Anya and the Dragon by Sofiya Pasternack


Published September 24th 2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Headstrong Anya is the daughter of the only Jewish family in her village. When her family’s livelihood is threatened by a bigoted magistrate, Anya is lured in by a friendly family of Fools, who promise her money in exchange for helping them capture the last dragon in Kievan Rus. This seems easy enough—until she finds out that the scary old dragon isn’t as old—or as scary—as everyone thought. Now Anya is faced with a choice: save the dragon, or save her family.


“Whoever destroys a single life has destroyed the entire world.”

Anya and her family are about to lose their farm unless they can somehow get five hundred rubles for the magistrate in thirty days. So when Anya is promised payment for helping hunt down a dangerous, ancient dragon, she readily agrees. But, then, the dragon saves her life, and she realizes that there’s no way she can kill it. But her family’s livelihood is at stake, and killing the dragon means saving them. 

Nothing is left to the imagination in this book! The detail is amazing and the story flows smoothly and seamlessly through the conflict. There were so many plot twists and unexpected reveals and I really enjoyed it. I loved how Pasternack told a story about an eleven-year-old girl but didn’t leave out any details or action, making it interesting enough for me to read in two days. 

My recommendation is for middle grade readers. There is no language or romance of any form. There are two attempted murders that should be noted (drowning and burning) and several violent interactions between a specific character and several others, but the description in these is limited. 

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