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Gr 7-9-Nicole Burns believes the Holocaust is ancient history, and wonders why she has to study it in school. Turning to the Internet for some information on the period, she encounters a site run by Holocaust deniers. The next day, on a field trip to an Anne Frank exhibit with her class, the sound of gunfire transports her back in time to Occupied Paris where she finds herself the eldest daughter in a Jewish family, even though she herself is not Jewish. Although unwilling to let go of memories of her life as a modern American teenager, Nicole eventually finds them beginning to fade as survival becomes more difficult. En route to a concentration camp, the teen meets Anne Frank in a cattle car. When Nicole eventually awakens from her Holocaust nightmare, she understands the truth and becomes a changed person. The authors have adapted their 1998 play of the same title into this novel, but it never attains the intensity or the pathos of The Diary of Anne Frank or Jane Yolen's The Devil's Arithmetic (Viking, 1988). However, it will appeal to teens interested in Holocaust stories.-Sharon Grover, Arlington County Department of Libraries, VA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Adapted from husband and wife Bennett and Gottesfeld's (previously teamed for University Hospital) stage drama of the same name, this time-travel view of the Holocaust is long on gimmickry and short on history. Nicole Burns is a self-absorbed teenager only too quick to believe what she reads on the Internet about Anne Frank's Diary being a forgery. When her class visits an exhibit about Anne Frank, the students are assigned the identities of Jewish teenagers during the Holocaust, to make the experience more vivid. Shots ring out and "a sudden pain pierced Nicole, red-hot"; Nicole regains consciousness to find herself in wartime France, living out the destiny of the teen whose name she was given at the museum. Bennett and Gottesfeld acknowledge their debt to Jane Yolen's The Devil's Arithmetic (Nicole's class is supposed to watch the TV adaptation of the work, which also involves an unappreciative teen's journey back through time into the Holocaust), but this treatment doesn't measure up. The time-travel mechanism is inconsistent and incompletely developed, and the writing is flimsy. Ironically, given the attention it pays to the authenticity of Anne Frank's diary, this story includes a pivotal encounter with Anne Frank that blithely contradicts what is known of Frank's life following her family's arrest; here, on a train to Auschwitz, she is cheerful and stalwart in her faith in God. For the increasing number of young readers familiar with this period of Frank's life, this authorial liberty may cast doubt on the accuracy of other parts of the story. Ages 12-up. (Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.