Friday, December 06, 2013

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

Friday, December 06, 2013 with 2 comments

While flying an Allied fighter plane from Paris to England, American ATA pilot and amateur poet, Rose Justice, is captured by the Nazis and sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious women's concentration camp. Trapped in horrific circumstances, Rose finds hope in the impossible through the loyalty, bravery and friendship of her fellow prisoners. But will that be enough to endure the fate that’s in store for her?

Elizabeth Wein, author of the critically-acclaimed and best-selling Code Name Verity, delivers another stunning WWII thriller. The unforgettable story of Rose Justice is forged from heart-wrenching courage, resolve, and the slim, bright chance of survival.

I have a confession to make - I still have not read Code Name Verity. In fact, Rose Under Fire is the first Elizabeth Wein novel that I have ever read. I went into this book knowing only that there was incredible hype about its predecessor, but without having read any reviews on this book in particular. I wanted to read it with an open mind, so that I could formulate my own opinions of it without being tainted by anyone else's views, which may themselves have been tainted by their readers' thoughts on the first book. And I am glad that I did, because HOLY CRAP this was amazing!!!

I admit, I thought the introduction moved a bit slow, but that may have been because I was trying to read it in bits and pieces during my breaks at work. Once I actually sat down on the weekend to read it, I could not put it down. I know that this is a work of fiction, but a lot of what happened in this novel did happen to people in real life. Ms. Wein was very thorough with her research, and had even written a lot about the "rabbits," which were Polish prisoners that had been operated on as human experiments. I had known beforehand that some prisoners in concentration camps had been experimented on, but I had never before known the extent of it. Reading about what had happened in this novel really brought me to tears.

What really stood out to me, however, was the way that the author chose to tell Rose's story. This was an epistolary novel, written in the form of diary entries from Rose's point of view. What I admired most was that the author actually made this story believable in its epistolary form. Sometimes when I read a book that is meant to be read as though it were someone's diary, it can be hard to believe that someone would actually write certain scenes in the way they are written. In this instance, every bit of it was believable. The author interwove Rose's past and present in very seamless fashion, and I enjoyed seeing things through her eyes.

I really think that this is one of the best YA novels I have read this year, and whether or not you enjoy reading historical fiction, I highly encourage you to give this a try. As I said, this story may be classified as fiction, but a lot of what happened in it was based on true events - even a few of the characters were based on actual people. It's important for people to remain aware of what happened in the past so that it is never repeated, and I think that Ms. Wein did an excellent job in connecting her readers to the past through the characters she had developed. I will definitely be reading more of her novels in the near future! This one deserves 5 out of 5 stars.



  1. Great review! I love this book, and it's one of my favorites for 2013 too. I actually read it twice, because I wanted to review it, but each time my review turns out to be "READ THIS. NOW." lol.

    1. I know - it's hard figuring out what to say about a novel to get people interested. Sometimes I wish "READ THIS. NOW!" would be enough to work on everyone...


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