Shadow on the Mountain. By Margi Preus. 6 cassettes or 6 CDs. 6:30 hrs. Recorded Books. 2013. cassette: ISBN 978-1-4703-2613-5, CD: ISBN 978-1-4703-2614-2. $ 66.75.
Gr 6-9–Espen should be focusing on winning the soccer championships and talking to the beautiful Solveig, but instead the Nazi occupation of Norway fills his waking hours. The Nazis attacked Norway and quickly took over the country, but that can’t break the spirits of the Norwegian people. Espen and other teenage members of his soccer team join the resistance movement, where they risk their lives to try to pass secret messages to other spies or do spying of their own. His younger sister, Ingrid, also joins the resistance and writes about the horrors of Nazi occupation in her diary. Not all Norwegians fight the Germans. Espen’s best friend, Kjell, becomes a spy for the Germans and Aksel, who dislikes the other boys, becomes part of Norway’s version of the Gestapo. For five years, Espen performs jobs for the resistance, while his friends die, are arrested, and are forced to flee the country. Espen knows it could be just a matter of time before he’s caught, but he will fight to the end for his country. Told in the voices of Espen, Ingrid, and Aksel, Preus’s novel (Amulet, 2012) accurately captures the mood and history of the occupation. At the end of the novel, Preus reveals the true story behind Espen. Jeff Woodman portrays Aksel’s descent into brutality, Ingrid’s innocence and bravery, and Espen’s fear and strength, while giving perfect voice to all the secondary characters. An excellent story about a lesser-known part of World War II history.–Sarah Flood, Breckinridge County Public Library, Hardinsburg, KY