MOONBEAM AWARD WINNER
Set in the final year of Soviet Russia’s collapse, this stunning debut novel tells the story of Sonya, a timid Jewish girl reuniting with her once-dissident mother and falling in love with a mysterious boy who may be an anti-Semite. All the while, Sonya’s mama is falling in love also⎯with shiny America, a land where differences seem to be celebrated. The place sounds amazing, but so far away. Will Sonya ever find her way there?
“This book stole my heart. Gorgeously crafted and deliciously romantic, Castle of Concrete left me breathless until the very end.” —Heather Demetrios, author of I’ll Meet You There
"As a story about finding one’s identity, this novel is completely new in the approach it takes. . . . Nothing is clear-cut or easy for Sonya or her mother, or for any of [the] characters, as they all love their country and try to find the best road forward. . . . Sonya is compelling and sympathetic, and her moments of choice . . . break the reader’s heart. This novel brings to life not just [its] vivid characters but a time of choices in history that must not be forgotten." —Assembly on Literature for Adolescents (ALAN) of the National Council of Teachers of English
“In Katia Raina’s fascinating and sympathetic Castle of Concrete, the concerns of young adulthood are amplified tenfold against a background of historical upheavals. . . . [A] riveting story about growing up in dark political times.” —Foreword Reviews (starred review)
“Castle of Concrete is constructed of the finest story materials: complex characters, page flipping suspense, and exquisite details. All in a troubled historical landscape. The story kept me reading with pounding heart.” —Joyce Moyer Hostetter, author of the award-winning Bakers Mountain Series
“Readers won’t easily forget spunky Sonya, struggling to understand her Jewish roots amid rising anti-Semitism, her activist mother’s secrets, and her attraction to two boys, each of them dangerous in their own way.” —Lyn Miller-Lachmann, author of the award-winning Gringolandia
"A tour de force about the Russian people, and their first, tentative steps toward what had been denied for generations--a private life in all its imperfect glory. And then comes the ending." —Lynda Durrant, author of The Last Skirt