How do you find the strength to fight for what’s right? Set against the backdrop of everyday life in the Soviet Union, this humorous coming-of-age story is both a young man’s journey of discovery, and a glimpse at this fascinating period of Russian history. The year is 1983, and the Cold War between America and the Soviet Union is escalating again. In the small Soviet town of Belsk though, a young Russian teenager has bigger things on his mind, matters much more pressing to a boy in the seventh grade. Maxim Lapin has a crush. And not just any crush. Maxim is head over heals for a girl named Tanya Nosova, and it’s just his luck that Tanya is too ambitious and independent to even acknowledge his advances. As if that wasn’t enough, Maxim and his friends are being bullied by a gang of older boys, led by angry, frightening Tolik Smirnov. Maxim is too intimidated by beautiful Tanya Nosova to try his luck again, and too afraid of his own blood to stand up to Tolik and his gang. To Maxim, it seems that life is more complicated the older you become, and he’s not sure he likes it at all. Then, Maxim’s grandfather begins to tell him stories about WWII, when he fought the Nazi invasion. Maxim listens, rapt. His grandfather faced incredible challenges; and just like Maxim, there were times when he was afraid. Through his grandfather’s insights, Maxim starts to rethink his situation. Maybe he does have the strength to face his challenges after all, maybe he will find the courage to stand up to his fears. Maybe, just maybe, he can solve both of his problems at the same time. A novel for middle grade children or young adults, this book weaves action and adventure with a poignant story of a young man on the brink of adulthood.
Received this book from netgally and the publisher in exchange for review this has in no way affected my opinion.
I couldn’t put this book down in fact I actually read this in one day. This is an amazing story about a bright guy who is discovering his morals and I loved the way he worked things out and asks for advice when it is needed. I loved that this also included how to deal with being attracted to another person. I also loved the friendships that are included within this story. I also enjoyed the illustrations that are show in this novel. This is a beautiful story and I would recommend this book for other children to read and enjoy