Publisher's Note:  

Infiltrate. Befriend. Sabotage.
World War II is raging. Michael O'Shaunessey, originally from Ireland, now lives in Nazi Germany with his parents. Like the other boys in his school, Michael is a member of the Hitler Youth.

But Michael has a secret. He and his parents are spies.

Michael despises everything the Nazis stand for. But he joins in the Hitler Youth's horrific games and book burnings, playing the part so he can gain insider knowledge.

When Michael learns about Projekt 1065, a secret Nazi war mission, things get even more complicated. He must prove his loyalty to the Hitler Youth at all costs -- even if it means risking everything he cares about.

Including... his own life.

From acclaimed author Alan Gratz (Prisoner B-3087) comes a pulse-pounding novel about facing fears and fighting for what matters most.

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Scholastic Press (A Scholastic Imprint)

Projekt 1065: A Novel of World War II

by Alan Gratz

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Overall Review:  

Projekt 1065: A Novel of World War II is an exciting, intense, story of intrigue and espionage that takes place in Berlin, Germany during the winding up of WWII. Veteran author, Alan Gratz, once again brings the feelings and relevancy of historical events to life in this well-written work of historical fiction. Michael O'Shanessey is the thirteen-year-old son of the Irish ambassador stationed in Berlin. The year is 1943 and they have been there since 1937, just in time to see the rise of Hitler and his Nazis to power in not only Germany, but throughout Europe. Michael has become an eye witness to the horrible things that allowed the Nazis to come to power and now he is part of it as well. Since Ireland is neutral, Michael's family is allowed to be there, but that doesn't mean they aren't doing their part, even Michael has a role to play. Part of the role though is a little hard for him to stomach, as it involves him pretending to be a loyal Nazi sympathizer and even participating in the top ranks of the Hitler Youth Program. While it might be hard for him to stomach, it does lead to many opportunities to help the Allied cause and just maybe doing his little part to end the war once and for all.

Michael is a smart boy and shows much courage when it comes to spying, saving lives, and doing his part, which in turn allows his parents to do theirs. Throughout the novel, the reader can feel the internal struggle he faces from doing what is right in the moment verses doing what is right for the greater good. The dichotomy between the two sides seemingly doing things for the greater good, Michael's desire to end the war, and the Nazi's desire to rule the world--all is well-written, and the author does an amazing job in getting the reader to feel the emotions that come with this struggle. Sometimes it is even a little unsettling. As historical fiction, that is where Project 1065 shines--getting one to see that in all that we do there are choices and sometimes they are hard to make; it is that exact same struggle that Michael faced, just on a much smaller and less grandiose scale.

Project 1065 by Alan Gratz is the perfect novel for someone looking for a different perspective on World War II from a young person's eyes. As a reader, I think it is the first time I read about the Irish involvement in WWII and learned about their contributions to the war effort. It is also an interesting perspective of the role the diplomats played, as well as their families, in the war effort. Definitely a novel to add to the list of well-written novels about World War II from a middle schooler's perspective.

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language:  8 religious exclamations; 3 mild obscenities; 2 anatomical terms (but they are said in German).

Violence/Gore:  Reference to a Jew being shot while trying to escape; boy recalls the night that Nazi police went around breaking windows and plundering shops owned by Jewish people (Krystalnacht) he witnessed as a young boy; during that account boy recalls seeing the police beat a Jewish man that tried to stop them; during that same event the boy recalls seeing someone shot; mentions of the bombing raids on Berlin (3); boys get into a fight over someone not throwing books into fire that results in bloody noses and other injuries; character kicked in the back as he lay there after the fight; mention of how a downed pilot would be tortured and killed if found; character cuts himself in order to leave a blood trail; mention of how if someone is caught spying they would be shot or sent to a concentration camp; description of what it was like on the ground during a bombing raid; mention of people dying in the bombing raids on factories; mention of the bodies of the dead found after a bombing raid being collected; character eggs another boy into starting a fight that involves punching and hitting another; mention of how speaking out against the Nazis will get you killed; boys encouraged as part of their physical education to not only box but to pummel one another with a 3 page account of them hitting each other resulting in blood spurting, boys vomiting and one getting knocked out; secondhand account of boy having been killed by the Communists; account of boy turning in his own parents to the police; Hitler Youth group breaks up a gathering of youth against the Nazis which includes a description of them beating the youth up; telegram read in which someone is informed of the death of their son in battle; boys jump an elderly man, beating him up and have him taken into custody; account  of boys manning the anti-aircraft guns and shooting down a plane; boy tells how he has been asked to kill someone; boy grabs another and twists his arm in order to get him to tell him something; boy pulls his dagger on someone to keep them from talking; account of boy being killed by shrapnel from a bomb; boys attacked by another group of youth which results in a fight and many being hurt; account of man getting attacked by one of the Hitler Youth and being cut before he could get away; mention of how characters would be killed if they were caught; character jumps another boy, puts a sack over his head and beats him unconscious; person taken into custody by the police and beat up; person shot in the back in an attempt to escape; mention of the fact that the mission is to set off a bomb that will result in the death of many; boys fight as one tries to escape; boy tackles a man and attempts to stab him with a dagger; two characters fight each other with daggers and results in one getting cut on his arm and one falling to his death; frightening scene of the account of an avalanche.

Sex/Nudity:  None

Mature Subject Matter:  

War (and the death and destruction that comes with it), Nazi fanaticism, death, violence by teenagers.

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

Mention of youth getting together in beer halls and smoking cigarettes; mention of the Irish pass-time being drinking; mention of a boy smoking cigarette.

Reviewed By Sally
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