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Girl in the Blue Coat

by Monica Hesse

Library Journal Hesse's debut is set in 1943 Amsterdam. Hanneke, a Christian teenager whose boyfriend was killed fighting the -Nazis, delivers black market goods to paying customers. When Mrs. Janssen, one of Hanneke's customers, asks her to find a Jewish girl who has disappeared from the secret room in Mrs. Janssen's house, Hanneke agrees and reluctantly joins the Dutch resistance. Narrator Natalya Payne does an excellent job bringing the diverse personalities to life. Her Dutch and German accents are easily recognizable, and her voice work makes each character immediately identifiable. Although the characters are teens and the novel is marketed as a YA selection, adults will find the story gripping. VERDICT Recommended for adult and teen collections. ["The themes of love, betrayal, heroism, social responsibility, and atonement are beautifully intertwined with well-developed characters and a compelling story line": LJ 2/1/16 review of the Little, Brown hc.]-Ilka Gordon, Beachwood City Schs., OH Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly In this riveting Holocaust novel, Hesse, a journalist for the Washington Post, brings readers to 1943 Nazi-occupied Amsterdam as teenage Hanneke Bakker learns more than she ever wanted to know about the atrocities committed against her Jewish neighbors. When Hanneke, who supports her family by delivering black market goods, is enlisted by a customer to search for a disappeared 15-year-old Jewish girl named Mirjam, she tries to keep her quest an isolated concern. As Hanneke's investigation draws her into the web of systematized degradation and brutality afflicting all Jews, she recognizes that refusing to participate in the underground resistance would make her complicit with evil. Hanneke forcefully conveys the tortured emotions of citizens and city: "Fear. That's right. That was the odor I couldn't place before. That's the smell of my beautiful, breaking country." Themes of guilt and betrayal, ingenuity and courage, and the divisive effect of the occupation on friendship and community weave through a gripping historical mystery in which people and places, including the title character, are often not what they appear. Ages 12-up. Agent: Ginger Clark, Curtis Brown. (Apr.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Publishers Weekly In 1943 in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam, Hanneke tries to survive by selling black market items. One of her customers secretly asks for her help in finding a Jewish girl she had been hiding who had mysteriously disappeared. In searching for clues, she gets involved with the Resistance movement, risking her life to find the missing girl and defy the Nazis. Narrator Payne has a clear, youthful voice well-suited to Hanneke, conveying both her inner strength and her tension and fear in dangerous situations, as well as her mourning for her boyfriend who died in the war. She does equally well voicing other characters, including an authentic German accent for the soldiers who repeatedly stop and question Hanneke. The suspenseful and moving story will keep listeners riveted. Ages 12-up. A Little, Brown hardcover. (Apr.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Horn Book In 1943 Amsterdam, Hanneke nurses a broken heart--her boyfriend has died in the war--while delivering black market goods (foodstuffs, cigarettes, etc.) to her neighbors. One customer, Mrs. Janssen, implores Hanneke to find a missing girl whom the woman had been sheltering, leading to an engaging mystery that shakes Hanneke from her emotional stupor. An author's note includes useful information about the Dutch Resistance. (c) Copyright 2016. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list *Starred Review* Amsterdam, 1943: in the wake of the German occupation of Holland, 18-year-old Hanneke has begun trafficking in the illegal black market, finding scarce goods like food and alcohol to sell. But she is taken aback when a customer implores her to find a person instead a missing Jewish girl in a blue coat. Hanneke's reluctant decision to help sets in motion a chain of events that dramatically changes her life and the lives of others and raises the question, should she find the missing girl, what then? Hesse, a Washington Post journalist, does a fine job of reportage in this affecting novel. Her characters come alive, and what one of them says about photographs that they make everything so current, just like real life could describe the book itself, which is adept at verisimilitude, creating a closely observed setting that skillfully combines reality with fiction. Speaking of fiction, Hesse's pacing infuses her story with thriller suspense, enriching the narrative with dramatic surprises both small and large. As one character muses, Nothing in this war is what it seems. Ultimately, Hesse takes her readers behind a misleading surface to discover the lurking truths.--Cart, Michael Copyright 2016 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-In Nazi-occupied Holland, Hanneke seems like an ordinary girl working at a funeral parlor to help support her family during wartime. But her Aryan features and charming smile allow her to work as a courier on the black market smuggling cigarettes, meat, and other unavailable items to paying customers. While Hanneke is not a member of the Dutch resistance, her actions are a direct result of the loss of Bas, her boyfriend. Lying about his age, he enlisted and died on the frontlines during the German invasion. When one of her best customers asks for her assistance in finding a Jewish girl she was hiding, Hanneke is stunned. But soon after, she is drawn into the mysterious disappearance of the girl in the blue coat. What she uncovers as she searches for answers leads her on a journey of self-discovery, self-realization, and redemption. Hesse crafts a thought-provoking and gripping historical novel. The themes of love, betrayal, heroism, social responsibility, and atonement are beautifully intertwined with well-developed characters and a compelling story line. Thoroughly researched, this work brings history alive in a clear and concise way that rings true. VERDICT A must-read for fans of historical fiction, especially stories set during World War II.-Donna Rosenblum, Floral Park Memorial High School, NY Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.