Zombie, post-apocalyptic and dystopian books are like shoes - you can never have enough.
I've read a lot of Holocaust literature over the past ten or so years, but Prisoner B-3087 is a little different to what I normally read in that it is a fictionalisation of a true survivors' story. And what a story it is.
Yanek Gruener isn't even a teenager when the Nazi's invade Poland, but he grows up in the fastest, most brutal way in a Ghetto, ten concentration camps and two Death Marches. Although the writing is fairly sparse and simplistic, in doing so Alan Gratz doesn't try and romanticise, embellish or exaggerate the truth of Yanek's story. It's brutal and cold and epitomises how Yanek survives - by making himself as annonymous as possible.
Although aimed at the Young Adult market, this book doesn't hold anything back - although not graphically described, there isn't any part of the story that is glossed over - from the brutal, random cruelty of the kapo's and SS, the death camps and the unending, hopeless fight for survival.
I read this book in one sitting because I just couldn't stop reading - and admiring the strength and determination of Yanek to survive no matter the horrors that he encountered every single day for years.
There's not much more I can say about this book because it is what it says on the tin - plot wise there are no surprises and it focuses almost primarily on Yanek's journey through the horror of the holocaust.
Prisoner B-3087 is a book I would unhesitatingly recommend to anyone that reads about the Holocaust, and as a book for older teens it is a powerful educational tool - Yanek's story is so unbelivable and yet Alan Gratz brings it alive on the page. Unpretentious, sad, moving and ultimately uplifting, this is a book that will stick with me for a very long time.