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July 6, 2015

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Pick of the Day: Rose Under Fire

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house, barricadesWEIN, Elizabeth. Rose Under Fire. 368p. bibliog. further reading. glossary. websites. Hyperion/Disney. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-1-4231-8309-9; ebook $17.99. ISBN 978-1-4231-9869-7. LC 2013010337.
Gr 8 Up
–This companion novel to Wein’s Code Name Verity (Hyperion, 2012) tells a very different World War II story, with a different pilot. Rose Justice, an American, has grown up flying, and when she is given the opportunity to ferry planes to support the war effort in England in 1944, she jumps at the chance. It is during one of her missions that she purposefully knocks an unmanned V-1 flying bomb out of the sky and is captured by Nazi airmen. Once on the ground, she is taken to the infamous women’s concentration camp, Ravensbrück. She is first treated as a “skilled” worker, but once she realizes that her job will be to put together fuses for flying bombs, she refuses to do it, is brutally beaten, and is then sent to live with the political prisoners. Once she’s taken under the wing of the Polish “Rabbits”–young women who suffered horrible medical “experiments” by Nazi doctors–she faces a constant struggle to survive. After a daring escape, she recounts her experience in a journal that was given to her by her friend, Maddie, the pilot from Code Name Verity, weaving together a story of unimaginable suffering, loss, but, eventually, hope. Throughout her experience, Rose writes and recites poetry, and it is through these poems, some heartbreaking, some defiant, that she finds her voice and is able to “tell the world” her story and those of the Rabbits. While this book is more introspective than its predecessor, it is no less harrowing and emotional. Readers will connect with Rose and be moved by her struggle to go forward, find her wings again, and fly.–Necia Blundy, formerly at Marlborough Public Library, MA

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