Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Rose Under Fire

While flying an Allied fighter plane from Paris to England, American ATA pilot and amateur poet, Rose Justice, is captured by the Nazis and sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious women's concentration camp. Trapped in horrific circumstances, Rose finds hope in the impossible through the loyalty, bravery and friendship of her fellow prisoners. But will that be enough to endure the fate that's in store for her?

Elizabeth Wein, author of the critically-acclaimed and best-selling Code Name Verity, delivers another stunning WWII thriller. The unforgettable story of Rose Justice is forged from heart-wrenching courage, resolve, and the slim, bright chance of survival.


Beth says 4.5 Stars...
In what appears to be a common sentiment, I was both excited and nervous to read this book.  I absolutely adored Code Name Verity and have since made it one of my top books to recommend to both lovers and naysayers of YA.  I was worried that this follow-up would be disappointing and leave me wanting.  Although not as good as its predecessor, I wasn't left wanting.  It takes a bit to get to the main action of the plot, with the beginning acting as an introduction telling of Rose's life pre-capture.  There's then a brief interlude where we hear of Rose's disappearance from other characters via letters and notes.  The plot itself doesn't move aggressively forward, but instead meanders while detailing various episodes from the camp.  As with any well-written Holocaust book, your heart will break in a million different ways during reading.  The book feels like a memoir rather than a novel, which gives even more of an emotional impact.  I would be remiss if I didn't mention the poetry that Rose writes that peppers the novel.  Although I'm not a huge poetry fan, I liked how it added another layer to the story.

Rose is a well drawn character and I enjoyed seeing the world though her eyes.  Hearing about the struggles of those in the camps and getting glimpses into the heartbreak of those they left behind was really powerful.  The Rabbits were something that it's shocking to know was true and it's appalling to consider what happened to real people in the name of "science."  All of the girls/women were different and brought their own stories to the overarching structure of the novel.  Roza in particular, with her specific brand of fiery resistance, provided a great deal of emotional impact.  Her life in the camp defined her entire existence and her courage in the face of absolute evil creates a fascinating character.  I particularly love how the book placed good in the most dire of places and unexpected of characters.

Overall, this is a wonderful companion to Code Name Verity.  When taken on its own it becomes even better, with a complex cast of characters that will pull on your heartstrings.  For a different view on the horrors of concentration camps, pick up both this book and a box of tissues.
book from library


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