THE BOY AT THE TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN – Review by Charan, Queen Elizabeth’s School

boy-mountainPierrot, after having lost his parents, becomes an orphan in Paris, and therefore has to live with his, aunt who works in a rich house at the peak of some mountains located in Germany; this “Berghof” (the home) is occupied by none other than Adolf Hitler himself. Pierrot finds himsef in a completely new world which is far more dangerous than he has ever imagined of, but the question is… will he ever escape this abomination? This book had me hooked, especially due to the increase of tension and this story makes me think that I am Pierrot and feel whatever difficulty he faces.
I would certainly recommend this book if you are not just interested with the fate of this poor boy, but also if you are interested in what life was like for people like Pierrot during World War Two.

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THE BOY AT THE TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN – Review by Sarah, JCoSS

boy-mountainThe Boy at the Top of the Mountain is an emotional book by John Boyne, the author of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, Stay Where You Are Then Leave, and The Dare. In every book that he has written, Boyne creates gripping storylines, interesting characters and vivid images – no wonder he has won two Irish Book Awards, The Bisto Book of the Year and is the author of a bestselling novel!

This book is another one of John Boyne’s great works. The story is about a boy named Pierrot, who encounters atrocities in his early childhood which result in him being sent to live in an important household in Germany with his aunt – a housekeeper. Despite this, as Pierrot grows, and World War II begins, he witnesses and becomes more aware of the changes that take place, not only within himself, but also changes in his surroundings and his community. Over time, Pierrot becomes, as is said in the book, “a little less French and a little more German”.

There were many strengths and successes in this book. One feature that I especially liked was how the book’s perspective was from the side of the Nazis. I liked this because the change of viewpoint gives the reader a different view of what happened in this historical period of time. Moreover, this broadens the reader’s mind regarding the plans and events that occurred on the side of the Axis powers. 

Though this is a sad, tense and upsetting book, it is an absorbing read which was, as The Times states, “impossible to put down”. It is informative, while having a captivating storyline. I would recommend The Boy at a the Top of the Mountain to anyone who likes war books, or just a good cry. But since this book will, in some way, suit every style, I think it is an exciting must-read! 

 

THE BOY AT THE TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN – Review by Arjun, Queen Elizabeth’s School

boy-mountainAn emotional book written by the master of World War Two. This story reflects the journey of Pierrot as he travels from his war affected home to the mountain with many other places in between.

It shows how Pierrot comes under Hitler’s wing and shows how people corrupt in society over time and how power corrupts both the young and the old and the powers of thinking for yourself. The only criticism I would have for John Boyne is that we need to see the change from Pierrot’s point of view, possibly in a diary. The link to the Boy in the Striped Pyjamas was subtle yet very good. I really enjoyed reading it from cover to cover and have recommended it several times.

THE BOY AT THE TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN – Review by Blessing, Copthall School

boy-mountainThis book is set during World War II when Aldolf Hitler ruled Germany and manipulated the majority of the country to support him. This book takes us through the tragedies and dangerous adventures of young boy called Pierrot, showing us how the people you are around can change your life and also the way you act.

At only seven years old Pierrot faces the heartbreak of both of his parents dying in horrible deaths and being sent to an orphanage. Later his mysterious, unknown Aunt Beatrice finds him and takes him to the house at the top of the mountain. Residing with Hitler he learns about the danger that awaits the world. The one thing he doesn’t know is that the danger is awaiting him too.

This book is packed with regret and sorrow. An absolute gripping book which made me cry as well as feel uncertain for my feelings towards Pierrot.

I rate this book a 9/10 because it is one of the most thoughtful books I have ever read. John Boyne has once again written a book I will never forget.

THE BOY AT THE TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN, Review by Eva, JCoSS

boy-mountainThis book had so many levels to it. It tells the story of a French boy named Pierrot sent to live at the top of a mountain in Germany with his aunt, who is a housemaid. However, it is the 1930s and this is the home of an important figure in history…

This book is written by John Boyne, the bestselling author of the Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, which was published in 2006. The stories both follow the Nazi point of view (in fact, the past characters intertwined with the story while Pierrot was in the train station) but this book takes a deeper look at what was really happening in Germany; especially right at the centre, where the plans were being made.

Personally I found the book very upsetting and disturbing, though it gave me new insight into the Holocaust. I think it taught me a lot about what it was like in Germany during the war. I would recommend this book to people who want to know more about World War Two, as it explains some things that happened, although there are lot of chilling moments in the novel and it’s not for the faint-hearted.

 

THE BOY AT THE TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN, Review by Desh, Queen Elizabeth’s School

boy-mountainYou have probably read John Boyne’s other story, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. It is a great novel and having read that before I was eager to read his new book. Both stories are set in Nazi Germany during WW2. We follow the story of boy called Pierrot who lives in Paris but at a young age his parents both die and he has to leave to go and live with his German aunt.

She is a maid in a house of a man very high up in Nazi Germany, Adolf Hitler himself! Slowly, Pierrot becomes influenced by Hitler and changes his personality completely, idolising Hitler and wanting to always please him.

This is an amazing story and I have given it 5 stars out of 5 because of how vividly the author portrays the key themes of family, betrayal, friendship, patriotism and change.

It will definitely move you and I would recommend it to people of all ages. It is an amazing book.

THE BOY AT THE TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN – Review by Jake, JCoSS

boy-mountainThe Boy at the Top of the Mountain is a great book all about a boy living in Hitler’s house which follows him as he is being brainwashed. It sometimes makes you think about what has happened, who the good guy was and why this was happening. The book made me feel frustrated a few times. A lot of those times were turning points in the character’s motives and his perspective, which actually makes you hate him more than like him, and it also makes the other side roles seem a lot more justified in their original opinions even before they knew him.

Why I liked this book: I think this book is great because it changes the main protagonist (even though he isn’t really a hero, just an innocent child) to an antagonist. It also makes you think about if you were in a situation like this and how your point of view could be completely changed. I also like the book as it is a very quick read so I could finish it faster. I also find it astonishing that John Boyne managed to fit so much detail into such a short story, compared to others at least.

Why I didn’t like this book: I don’t really like the pace of the book at the start. I believe a quick start to a book, instantly encapsulating you in the main story, is the best way to start off any story.

My favourite character: I enjoyed reading about the French boy, Pierrot, however not about his German alter-ego Pieter. The reason is that I don’t like the decisions Pieter makes, which make his character a monster. He becomes a lot ruder, ignorant, self-absorbed and also it is hard to come to realize that someone who seemed like a little innocent orphan has become someone so evil. Pierrot however, is a nice character some can relate to, especially because he’s an orphan. Scenes where he is reminded of his parents’ deaths, or where he is being knocked around, are very upsetting for the reader. Another time he is likeable is when he doesn’t want to break a friendship with his Jewish friend but eventually he gives in to society and changes himself completely into Hitler’s puppet.

Would I recommend this book: Yes. Although it is very sad and frustrating, these emotions make you want to read on so much more than other books and that is why I love it.

Rating: 8/10 – great for mature readers who can handle dark themes.