Thursday, October 27, 2016

Projekt 1065

29241321Gratz, Alan. Projekt 1065
October 11th 2016 by Scholastic Press
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

Michael O'Shaughnessy's father is the Irish ambassador to Germany during World War II. Even after Kristallnacht, the family doesn't leave, and Michael soon finds out it's because his parents are spies. This doesn't stop him from being involved in the Hitler Youth, even though he is not a fan of the Nazis and their reign of terror. Along with his friend Fritz, he goes through the training and tries to be a good example of an Aryan youth, especially when it gives him an opportunity to spy on the airplane plans that Fritz's father has. Things are complicated by a Scottish airman, Simon Cohen, whom Michael rescues after he has crashed over Germany. When Michael realizes that his youth group is going to be in charge of assassinating scientists who are working on the bomb, he knows that he must find a way to stop them, even if it means that people he knows must die.
Strengths: Like this author's Prisoner B-3087, Projekt 1065 is packed full of danger and adventure. It's not as dark and gruesome, but there are some sad moments. This would be a great companion to some of the new WWII nonfiction books about groups of students who were involved in the Resistance, and is just an exciting WWII book. Goodness knows, I seem to need an endless supply of historical fiction on this particular topic. 
Weaknesses: It seemed slightly far-fetched that an Irish students would be allowed to participate in the Hitler Youth, but since the book is well-researched, I'll have to believe it!
What I really think: I wanted to know more information about the Irish Troubles, even though there wasn't really room for it in this book. That would be a great historical fiction book, though-- are you on that, Mr. Gratz?

25027372Nesbet, Anne. Cloud and Wallfish
September 2nd 2016 by Candlewick
ARC from Baker and Taylor

First of all, I would just like to say that there apparently WAS a Batman backpack available in 1989. Now you can read the book.

Noah is suddenly spirited away from the U.S. to East Germany by his parents, who claim his mother is going to research children with speech impediments like Noah's, and his father is going to write a novel. They are insistent on changing their names and details of their lives just because... Jonah goes along with it, because what else do you do when you are ten? East Germany is a rough place to be in 1989, and Jonah is happy to meet Claudia in his apartment building. She's living with her grandmother because her parents have been killed on vacation in Hungary, and the two become fast friends. School is horrible for Jonah even though his German is pretty decent; his stutter makes the teachers not take him seriously, and they don't want him to talk to the other students about the U.S. Eventually, it comes out that Jonah's parents aren't what they seem.
Strengths: The details of life in East Germany at this time are exquisite, and Nesbet's experience and research add a lot to the book. Even the format is intriguing-- after each chapter, there is a little bit of information on one of the facets of life. 
Weaknesses: I found this slow, and was never really convinced that the parents were spies. Betsy Bird and many other disagree with me. 
What I really think: This is an interesting time period, but I have yet to find a book that does everything I want it to. The title and cover don't do this one any favors. Am debating purchasing this.

1 comment:

  1. I'm with you about Cloud and Wallfish. Lots to love but I wonder which of my students will appreciate it.