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Friday, December 14, 2018

MG WWII Novel Fascinating and Engrossing

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

As a Jew living in Nazi-occupied Krakow, 16-year-old Chaya Lindner knows her days are numbered.  Members of her family and community, including her younger sister, have already disappeared, whisked off to fates worse than death at Nazi concentration camps.  Furious at the injustice, Chaya vows to use her Aryan features to help her people fight the Nazis in any way they can.  Posing as a flirty German girl, she works as a courier, making deliveries inside the Jewish ghettos.  Under this guise, she smuggles things—messages, food, papers, even people—inside and out.  It's a dangerous job that could prove deadly if she's ever caught.  Still, the risk is exhilarating, her tasks fulfilling.  Plus, it gives her the chance to scour the ghettos for her missing brother.

An experienced resistance worker, Chaya is dismayed when she's paired with Esther, a timid new recruit, on a mission that proves catastrophic.  As tension mounts in Poland and more resistance workers are captured, the two will have to learn to work together to warn the Jews in Warsaw of impending disaster.  Will they get there in time to stop the inevitable?  Perhaps not, but they have to try, even if it means sacrificing their lives for the cause, which it just might ...

I heard Jennifer A. Nielsen speak about the inspiration behind Resistance—her newest middle grade novel—this summer at the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C.  She told the true story of Poland's brave, young couriers, which was absolutely fascinating.  I wanted to know more, so I immediately (well, not too immediately—the buy lines at the festival were crazy) bought Resistance and delved right in.  Not surprisingly, the story is tense, action-filled, and exciting.  The historical details are fascinating, especially when you consider that real people actually performed the daring actions described in the book.  While the prose isn't quite as strong as I hoped and the characters suffer from lack of development, I found Resistance to be an engrossing, enlightening read.  It may be too grim for younger middle grade readers, but for older kids and adults, I recommend it.
(Readalikes:  Reminds me of other MG/YA books about World War II like Prisoner B-3087 by Alan Gratz, Making Bombs for Hitler by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch, Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse, etc.)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for violence, blood/gore, and scenes of peril

To the FTC, with love:  I bought a copy of Resistance from Amazon with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha.


  1. This sounds super good! I really like books set in Poland in WWII. And I've never heard of these couriers, so I'm excited to learn more about their stories. :)

  2. This summer I read her book A Night Divided, which I liked. I do think it's important for middle grade students to read about important historical events.


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