Graffiti Knight

288p. Pajama Pr. 2014. pap. $14.95. ISBN 9781927485538.
Gr 9 Up—It is 1947, and life is hard for 16-year-old Wilm and his family. The city of Leipzig, in southeast Germany, is controlled by the Soviets, who are brutal masters. The Germans are constantly hungry because the Soviets have significantly reduced their food rations. Even worse, the German police, Schupos, are puppets of the Soviets. Wilm and his friends like to skulk around and pretend to battle the enemy, but the war becomes real when he experiences just how powerless his community really is against them. After witnessing Schupos beat and taunt his crippled father, the teen discovers the reason that his sister's boyfriend doesn't come around anymore: Ernst, a Schupo himself, came upon four Soviets raping her and now considers Anneliese damaged goods. Wilm is determined to fight back, and starts committing small acts of sabotage against the police. Finally, an attempt to leave his mark on the Soviet compound goes awry, and he and his friends are forced to flee. The last quarter of the book is nonstop action as the group travels for days, attempting to avoid pursuers to make it to Bavaria and the American Zone. Wilm is a flawed but engaging protagonist, prone to headstrong actions, and he matures believably over the course of the story. While over-expository conversations between characters lead to moments of stilted and unnatural dialogue, Bass does a fine job of opening readers' eyes to the harsh realities that so many German civilians faced after their country's defeat, regardless of whether they had supported the Nazi regime.—Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing