Stephie and Nellie are Jewish girls from Vienna who are transported from Austria to Sweden when Hitler invades. They are assigned to stay with two sisters on an island. Nellie stays with the younger, kindly sister who has several children of her own. Stephanie goes to live with the older sister who is cold and stern. As the two girls struggle to learn the new language and fit into a new culture, Nellie thrives, but Stephie has a harder time.
I read this book because I appreciated the Boy on the Wooden Box so much, I wasn't ready to leave the time period yet. I thought this would be a good choice because it is a Bacheldor award winner. I was wrong. After reading the harrowing and terrible trials that Leon went through, the girls in this book just come off as whiny. "Oh, boo, hoo, I don't have any friends," while staying in a comfortable house with plenty to eat and the chance to go to school. Meanwhile the kid in the other book is being beaten, starving, and seeing people get shot right before his eyes. Of course, this is an unfair comparison. They are just two books about two different things, and The Faraway Island is just fine for what it is, but I don't recommend you read them back to back as I did. (247p)