The Shadow War

Philomel. Oct. 2020. 416p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780593116470.
Gr 8 Up–When Liam’s research into alternate universes is stolen by a Nazi scientist, Liam chases it across the Atlantic into Germany. He recruits the help of Daniel and Rebeka, siblings who hunt Nazis, to sneak into Siegen military base and steal a medieval book before the Nazis realize they have it, so he can complete his research and end the war. But when Liam uses the power he’s absorbed from the shadow world to help them escape, the monsters of the other universe crawl through too. Fleeing the base, five stories crash together in the woods outside Siegen where Phillip and Simone have run into monsters while on a mission to set up radios for the French Resistance and American military. With the five teens becoming reluctant allies, they chase the book across Germany, hoping to find answers before the monsters find them. Smith deftly balances the five points of view and maintains high stakes, tension, and thrilling action sequences throughout. The point of view characters are from an array of backgrounds: Daniel and Rebeka are Jewish, Simone is Muslim Algerian, Phillip is Black, and Liam is white. The narrators also represent a variety of queer identities, with romantic subplots throughout that feed neatly into the narrative.
VERDICT An action-packed historical novel with a science fiction twist, Smith has crafted a novel where Stranger Things meets Nazi hunting. A solid purchase for YA shelves and any reader who wants to fight Nazis.

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