GIRL IN THE BLUE COAT by Monica Hesse Book Review
Publication Date: April 5th 2016 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Rating: – Exceeds Expectations
Book Summary: An unforgettable story of bravery, grief, and love in impossible times
The missing girl is Jewish. I need you to find her before the Nazis do.
Amsterdam, 1943. Hanneke spends her days procuring and delivering sought-after black market goods to paying customers, her nights hiding the true nature of her work from her concerned parents, and every waking moment mourning her boyfriend, who was killed on the Dutch front lines when the Germans invaded. She likes to think of her illegal work as a small act of rebellion.
On a routine delivery, a client asks Hanneke for help. Expecting to hear that Mrs. Janssen wants meat or kerosene, Hanneke is shocked by the older woman’s frantic plea to find a person—a Jewish teenager Mrs. Janssen had been hiding, who has vanished without a trace from a secret room. Hanneke initially wants nothing to do with such dangerous work, but is ultimately drawn into a web of mysteries and stunning revelations that lead her into the heart of the resistance, open her eyes to the horrors of the Nazi war machine, and compel her to take desperate action.
Meticulously researched, intricately plotted, and beautifully written, Girl in the Blue Coat is an extraordinary, gripping novel from a bright new voice in historical fiction.
Book Review Overview:
- Just another World War II book? NO!
- I loved Hanneke because she’s a flawed protagonist
- I learned new things about WWII and the Holocaust!
I was in the middle of a reading slump when I picked up GIRL IN THE BLUE COAT by Monica Hesse. To be honest, I was a bit skeptical at first since this book was compared to Number the Stars. I don’t take comparisons to what I deem as a classic very lightly. But from the very first page, I already knew I was going to enjoy Girl in the Blue Coat immensely.
STORY OF A GIRL by Sara Zarr Book Review
Publication Date: January 10th 2007 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Rating: – Poor
Book Summary: When she is caught in the backseat of a car with her older brother’s best friend—Deanna Lambert’s teenage life is changed forever. Struggling to overcome the lasting repercussions and the stifling role of “school slut,” she longs to escape a life defined by her past. With subtle grace, complicated wisdom and striking emotion, Story of a Girl reminds us of our human capacity for resilience, epiphany and redemption.
Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr Book Review Overview:
- Enjoyed the protagonist’s angsty voice
- Abrupt and unresolved ending
- Ending ruined my perception of the novel
STORY OF A GIRL by Sara Zarr is just one of those books that have been sitting on my library wish list for ages. I finally decided to check it out, since I have enjoyed Zarr’s books in the past.
Three years later and Deanna Lambert cannot escape the night when she was caught in the backseat of a car with her older brother’s best friend. The rumors follow her all around her small California town, and her dad still can’t look her in the eye. Deanna struggles to overcome her reputation of the “school slut” and strives for an escape from her past in STORY OF A GIRL.
FORGIVE ME, LEONARD PEACOCK by Matthew Quick Book Review
Publication Date: August 13th 2013 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Rating: – Exceeds Expectations |
Book Summary: In addition to the P-38, there are four gifts, one for each of my friends. I want to say good-bye to them properly. I want to give them each something to remember me by. To let them know I really cared about them and I’m sorry I couldn’t be more than I was—that I couldn’t stick around—and that what’s going to happen today isn’t their fault.
Today is Leonard Peacock’s birthday. It is also the day he hides a gun in his backpack. Because today is the day he will kill his former best friend, and then himself, with his grandfather’s P-38 pistol.
But first he must say good-bye to the four people who matter most to him: his Humphrey Bogart-obsessed next-door neighbor, Walt; his classmate Baback, a violin virtuoso; Lauren, the Christian homeschooler he has a crush on; and Herr Silverman, who teaches the high school’s class on the Holocaust. Speaking to each in turn, Leonard slowly reveals his secrets as the hours tick by and the moment of truth approaches.
In this riveting book, acclaimed author Matthew Quick unflinchingly examines the impossible choices that must be made—and the light in us all that never goes out.
Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock Book Review Overview:
- Unforgettable protagonist; abrasive but he worms his way into your heart
- Found myself glued to the pages; I couldn’t stop reading
Matthew Quick, author of the New York Times Bestseller Silver Linings Playbook, introduces readers to an unforgettable protagonist in Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock.
Today is Leonard’s birthday. Today also happens to be the day that Leonard will kill himself with his grandfather’s P-38 pistol. But first, Leonard needs to give presents to the four people who matter most to him. Then, he’ll shoot his former best friend before he kills himself. As the day progresses, Leonard slowly reveals how he has reached rock bottom in Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick.
My initial reaction when I started reading Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock was: Oh my God, this main character is such a jerk. I don’t think I’ve ever come across such a depressing, pessimistic teenager. Clearly, Leonard suffers from a myriad of psychological issues from depression to abandonment issues. He’s at the end of his rope, and he doesn’t think there’s anything worth living for in the future.
But Matthew Quick is such a talented writer. I didn’t even realize just how much I got attached to Leonard until I was halfway through the book and I found myself yelling at Leonard not to shoot himself. I was glued to the pages, eager to find out what would happen.
As it turns out, Leonard had a pretty messed up childhood. He’s not just some teenager acting up for attention, and his actions are truly a cry for help. Towards the end of the book, there’s nothing more that I wanted to do than hug Leonard.
Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is a relatively short read, but it packs a lot of punch. Leonard is an unforgettable main character. He has an abrasive personality, but before you know it, Leonard Peacock will worm his way into your heart.
About the Author
Matthew Quick (aka Q) is the New York Times bestselling author of several novels, including THE SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, which was made into an Oscar-winning film. His work has been translated into twenty-eight languages and has received a PEN/Hemingway Award Honorable Mention, among other accolades. Q lives with his wife, novelist/pianist Alicia Bessette.
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