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What about Anna? Hardcover – May 1, 2002

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Anna, a 16-year-old girl on the verge of graduating from school in Louvain (Belgium), holds everyone at a distance since the death of her two brothers (Jonas died of AIDS and Michael, a UNICEF worker, has been presumed dead in Bosnia). Her mother cannot quite extinguish her hope of finding Michael, and her architect father has moved out to his own apartment in Ostend, by the North Sea. Then one of Michael's friends sends Anna a letter with evidence that suggests her brother is alive but he wants her to tell no one, not even her parents. She reluctantly travels to meet him (conveniently, he is working in Ostend), and finds herself dealing with feelings she has long since stored away. While the geography can be hard to keep track of (characters have lived everywhere from America to Croatia to Italy) and the Balkan history may be unfamiliar to readers, Belgian author Simoen's descriptions and snatches of dialogue capture a lot of emotion. In the first part of the book, other characters, from Anna's parents to Jonas's doctor, alternate narration with Anna, revealing not only important back story but also their own feelings of love and loss; these segments help explain Anna's reluctance to delve back into the past or to connect with anyone in the present. The plot unfolds slowly and with sometimes frustrating complexity, but Anna's situation invites empathy, and motivated readers will be drawn into the puzzle of Michael's strange fate. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 8 Up-Anna Bracke's world has almost begun to right itself. Her childhood in Croatia is a distant memory. High school in Belgium is ending. Her father has moved out, but they are communicating. Her mother's grief over the loss of her sons, Jason in 1994, and Michael in 1996, seems to be settling and they have found ways to avoid talking about the past. Then a letter arrives from Rovinj, in what once was Yugoslavia, from her brothers' friend Hugo, two years after Michael's disappearance in Bosnia. It reopens old wounds and sends Anna on a series of journeys, which gradually reveals what is behind layers of secrecy. The force propelling this story is the absent Michael, her idealistic half brother, torn by his biological father's belief in Serbian nationalism and his concern for the Balkans. The dead Jason opens the story, describing his death from AIDS. The letter tells of Hugo's chance encounter with Michael's wife, who was supposed to have died with her husband when their car set off a mine. Hugo, the friend and coordinator of the action; the good Doctor Devolder, who turns out to be more connected than it first appears; Anna's mother; and her father all contribute background before Anna takes over the story of a broken but partially healing family. High school readers who enjoy puzzling things out will appreciate this smoothly translated picture of a young adult on the brink of the rest of her life, in a European world still recovering from the emergence of new plagues and old nationalisms.
Kathleen Isaacs, Edmund Burke School, Washington, DC
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Hardcover: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Walker Childrens (May 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802788084
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802788085
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,044,738 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
What About Anna? was a beautiful book about a lost girl. Anna is lost, sad, and pushes everyone away until something in her changes. This book was VERY good, but depressing at someparts, and left me hanging at the end. We need a sequel!
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