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book cover

Escape from Chernobyl

by Andy Marino

Rating: 5 out of 5.


When Sofyia’s father awakened her in the middle of the night, she knew that something must be wrong. He told her that there had been an accident at work and that he had to go, but he insisted that she stay in her bed.

Alina and Lev wake to the sound of frantic knocking on their apartment door. It’s a family friend, a high-ranking party official, who insists that the Fomichev family come with him immediately to escape the city of Pripyat, home to the Soviet Union’s newest and most modern nuclear reactor.

On April 26th, 1986, reactor number 4 of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant exploded.

Alina and Lev are whisked away in the middle of the night, but they cannot leave Alina’s best friend, Sofyia, and their cousin, Yuri, behind. They find a way to return to Pripyat in search of Sofyia and Yuri, but the communist party is determined to stop them all before they have a chance to leak the truth about the nuclear reactor accident.

Initial Thoughts

Wow! This was a great read. Even though the main characters are fictional, the story does its best to give the reader a glimpse into the terror of this real-life event.

This book is good for both kids and adults. It is paced very well, keeping the reader engaged. As a book aimed at a young audience, the story develops each of the main characters just enough to make the reader feel a connection to them and tragedy that they are enduring, without overloading the reader with detail.

If you read more about the event, Wikipedia is a good place to start. Here is an interesting animation I found on the Chernobyl disaster page.

By Tadpolefarm – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

The following is the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant as found on Mapbox (a popular online map site). The city of Pripyat is just Northwest of the power plant.

And here is an interesting video about the disaster that discusses some of the key differences between the Soviet RBMK type nuclear reactor and the reactors of Japan and the U.S.

Lastly… Once you’ve read the book and learned about the details of the incident, adults, I encourage you to find a way to watch the HBO Original miniseries, Chernobyl. With a TV-MA rating, this show may not be suitable for young children. The portrayals of the physical toll this event took on the minds and bodies of those present are quite graphic.

If you’ve made it to this point in the post, you are awesome! I’m glad you’re here. While it wasn’t my intention to write about the technical or historical aspects of the Chernobyl incident here, I do hope that I’ve piqued your curiousity and will look into reading Andy Marino’s book.

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It’s March, and Spring is just around the corner.

In the Northern Hemisphere, it’s time to get the garden started, and the bicycle tires aired up. The gloom of winter will soon pass, and the sun will be our companion. What is one thing you will do this year to make this your best summer yet? Share your ideas in the comments.

The Nutcracker Trilogy

I will continue to shamelessly promote these books because I’m so excited about being a small part of Drosselmeyer’s journey. If you’re new here, let me encourage you to check out The Nutcracker Trilogy by Paul Thompson. All three books are available in print and as e-books. Books one and two are available as audiobooks, narrated by yours truly. Click the links below to explore.

Oh, and it doesn’t have to be Christmas for you to enjoy these stories (just like it doesn’t have to be Christmas to enjoy Harry Potter).

Apple Books / Apple Audiobooks / Amazon / Audible

Author’s Website

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