Twelve-year-old Charlie has grown up hearing stories of her relatives who were killed in the Holocaust, especially her grandmother's sister Charlotte. So when her history teacher assigns a family history project, she knows just who she wants to research--Charlotte, better known as Lottie, who was an extraordinary violinist and played for the Vienna Philharmonic in her teens. It's not just because she's Charlie's namesake, or their shared love of violin. It's because she disappeared, and though her family tells her that she was almost certainly lost in the Holocaust, Charlie wants to find out what really happened.
As she digs deeper, Charlie begins to piece together more of Lottie's life, and learns more about her family--both those she's researching and the ones she lives with. But her discoveries only lead to more questions, and she begins to wonder: Was Lottie really killed? Or could she still be alive?
And is there really any way, over sixty years later and an ocean away, to find the truth?
I've read many books about the Holocaust, but this was the first which explored its effects on the second and third generations of families, and although the story is relatively straightforward, as an older reader I also really also enjoyed it. Charlie is an immensely likable protagonist, and I loved how the mystery of Lottie's story unfolded, and the combination of historical and contemporary plot threads. The ending was particularly well done--although it's a happy ending, it also felt believable, and I liked her balance between connections and open-endedness. I would recommend Searching for Lottie to readers ages eight and up looking for a warm, engaging, and satisfying story about family connections and keeping memories of loved ones bright.