Author: Joe Lunievicz
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publisher: WestSide Books
Hardcover, 344 pages
Date Published: May 31, 2011
Description (Taken from Goodreads):
Cid Wymann, a scrappy kid fighting to survive a harsh upbringing in Queens, NY, is a almost a prisoner in his own home. His only escape is sneaking to Times Square to see Errol Flynn movies full of swordplay and duels. He s determined to become a great fencer, but after his family disintegrates, Cid spends five years at an orphanage until his injured war-veteran cousin Lefty arrives from England to claim him. Lefty teaches Cid about acting and stage combat, especially fencing, and introduces him to Nikolai Varvarinski, a brilliant drunken Russian fencing master who trains Cid. By 16, Cid learns to channel his aggression through the harsh discipline of the blade, eventually taking on enemies old and new as he perfects his skills. Evocative of The Book Thief with a dash of Gangs of New York, Open Wounds is the page-turning story of a lost boy s quest to become a man.
Cid has a tough childhood, a rough adolescence, and complicated teen years. His father is abusive, his grandma hates that he’s half Jewish, and his only solace comes with the surprise of making friends in Tomik Kopecky and Siggy Braun. Joe Lunievicz gives us a character to love in Cid. The poor kid can’t seem to catch a break and watching him grow up and grow strong despite all the bad that’s thrown at him is a pleasure.
When Cid’s cousin Lefty takes him from the orphanage, he gets the chance to have a life that he deserves. Lefty is quite the character with his drunken nature, but soft heart. Even though he’s not the ideal father figure, he’s exactly what Cid needs in his life. And, he’s the one who helps Cid find his love for fencing. Their relationship is realistic, especially for the time period. The same goes for Cid’s drunken, Russian fencing instructor, Nikolai Varvarinski.
Open Wounds is a sword-fighting, action-packed, emotional, and oftentimes tender, coming-of-age story about a boy who quickly grows into a man. Lunievicz captures the time with his pop culture references and captures the reader’s heart with his characters. Cid’s childhood follows him into his teen years and seeing Tomik, Siggy, and even the neighborhood bullies come back into play for a final duel is the perfect way to end the book. Boys, girls, teens, and adults alike will be thrilled by Open Wounds and its harsh, but hopeful telling of a boy on his way to becoming a man.
Opening line: It begins with blood and ends with blood. ~ pg. 9
Favorite lines/passages: I looked up at Mr. Braun and nodded. I believed him because he’d been kind to me. I believed him because I had nothing else to believe in. ~ pg. 77
And this one:“Each man chooses his own means of death, some with eyes open, some with eyes closed.” ~ pg. 261
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.
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