Very rarely does a book speak to me to the point where I will start recommending before I finish it. I have finished this and believe it fully deserves the 5 stars I'm giving it. This is an uncorrected proof, so the printing wasn't perfect, and was only slightly irritating, but not enough to take away the stars. A final print copy would not have that as an issue.
I loved Ivan. At times acting like a spoiled brat, other times trying to find his place in life as he knows it. The setting is an asylum for children with disabilities and illnesses, set in Belarus after it separated from Russia. The theme is universal, though; simply by being born different he is separated from being treated like a full human being. Scott Stambach brought Ivan to life beautifly, with an intelligent, independence hungry teen personality looking to be accepted by the outside world. Wonderfully written.
****I received this uncorrected bound manuscript from St. Martin's Press in exchange for a fair review.****