Thursday, November 7, 2013

Thursday Three: Young Adult WWII Fiction

In honor of Veteran's Day next Monday, I'm going to discuss three of my favorite World War II Young Adult books.  If you are looking for happy endings, you should probably avoid these.
190631.  The Book Thief
This book is simply amazing.  It is one of my all-time favorite books. The book is uniquely narrated by death.  Don't let the prologue turn you off, it is kind of confusing and rather odd.  If you keep reading, it will make sense eventually, and I promise you won't be sorry.  All the characters are marvelous.  Liesel, a feisty young foster girl with a penchant for stealing, quickly catches the narrator's eye.  He follows her through war torn Nazi Germany as she struggles to survive.  She develops a passion for books and wants nothing more than to learn to read them.  This book stands out to me above other WWII fiction because for once it is also about the Germans and not just the Jews.  It shows how hard life was for the Germans not loyal to Hitler.  It is about the family hiding the Jew in the basement, not just the Jew in question.  It is heart wrenching and vibrant in its description.  The writing is absolutely amazing.  Even if you don't tend to like historical fiction or WWII fiction, I guarantee this book will change your mind.  The movie comes out next Friday (11/15)
162509002.  Code Name Verity
Maddie and "Verity" are two best friends trying to survive after crashing in Nazi occupied France.  Maddie is a British pilot, Verity a Scottish spy.  The two get separated when their plane goes down and neither know the fate of the other.  The first half of the book follows Verity, who was almost immediately captured by the Gestapo.  She daily has to struggle to survive the interrogators.  Writing down and dragging out her confession is the only thing keeping her alive.  The second half of the book follows Maddie, who is desperately searching for answers as to what happened to Verity and trying to piece together the mission that brought them there.  The writing is engaging.  It sucks you right in.  Two very strong female voices keep you entertained until the very end. 
399993.  The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
This book is absolutely heartbreaking.  When Bruno's Nazi father moves them to the middle of nowhere, he finds himself rather lonely.  He has no friends and nothing to do.  Sheltered and naïve, completely ignorant to what his father is/does and what is going on in his own country, Bruno longs for something more.  While out exploring one day he comes across a young boy, stuck on the other side of a tall barbed wire fence.  The two boys soon become friends, talking everyday through the fence.  Of course Bruno has no idea the other boy is a Jewish prisoner, and he has no idea what goes on beyond the fence.  That ignorance turns disastrous.  It is not a long book, so it is not very deep.  The film adaptation was really well done.  Read it or watch it, but have tissues ready.

1 comment:

  1. I've read all three of these books and loved them. Good recommendations!