ARC REVIEW: The Thankful – by Jamie Campbell

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Title: The Thankful
Author: Jamie Campbell

Genre: YA, Historical Fiction
First published: August 19th 2016
Publisher: Eltham Press
Finished reading: January 12th 2017
Pages: 132
Rating 4qqq

“Like most everyone else in the world that day they had no real idea. What they has was a feeling. A weight in their stomachs that anatomy text books could not explain.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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Confession: I’ve had The Thankful pending for way too long. I’m not sure why though, because this historical fiction ARC about the May War of 1940 in the Netherlands sounded truly fascinating. I grew up in the Netherlands myself and I’m aware of the basic facts of what happened in the country, but it’s been a long time since I last read a story with so many details. Jamie Campbell does a great job of explaining exactly what happened during those days with the help of the main character Ruth. The Thankful basically follows her story as she tries to escape the Germans, but you will learn what happened during the May War along the way. The choice to leave many Dutch and German words without translation is without doubt original, although I do think it would have been a lot more difficult to enjoy the story if I wouldn’t have been able to understand those languages myself. The geography can be quite confusing as well (even for me and I grew up there), but those are only two minor details in an otherwise excellent description of the May War. If you want to learn more about how the Netherlands ended up being invaded by the Germans during WWII, The Thankful is without doubt a great choice. A lot more entertaining than a simple history book without losing its historical accuracy!

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The twelve-year-old Ruth Imker with Jewish heritage has been running for most of her life. She had to leave Vienna because it was no longer safe, but before long she couldn’t stay in Cologne either. They sent her to Rotterdam, because the Netherlands was supposed to be safe. But even though the Dutch didn’t expect it, the Germans came during the early morning of the tenth of May 1940. Ruth will have to run again and try to find a way to get to England… And she has an unlikely protector to help her. Will they be able to escape?

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Even though the story might be a bit more difficult to understand for those who don’t understand Dutch and German due to the use of certain use in that language, I still think it is a great read for those who want to learn more about the May War. Apart from the words in foreign languages, the rest of the story is both intriguing and easy to follow; you will find yourself hoping the characters will be able to find a way out. Not perfect, but without doubt an interesting historical fiction read!


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WWW Wednesdays #120 – January 18th

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WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I’m currently reading Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell over at RivetedLit, and although I’m not that far into the story so far I’m really enjoying it! It’s only up until the 23rd, so this is my priority read now. I’ve also started Don’t Look Behind You by Mel Sherratt, which is a very entertaining psychological thriller so far. I’ve also made some progress with Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, although I still have a long way to go before I finish it… I guess I’ve been focusing on finishing some ARCs and other pending reads first?

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I’ve managed to finish since last week is The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon. I’ve heard a lot of mixed things about this new story and I was actually kind of afraid to pick it up, but I ended up enjoying this story a lot! I loved the characters and the fact that they are not the typical ‘white-American teenagers’; as an immigrant living in Argentina I could really relate to some of their problems. The prose is excellent as well and just the ending deserved an extra 1/2 star to be added to the rating.
* I then read another pending ARC The Thankful by Jamie Campbell. It’s a historical fiction story about the May War of 1940 in the Netherlands, and without doubt an interesting read. The choice to leave many Dutch and German words without translation is without doubt original, although I do think it would have been a lot more difficult to enjoy the story if I wouldn’t have been able to understand those languages myself. The geography can be quite confusing as well, but those are only two minor details in an otherwise interesting description of the May War.
* I then picked up my Netgalley copy of The One Memory Of Flora Banks by Emily Barr straight after receiving it, and I completely agree with all the other raving reviews out there. This book is brilliant! I loved LOVED the main character and the fact that amnesia plays such a big role in the story. Sure, there is a hint of a love triangle and she doesn’t seem to care much about hurting her best friend’s feelings when she kisses the boyfriend. Sure, if you think about the plot critically it’s not exactly all that credible. But to be honest, I didn’t really care. Flora managed to win over my heart from the very first page and I loved both the writing and how Flora managed to do so many things suffering with anterograde amnesia like she does. And that ending! I’m already having a feeling this one will appear on my list of 2017 favorites.
* I then read another graphic novel ARC: It’s All Absolutely Fine by Ruby Elliot. It switches between short essays and illustrations that show the reader Ruby’s experiences living with social anxiety and the daily struggles of life with mental illness. I  enjoyed reading this graphic novel and found it really easy to connect to the little stories. The author shows life as it is without trying to hide the ugly parts, and I appreciated the sincerity of it all.
* The last book I finished is Those Who Lie by Diane Jeffrey, another ARC and quite entertaining psychological thriller. The main character suffers from mild amnesia and has a very messed up past and a history with mental illness and eating disorders; basically the perfect unreliable narrator and an easy victim to anyone who wants to play with her mind. The writing was very enjoyable and the story itself quite intriguing, although I do have to say I kind of already guessed the ending about 60% into the story and it was kind of predictable.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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Next up is probably another Netgalley ARC: Blink by K.L. Slater. Although I have been in the mood for fantasy, so I might pick up either Splintered by A.G. Howard or The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken first. Although if I have to be honest, it will probably be the second that I will end up reading after hearing so many mixed things about the Alice In Wonderland retelling. 😉 My newest TBR jar pick is still The Five Stages Of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David Hutchinson.


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WWW Wednesdays #119 – January 11th

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WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I’m currently almost finished with The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon. I’ve heard a lot of people complain about this book and to be honest I was a bit afraid to pick it up, but the story has pleasantly surprised me so far. I like the main characters and the fact that they belong to different ethnicities rather than the typical stereotype ‘white-American’ main character. I guess as an immigrant in Argentina, I can really relate to some of the problems they have to face. As soon as I’ve finished it, I’m reading The Thankful by Jamie Campbell, an ARC set during WWII I’ve been meaning to read for a while now. I’m also still reading Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, but I haven’t been in the mood for classics so I’m not sure when I will actually finish it.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* I first picked up The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner, a title that has been recommended to me over and over again and wasn’t able to pick up before the end of 2016. And boy do I wish I would have read it sooner! I can understand why so many people seem to love this story, because I’m now one of them. I was a little worried about the amount of religious talk included when I first started about it, but that soon went to the background. The story is exceptionally well written and basically an emotional rollercoaster. What an excellent way to start 2017!
* I then read a pending short story ARC I have been meaning to for too long, Americosis Vol. 3 by Haydn Wilks. I had forgotten just how weird and messed up this story is! In one word MADNESS, although you have to be in the mood to absorb such an amount of crazy action and weirdness.
* Afterwards, I picked up one of my most-anticipated-2017 releases, The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda, and it turned out to be just as good as I thought it would be. Well written, fast-paced, plot twists, suspense… Without doubt an excellent psychological thriller and my first 5 star read this year.
* I then decided to pick up Mosquitoland by David Arnold on a whim; another title I have been wanting to read for a long time now. I literally flew through the pages, and enjoyed every single minute of the ride. Another well written story with interesting characters and (road trip) plot… Looks like I have been lucky with my reading choices so far!
* Next up was another pending ARC, That Burning Summer by Lydia Syson. I enjoy reading historical fiction, especially if they are set during or around WWII, but I wasn’t too convinced by this one. It took me a long time to get a proper feel for the story, although I cannot put my finger exactly on the why. It might have been the tone, it might have been the pace, but it wasn’t as good as I thought it would be.
* The last book I picked up is You by Caroline Kepnes, a book that has been on my radar ever since I found out it had a serial killer element. I was so excited about this one, but to be honest I don’t understand why so many people seem to love this book. It might just be that this isn’t for me, but I had to make the tough decision to DNF it after only 5%. Between the annoying prose and constant swearing and sex talk/scenes, I just couldn’t take it anymore.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I have to Netgalley ARCs pending I want to get to first: Those Who Lie by Diane Jeffrey and Missing by Monty Marsden. I’m also searching for my next fantasy read, which will probably end up being Splintered by A.G. Howard since I’m in the mood for an Alice In Wonderland retelling. My newest TBR jar pick is still The Five Stages Of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David Hutchinson.


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