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Eva Ibbotson’s The Dragonfly Pool is a page turning adventure that you are on the edge of your seat for every minute. When Tally is sent to a boarding school in southern England she meets new friends and together they go on a trip to Bergania. There, Karil, the Crown Prince of Bergania, is faced with a terrible fate, and all he wants is to be a normal boy. When World War II stirs up drama and dangerous Nazis who are pursuing Karil he has to rely on his friends, and together they escape. Karil believes he is free, but falls right into the hands of his selfish, abusive grandfather. Karil leads a very dull life until it starts to go in the right direction.

I didn’t just read The Dragonfly Pool for the sake of reading a book. I chose it because dragonflies speak to me personally at heart. My dad used to take me out into our backyard at twilight when I was little. Hundreds of dragonflies flew together across the soft, tall grass. Magical, graceful creatures, swooping in and out among the grasses of the meadow. Their glassy wings reflecting the moonlight. We called it “the dragonfly ballet,” which suits it perfectly. When I saw this book on a shelf at the bookstore, I just knew I had to read it. Now that I have, I am so glad that I did. It made me look at World War II, the Nazis, and the whole conception of royalty in a totally different way.

For example, I understood the Nazis’ and the fear they instilled in people at a deeper level. I saw that just because you are royalty, doesn’t mean you are rich. You could actually be stuck-up and surviving off very little. Every time a character was worried, excited, or discouraged, I knew how they were feeling. Through all the hardships, and moments of triumph in the story, the author had a way of making you feel like you were experiencing the journey yourself. I was constantly sensing the impression that the words made on me. A positive impression, beautiful even. It was like the dragonflies back home were tugging on my heartstrings, but in a different way this time. It was an exciting, surprising, and tender read, filled with friendship, and pain. Read The Dragonfly Pool if you want to experience a book that you never have before. Read it if you want adventure and excitement. Read it if you want to feel the story in your heart.

The Dragonfly Pool by Eva Ibbotson. Puffin Books, 2009. Buy the book here and support Stone Soup in the process!

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