It took forever to pick up. Who wants to read about a naïve girl with such a limited world view, anyway? Not I it seemed… until it became the war and all that conflict became more real for her. Before that switch it was mentions of Maddie and Jamie and their Julie that propelled me forward, but once Rose and Roza and their family became the focus, I was drawn in. There’s a shift, (a sudden one, too) of how Rose is at first this arrogant kid who thinks she’s ready for the world only to be proved wrong then wrong again. It’s harrowing the events and how she retells/ recalls what they’ve gone through. The impact of all that is made even stronger when contrasted to the point she’s telling it from.There are two stories being told here. One where she’s safe at last, but not completely convinced of that; and another with her not safe at all, but never alone. It’s both these: the aftermath and the fact that she was never alone that drives the point home… that it wasn’t all about her. It’s her and her little family, and what they did for and because of each other. Anyway, those two? There’s little difference between them for her. In both we feel her terror AND confusion. Of course there are all those other emotions, too… how she starts a bit hopeful and naïve, but with each thing recalled those two are squeezed more and more from her/them.So here's what I liked: the POEMS, and this surprised me because I confess I’m a poem skimmer. The lot I’d been reading prior to the ones in this felt hokey for me, a little too frustrated singer song writer so “I’ll just insert a verse or two here then here then here about unrequited love and how my hearts been broken.” (NA books I’m looking at you.) Point being: Rose poems aren’t those. Her voice is clumsy sometimes but truthful, still. The simplicity of her subjects and the poignancy of her words, had me reading each word or line, appreciating how she could sum up each emotion be they horror or heartbreak or joy. There’s nothing fake in her words.SISTERS… though not of blood they’re bound by something else. How they eased things some… simply because they weren’t (suffering)alone. Theirs is an unexpected connection, but a necessary one of them versus the rest, and it made perfect sense given what was going on. But it had my heart clutching too. How could they have gotten on without each other, yes? Aftermath. Not just a matter of hope, justice, or revenge, fear or, knowing their places, but all of those things mixed together. When Rose sees beyond her small ‘family,’ things become a matter of telling the world. And she has (they have) and moved me in doing so.