Skip to main content

Someday We Will Fly

Review

Someday We Will Fly

The author of FOREIGN BABES IN BEIJING and BIG GIRL SMALL, Rachel DeWoskin, now brings a new novel to the stage --- SOMEDAY WE WILL FLY. This novel captures an unknown moment in history during World War II and the Holocaust: Jewish refugees in Shanghai.

Before May 17th, 1940, Lillia's parents, Bercik and Alenka, were circus performers in Warsaw. Lillia had a healthy younger sister, Naomi, and lived in a comfortable home with her family. On May 17th, 1940, Lillia’s whole life is turned over. Because she is Jewish, her mother goes missing and is presumably dead and her comfortable home is gone when her father whisks both her and her sister away on a boat to Shanghai. Although she’s far away from the comforts of her home, Lillia fights to live again throughout immense struggle including malnourishment and sickness, heavy loss and a shortage of jobs and money. The lack of money eventually leads Lillia to perform at a “gentlemen’s club” without her father’s knowledge. To resist against her everyday struggles, she makes puppets reminding her of the good times back in Warsaw and creates a show with them. She also becomes friends and develops a crush on Wei, a Chinese boy. As World War II escalates further when America enters the war, Lillia imagines a better time and place so that she could continue living and not be just alive.

"SOMEDAY WE WILL FLY is an intense and immersive novel. Lillia, even in her unbelievable situation, is somehow relatable."

SOMEDAY WE WILL FLY is an intense and immersive novel. Lillia, even in her unbelievable situation, is somehow relatable. Her strong and growing character has you easily entranced by what she’ll do next. Each twist and turn leaves you to wonder what would you have done if you were in her place and whether you agree with her actions. As a reader, you continuously fall into the story and wonder how you would act if she was interacting with you. Additionally, her living conditions seem impossible to be true and it leads you to wonder what would happen if you lived in such conditions.

DeWoskin uses very descriptive language and you can always see what is occurring in the novel. It leads you to make your own decisions on what you believe is going on and what should be done. It is also interesting to see what both you and Lillia see and miss, even though she is seeing the same reactions you’re seeing around her. It's also fascinating to see what a teenage girl was thinking at the time about the Holocaust when she was hidden from most of the horrors.

If you like connecting with characters and want to learn some lesser-known history, SOMEDAY WE WILL FLY is for you. Lillia, as I mentioned before, is captivating character. She stands up to conflict and fights to never submit to death, but she still has everyday teenage problems.

Change happens often and more times than not it ends in sadness. This book is emotionally taxing and by the time you’re done, your emotions are fraught. By the end you can barely breathe and at the same time you’re holding your breath wondering what’s going to happen next. I highly recommend this book to be read when you have a day to read all day in bed.

For history fans, learning about the Jewish refugees in Shanghai is fascinating because of how unknown it is to most of us, especially in America. As someone who has learned about the Holocaust, I never knew that Shanghai allowed fleeing Jews into its borders without visas.

I hope you enjoy this book as much as I have.

Reviewed by Becky C., Teen Board Member on January 29, 2019

Someday We Will Fly
by Rachel DeWoskin