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Reviewed by Edith Wairimu for Readers' Favorite
A heart-warming, coming-of-age story, The Girl with 35 Names by DJ Colbert follows Molly, a girl with a kind heart and special gifts. Molly is born in Zhitomir, a small village in Russia, in the cold winter of 1892. Surrounded by relatives and friends, Molly is given thirty-five names of women whose legacies she will carry forward. One day as she works with her parents, Molly discovers her great-grandmother’s special spectacles. As she grows up, Molly becomes curious about what each name given to her means. As she runs errands for her mother, she soon discovers the amazing stories of the women whose names she carries. Life continues beautifully until war comes to Zhitomir. At this point, Molly must escape Russia for America, with her new husband whom she barely knows. But her kindness and courage continue even in the new land.
The Girl with 35 Names by DJ Colbert instills kindness through its main character, Molly, who uses her gifts to help other people. In America, her role in the community is unforgettable as she changes the lives of those around her. Her curiosity to understand the meaning of each name given to her is also encouraging. Molly begins to understand what each name means and learns from the roles of these other women, which serves as a source of strength for Molly in her journey. The story is set in a beautiful, picturesque village as it begins. As the Red Army moves into the village and rumors of another war escalate, the atmosphere changes. Still, the frightening experiences bring out Molly’s courage as she and her husband face terrifying challenges along the way. The work’s language and tone are also accessible to young readers. The Girl with 35 Names is an absorbing story based on true events and whose main character is inspiring.