From back cover: "The summer that Patty Bergen turned twelve is a summer that will haunt her forever. When her small hometown in Arkansas becomes the site of a camp housing German prisoners during World War II, Patty learns what it means to open her heart. Even though she's Jewish, she begins to see a prison escapee, Anton, not as a Nazi -- but as a lonely, frightened young man with feelings not unlike her own, who understands and appreciates her in a way her parents never will. And Patty is willing to risk losing family, friends -- even her freedom -- for what has quickly become the most important part of her life."
What did I like: There is something gripping about this tragic story, and it held my attention throughout. The characters are well-drawn, Patty especially. Green evokes a wonderful sense of time and place in this small 1941 town. She does a fantastic job in showcasing the evils of prejudice, bigotry, racism and the mob-mentality.
What I didn't like: Sometimes Patty acts just like a 12-year-old should, but I found her love for the German soldier to be way too mature. Then again, she needs someone to love. In her own life, there is just Ruth, the "colored woman" who is babysitter and housekeeper. Her parents just seem to hate her and that never made sense to me. True, she lies but that is mainly to make herself more appealing; she's not as pretty as her younger sister, but still attractive. I don't know, it just didn't make sense that her mother would deliberately sabotage her by sending her to a beautician who was sure to ruin her hair; and her father would beat her almost senseless for even slight infractions. Why?
It is a very sad story, but has hope at the end. You get a sense that Patty will overcome the limitations her parents place on her and survive to become a strong, intelligent woman, much better than those who raised her.