Three teens struggle to carve out futures for themselves under a totalitarian regime.
Seventeen-year-old Pavol has watched his country’s freedoms disappear in the wake of the Soviet Union’s invasion. He’s seen his own dreams disappear too. In a desperate, fatal act of protest against the oppressive new government, he sets himself on fire in public, hoping to motivate others to fight for change.
Instead, Pavol’s death launches a government investigation into three of his closest friends. Štěpán finds his Olympic hockey ambitions jeopardized and must conceal his sexual orientation from authorities who could use it against him. Tomáš has already been accused of “antisocial” behavior because he struggles to follow the unwritten rules of everyday interactions, and now he must work even harder to meet the expectations of his father, the regional leader of the communist party. And aspiring film director Lída, Pavol’s girlfriend, is pregnant with his child, which brands her a traitor by association and upends all her plans.
With their futures hanging in the balance, all three must decide whether to keep struggling to survive in the country Pavol died hoping to save . . . or risk a perilous escape to the other side.
|Interest Level||Grade 8 - Grade 12|
|Reading Level||Grade 8|
|Category||Diverse Books: LGBTQIA+, Diverse Books: Mental Health & Neurodiversity, Diverse Books: Social Justice, Diversity, SEL: A Self-Awareness, SEL: B Self-Management, SEL: C Social Awareness, SEL: D Relationship Skills, SEL: E Responsible Decision-Making, Social Emotional Learning|
|Publisher||Lerner Publishing Group|
|Imprint||Carolrhoda Lab ®|
|Number of Pages||328|
Author: Lyn Miller-Lachmann
Lyn Miller-Lachmann is an author, educator, and editor. Her novels include Surviving Santiago, Rogue, Torch, and Eyes Open. She earned a Masters in Library and Information Science from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and a Masters in Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Fluent in Spanish, Portuguese, and English, Lyn enjoys traveling to new places. She lives part-time in New York City and Lisbon, Portugal.
Lerner eSource™ offers free digital teaching and learning resources, including Common Core State Standards (CCSS) teaching guides. These guides, created by classroom teachers, offer short lessons and writing exercises that give students specific instruction and practice using Common Core skills and strategies. Lerner eSource also provides additional resources including online activities, downloadable/printable graphic organizers, and additional educational materials that would also support Common Core instruction. Download, share, pin, print, and save as many of these free resources as you like!
Three teens struggle to carve out futures for themselves under a totalitarian regime. Czechoslovakia, 1969 Seventeen-year-old Pavol has watched his country’s freedoms disappear in the wake of the Soviet Union’s invasion. He’s seen View available downloads →
LOOKING FORWARD TO SUMMER READING: BOOK LISTS FOR YOUR PROGRAM
There is still a winter chill, but the sun is shining, and we are dreaming about summer reading! Whether you’re participating in the CSLP or iREAD program this year, we’ve got books that will inspire joyful reading. Take a peek at our book lists that support… View →
Torch: An Interview with Author Lyn Miller-Lachmann
Set in 1969 Prague, Torch explores the devastating impact of a totalitarian regime and the different ways young people carve out futures for themselves against impossible odds. The story is told from the perspective of three characters after 17-year-old Pavol fatally sets himself on fire View →
Happy Book Birthday: New Picture Books, YA, Graphic Novels, and Nonfiction
by Megan Ciskowski, Associate Publicist Check out the November new releases from Lerner Publishing Group! Picture Books Dino-Valentine’s Day by Lisa Wheeler and illustrated by Barry Gott Cheery rhyming text from Lisa Wheeler and delightfully goofy illustrations from Barry Gott invite… View →
New YA for Historical Fiction and Paranormal Fans
These new and upcoming young adult fiction titles open readers’ eyes to lives and experiences far beyond their own (and even beyond the grave!). Some you can pick up now, and others you can pre-order for your fall shelves, but once they’re in your hands, we bet you won’t be able to put… View →
- Booklist Top 10 Historical Fiction for Youth
- Cooperative Children's Book Center (CCBC) Choices
- Children's Book Committee at Bank Street College Best Children's Book of the Year
- L.A. Times Book Prize Winner
- Notable Books for a Global Society Reading List
- Kirkus Best Teen Books of the Year
- Booklist Editors' Choice