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The Forest of Vanishing Stars

Why is it the books I love the most I struggle to write the reviews on? I should be able to shout it from the rooftops and sing their praises. But, for some reason, books that are good—really good—I struggle with when I ultimately just want to do them justice.


Title: The Forest Of Vanishing Stars

Author: Kristin Harmel

Publisher: Gallery Books

Genre: Historical Fiction

The Forest of Vanishing Stars is a different kind of coming-of-age story set in WWII era about a young woman who uses her knowledge of the wilderness to help Jewish refugees escape the Nazis. For me, this book begins very much feeling like a folktale or a story of magic. Because of these elements, I believe this book will appeal to not just the already fan of historical fiction, but anyone wanting to try this genre. This is the book for everyone!

Yona was stolen from wealthy young German parents and raised in the wilderness of eastern Europe learning a lifetime of survival skills. She knows how to find food, build shelter, but it came at the cost of human interactions. Her days of solitary existence come to a screeching halt in the early days of WWII when she happens upon a group of Jews fleeing the ghetto and Nazi persecution into the forest. Absolutely stunned to lean what is happening in the outside world she vows to teach the group all she can about surviving in the forest. In turn they teach her about opening up her heart after being alone for so long. After making a special connection with one particular group member and having her heart broken she flees to the village where her German past catches up to her.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 So close to five stars for me and maybe it was timing of my read and me knit picking, but part of the ending felt unrealistic to me and the only reason I didn’t give this one five stars. I even read the ending twice to make sure I understood it! Maybe, at some point I’ll change my mind. Anyway, its a fabulous read and I highly recommend it. In a heavily saturated WWII market this one is very unique. It is inspired by true stories and the author did a lot of research and has extensive notes in the back of the book.

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