Cover image for Two suns in the sky
Two suns in the sky
Bat-Ami, Miriam.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
[Chicago, IL] : Front Street/Cricket Books, 1999.
Physical Description:
223 pages ; 22 cm
Reading Level:
550 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 4.1 9.0 35650.

Reading Counts RC High School 5.9 15 Quiz: 20399 Guided reading level: NR.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Young Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



This poignant historical novel about two teenagers from different worlds centers on a little-known event on the World War II homefront. To Adam Bornstein, a 15-year-old Jewish Yugoslavian, World War II has meant constant danger, secrecy, and fear. But when Rome is liberated in June 1944, Adam, along with his mother and sister, is given the chance to escape war-ravaged Italy for the safety of upstate New York. To 14-year-old Christine Cook the war symbolizes all the drama and excitement missing in her own humdrum world of Oswego, NY. When a refugee camp is established near her home, she finds herself drawn to the residents whose pasts are so different from her own. There Christine meets Adam, and the attraction between the two is instant and overpowering. But their parents don't approve, and their objections grow more pronounced as the romance develops. Christine and Adam are brought together by a world at war, but the struggle that threatens to tear them apart lies within their own families. Will their love for each other prevail over the narrow-mindedness of the adults around them?

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 8^-12. Chris Cook is a Catholic American teenager who feels stuck in her hometown of Oswego, New York, in 1944. Adam Bornstein is a young, Jewish Holocaust survivor from Yugoslavia living in the fenced-off Emergency Refugee Camp in Oswego. Their passionate love story is woven into a docunovel that gives a strong sense of the times. Told by Chris and Adam in alternating first-person narratives, the story is sometimes too detailed and repetitive, but YAs will enjoy the Romeo and Juliet drama as well as the account of World War II at home. The fence keeps the refugees shut in, but there are also barriers inside Chris' family. Her father is overbearing and bigoted, and he forbids her to see that "refugee Jew boy"; but she defies him, and she and Adam climb through the camp fence to kiss, embrace, quarrel, and make up. The relationships are complex: even when Chris' father beats her, he is not demonized; even in Adam's anguish for his missing brother, he remembers the rivalry and put-downs as well as the jokes. In an afterword, Bat-Ami discusses the Oswego camp records and the accounts of refugees and townspeople. She raises a troubling question: Why was Oswego the only safe haven for refugees in the whole U.S.? Add this to the Read-alikes column on The War at Home [BKL Ap 1 99]. --Hazel Rochman

Publisher's Weekly Review

Just after Rome is liberated in 1944, 17-year-old Yugoslavian Jewish refugee Adam Bornstein, his mother and young sister are among those offered passage to spend the duration of the war in what will be America's sole refugee camp, in Oswego, N.Y. Despite the barbed-wire fences and the guards, Adam enjoys a romance with an Oswego girl, Christine Cook, who, to be with Adam, surmounts barriers of her own, namely, the prejudices of her father and the warnings of her priest "to keep the purity of focus of your faith." Adam and Chris take turns narrating, and Bat-Ami's (Dear Elijah) extensive interviews with Oswego natives and internees pay off in convincing observations. Quotes from these interviews serve as epigraphs for each chapter; unfortunately, this device points up the occasional shortcomings of Bat-Ami's fictional interpretations (e.g., mannered or self-conscious speech). Some readers, too, will find the slow setup hard going. But those who persevere will enjoy the attention paid to an obscure corner of home-front America and will be challenged by the questions Bat-Ami realistically frames about tolerance and its absence. Ages 12-up. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 8 Up-During World War II, a group of European refugees are sent to Oswego, NY. The story is told through the eyes of Adam Bornstein, a 15-year-old Jewish boy from Croatia; and Chris Cook, a 15-year-old Catholic Irish-American girl. Adam is, of course, confused by the new country, but he's also achieved a certain wariness and street smarts through his experiences. Chris, on the other hand, is a naive and bored teenager for whom the war is mostly a distant abstraction. The young people come alive through the author's effective, alternating first-person narrations through which readers gain a sense not only of the characters' feelings, but the feelings of the two different communities as well. Eventually, Chris and Adam are attracted to one another, which leads to hands groping under sweaters and two socks removed. Chris's father reacts negatively to this relationship and kicks his daughter out of the house. This leads the teens to take a day trip to New York City (upon her return, Chris is forgiven). However, the love story is really secondary to the story of two communities adjusting to one another: the refugees living in barracks must learn about Americans; the residents of Oswego must learn to live with the refugees in their midst. These trials and adjustments are particularly well conveyed. This is a fine novel based, in part, on real-life incidents now more than 50 years passed, but still relevant today.-Todd Morning, Schaumburg Township Public Library, IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.