I always think that books are supposed to make you feel things and this book definitely made me feel a barrage of different emotions. Sasha is a good communist. He wants nothing more then to become a pioneer but the night before the ceremony the police come to arrest his father. Sasha believes that it's an error; however from that point on everything seems to wrong for him.
At first I enjoyed the book but felt bad for Sasha. He just seemed so clueless. As the book wore on I just started to dread it. Horrible things were happening and it was just so hard to listen to (I probably wasn't having the right type of day for this either.) I did like the ending. I think I needed nothing horrible to happen to this kid and for him and the reader to understand that even with all the horror and fear there were still good people.
This book does have illustrations. Since I listened to the audiobook I didn't realize that. Fortunately I happened to glance through a copy at work and realize it. I took the time to page through the illustrations and while they are simple I think that they served a purpose of lightening up some of the story.
I think the author's informational note on the last page was very important. It helped to put things into a context and I believe that it is important for readers to understand that these things really happened to people.
While this book was not the right book for me at the time I absolutely believe that it is well written, important and feel that the Newbery Honor was well deserved.