Mary Casanova's novel of World War II breaks new ground-- I knew nothing about Norway's occupation during this time. Told from the point of view of a young girl sent to live at her grandfather's home in a remote location while her parents are fighting with the Resistance, it is full of little-known facts, the privations of wartime, and a good deal of action and suspense. The details were fabulous-- Norwegians were strongly against the Nazis, and rebelled in small ways, such as wearing paper clips on their pockets to show that Norwegians would stick together, combs in their pockets, or red hats. The Nazis would then have to issue edicts against these things, which would sound silly.
The Norwegian teachers, in particular, were strong in their beliefs. Every teacher in the country refused to teach the Nazi doctrine, and ten percent of the teachers were sent to concentration camps because of this. (Power in numbers-- what if US teachers all refused to teach to tests for No Child Left Behind?) There were punishments for every infraction, which is why when Marit finds an injured Resistance fighter and takes him home to try to save him, things are very tense.
At first, I thought that I wouldn't have a readership for this, since it falls under the category of a quirky part of history, but it was very interesting and informative. This author's Moose Tracks is wildly popular, so I will buy this one.
Also read Halpin's How Ya Like Me Now, which was interesting but a bit old for middle school. (Boy is sent to live with aunt in inner city after mother must enter rehab. Attends school where he is a minority, but learns to fit in and repairs his life.) Also Caroline Goode's Cupidity, part of the Simon Pulse order that came in. My girls will like this fluffy tale of a girl who invokes the ancient Greek gods to help her get a boyfriend-- and they come to her rescue in the form of Cupid in the guise of a hot teenage girl. A surprising amount of mythology, which goes over wonderfully in my school.