I loved Nicole as a character and as a person. She was so brave and strong-willed and i loved the relationship she had with her family, her father especially. I also loved who she didn't care what other people thought of her but she did what she thought was right.
All the other characters were equally well portrayed and developed and i especially loved Anton 'The Poet': The main male character and 'romantic interest'. Their relationship softened the edge of all the suffering and 'dark' sides of the book and gave a lighter break for the reader to enjoy. However, their relationship wasn't the main thread of the book and for that i am really grateful. I wanted a book that was gritty and real, about the problems children on the brink of adult hood had to face during the war and that's exactly what i got. Their relationship was a very important part of the story-line, but it didn't take my attention away from the main plot which is what i hate to happen in books.
As you can imagine, the subject of this book wasn't all light and fluffy and I had initial thoughts that i wouldn't be able to picture everything that was happening to her as well as if i had been there and experience it myself (no thanks!). However the book was so well written that her experiences jumped off the page at me and i loved how well researched everything was too. I even read the afterword (*cough* which i don't normally do!..) because the story intrigued me so much. It was worth it. :)
And the ending. Well. It broke my heart.
"The trials of life only serve to make the strong stronger."
"The silence has settled on me like snow and it won't be broken.
Inside the silence I am safe."
"Courage is refusing to listen to your fears.."
Because that's exactly what it was. It felt real. The characters felt real. And what happened to Nicole, well how do i know that didn't happen to someone. In real life? On the back of the book it says: Inspired by real people, real places and real events. And that scares me. But you can't hide from reality can you. This happened. Maybe not exactly. But pretty close. So that's why i sum this book up in one word: Real.
(feeling like Peeta right now..;))
*Thank you to Random House for sending me this book free, in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book