narrative does a good job of expressing her feelings of alienation, her loneliness, and her unwavering determination to remain true to herself and to the memory of her beloved family. Like Livia Bitton-Jackson's memoir, Hello, America (S & S, 2005), this is a moving coming-of-age story of a courageous girl.–Barbara Auerbach, New York City Public Schools
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 5-8. Whether dealing with the harrowing story of a Holocaust survivor or with the daily details of trying to be a real American girl, Sachs' story, based on the real-life experience of a Jewish teenager, unfolds quietly. In 1943 Nicole, 14, is at a friend's when the Gestapo arrests her family in her small French town. After the war she waits for their return, until, in an absolutely unforgettable scene, a weeping survivor tells Nicole that her parents and baby sister died in Auschwitz. At 17, Nicole emigrates to join relatives in the Bronx--not that they really want her--and she struggles to find work, friends, and a home of her own. The history is authentic; in fact, there may be too much about how Nicole shops, talks, and dates. It's the big picture that leaves the deepest impression, revealing that many Americans felt untouched by the war and didn't want to know about it. Without rhetoric, this novel ensures that readers learn the real history. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 11 - 14 years
  • Grade Level: 6 - 9
  • Lexile Measure: 720L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press; First Edition edition (April 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596430400
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596430402
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,617,691 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed reading LOST IN AMERICA by Marilyn Sachs, but found it rather disappointing when compared to some of the other books I have read on the Holocaust and its aftermath.

LOST IN AMERICA tells the story of Nicole, a French Jewish teenager, and the hardships she faced during World War II particularly when her mother, father, and younger sister were taken away to a concentration camp on the night she happened to be staying over at a friend's house. Never given the chance to say goodbye, Nicole mourns for the family she lost and feels guilty that she survived. Life in France was hard during the war, particularly for a young Jewish girl who was trying to keep a low profile to avoid the eyes of the Nazi soldiers, but Nicole manages to make friends and cope with the hardships she'd been dealt.

After the war, Nicole immigrated to America, but her life's problems were not eased. Her family (father's cousin) doesn't want her. She makes their apartment seem even more cramped. Her cousin's wife is especially grumpy and demands Nicole find a job and give the majority of her paycheck to her. In one scene after Nicole's lost one job, Harriet the cousin demands that she goes out in a snowstorm to begin looking for work-her attitude take galoshes and an umbrella, but go now.

The book focuses on her often-strained relations with her extended family, her confusion with American culture and language, her first dating experiences, and her first working experiences. Essentially, Nicole feels like a displaced person without a home of her own.

I have several issues with the book, however. First, the book flaps with its excerpted material draws a very different picture of the book than the book that actually is.
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Format: Hardcover
I agree with one of the previous reviewers: The book is very good but not THAT good. I agree with almost everything he/she said, too. Right away I liked the book, because--although it was based on a true story--it was not stilted and boring. It is written well! However, I also do not think the quote about smoking--which actually attracted my interest in the book--was a good one, since it did not reflect the whole story. I think the book is very interesting when it gets into the controversies with Cousin Harriet and Evvie. I did not like the ending; everything was fine until the last several chapters; but I think it is a very good story and it kept my interest! It is a good Junior High girls' story, and decent books for them are hard to find!
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Format: Hardcover
Set just after World War II, Lost In America is the story of a seventeen-year-old girl who has come to America from France. She likes ordinary pleasures such as banana splits, eating chocolate, her warm red coat, and a boyfriend she met on a double date. But her aunt pressures her to take up smoking to become a "real American girl", and making a new life for herself in a strange land offers greater challenges every turn., and memories of losing her family to the murderous campaign of the Nazis haunt her. A moving story about coming of age from Marilyn Sachs, author of more than thirty-five award-winning books and coeditor of the acclaimed "The Big Book for Peace".
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Reading about Nicole's life in NYC after her family was killed by the Nazis is very moving.
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