Title: Rose Under Fire
Author: Elizabeth Wein
Summary: Wein set the bar incredibly high with her debut novel Code Name Verity, my top pick for 2012, but she doesn’t disappoint with this follow-up companion. Wein revisits some of her characters from Verity, but this is truly Rose Justice’s story. Rose, an American pilot, amateur poet and recent high school graduate, volunteers for the Airport Transport Auxiliary, a British civilian organization that ferried military aircraft and service personnel during World War II.
While flying back from Paris to England, Rose is captured by the Nazis and taken to Ravensbruck, a woman’s concentration camp in Northern Germany. There Rose learns to live a life of extremes – extreme hunger and torture, extreme cold and fatigue, and the extreme courage and loyalty she witnesses in her fellow inmates. And, it is with some of those courageous inmates that Rose creates a family. It’s a family held together by tragedy and hope for each other, composed of sisters who were subjects of brutal medical experimentation by Nazi doctors and a “mother” whose children and husband were murdered. And, the sacrifices these family members make might just save some of them so that they can reveal the Nazis’ inhumane experimentation to the world.
*Rose Under Fire does contain some spoilers for Code Name Verity, so despite it being a companion book, I would definitely recommend starting with Code Name Verity.
Who will like this book?: Historical fiction fans will appreciate Wein’s thorough research and ability to create characters true to the time period. However, the subject matter, storyline, and characters are so compelling that anyone who enjoys drama or stories about courage in the face of inhumanity will find this book well worth their time.
If you like this, try this: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys, The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne, and Briar Rose by Jane Yolen,
Recommended by: Jen, Fairfield Woods Branch Teen Librarian