Stay Where You Are & Then Leave – John Boyne

Posted: January 26, 2014 in children, Review, war, young adult

stay where you are and then leaveAlfie turned 5 on 28th July 1914 – the day the Great War started.  The next day his dad was one of the first to enlist in the army and leaves for the front.  The government turns up and takes Alfie’s best friend, Katrina Janacek, and her father away to an internment camp because they are Czech.  Mr Janacek leaves behind a shoe shining box for polishing shoes and Alfie sets up a stand at King’s Cross Station and help his mum with bills.

Letters from his dad have stopped and Alfie’s sure he’s dead, not on a secret mission like his mum told him.  Then one day at King’s Cross, Alfie is shining the shoe of a military doctor who drops a file.  While scrambling round picking up papers, Alfie sees it – his Dad’s name on a list.  But why does the doctor have it?  Alfie has to find out more…….

I enjoyed this book despite it concerning WW1, which automatically make it sad.  Alfie was a loveable character, determined to do the right thing and fiercely loyal to his parents.  The plot was good, very descriptive with a few surprises.  Te guest appearance of Lloyd George, the British PM at the time, was cool and gave us a glimpse of his personality.  By the author of The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas, this is another compelling read.


Supplied by Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Jan

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