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Young Adult Fiction

Can Patrik and his family escape their totalitarian country before they are found out?

2013 Choice of the CCBC, the Cooperative Children's Book Center


Booklist Spotlight on Historical Fiction 2024


My Own Revolution by Carolyn Marsden (Candlewick, $16.99). Most kids feel they have something to rebel against, whether it's their home life, school, or society at large. But what if you lived in a place where to lash out in even the smallest way could mark you as an enemy of the state? If doing graffiti or even listening to records could get your parents fired from their jobs or land you in prison? This is the backdrop of Carolyn Marsden's arresting new novel, My Own Revolution, which takes place in Communist Czechoslovakia in the 1960s. Patrik is only 14, and he has the same concerns as any kid (namely, that he's hopelessly in love with his pretty friend Danika), but the scrutiny his family lives under has put an intolerable strain on their daily lives. The book's language is simple and unadorned, and Marsden uses it to build a quiet tension that's nearly heart-stopping by the novel's uncertain - but hopeful - conclusion. A powerful little novel, like an arrow to the heart.—Philadelphia Inquirer

"Marsden’s carefully researched and engrossing story will be of obvious classroom use but will also appeal to thoughtful independent readers. — Michael Cart-- Booklist

"Marsden palpably depicts the paranoia of the time and the stress Patrik’s family is under; there’s an unremitting tension to the second half of the story as they make plans to flee the country. It’s an entirely believable portrait of a boy whose daily life is divided between normal teenage concerns—like winning the girl of his dreams and improving his photography skills—and worries about his very uncertain future."-- Publishers Weekly

"Inspired by a true story, this easily accessible novel should appeal to teens who, like Patrik, are keen observers of the chaos that surrounds them. "-- Kirkus

"The overall story is excellent, conveying feelings of dread, suspicion, despair, and frustration experienced by citizens in Communist Eastern Europe. The relationships among Patrik and his friends and family are realistic and genuine. This novel will open some eyes about how difficult and unfair life was in the Eastern Bloc."-- School Library Journal


In the course of a business deal, I met a Czech surgeon whose family had escaped the country in 1966. They'd gone on a "camping trip" to nearby Yugoslavia. From there they'd motored their small boat to Italy and freedom. I was instantly intrigued by this story, seeing the possibilities of learning more about that part of the world and the politics of the era. This doctor's story was also filled with the kinds of interesting characters and anecdotes that I find irresistible. That very evening, I gained his permission to write the fictionalized story which became MY OWN REVOLUTION.