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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

Her name is Sarah. She's blonde, blue-eyed, and Jewish in 1939 Germany. And her act of resistance is about to change the world. After her mother is shot at a checkpoint, fifteen-year-old Sarah meets a mysterious man with an ambiguous accent, a suspiciously bare apartment, and a lockbox full of weapons. He's part of the secret resistance against the Third Reich, and he needs Sarah to hide in plain sight at a school for the daughters of top Nazi brass, posing as one of them. If she can befriend the daughter of a key scientist and get invited to her house, she might be able to steal the blueprints to a bomb that could destroy the cities of Western Europe. Nothing could prepare Sarah for her cutthroat schoolmates, and soon she finds herself in a battle for survival unlike any she'd ever imagined. But anyone who underestimates this innocent-seeming girl does so at their peril. She may look sweet, but she's the Nazis' worst nightmare…

Orphan, Monster, Spy

by Matt Killeen

Overall Book Review:

Spine chillingly eerie, Matt Killeen’s debut novel, Orphan, Monster, Spy, is “sehr gut”!

Third person perspective encompasses the development of Jewish protagonist Sarah. For her, World War II has just begun, but she has been suffering the depletion of humanity at the hands of the Nazi’s for far too long.

Action piqued from right off the bat infuses readers in Sarah’s plight to regain some semblance of control. And that control (somewhat inconceivably), initiates her as a spy in the enemy territory of the Reich. Her clandestine efforts are exactly what readers are hoping for:  thrilling, frightening, and oh so exciting!

The author seamlessly immerses readers into the height of Fuhr Hitler’s reign (when other countries underestimated his army’s strength) and the atrocities they had and were soon going to commit. 

The backbone of this novel is undoubtedly the Herculean heroine readers discover in Sarah. What she lacks in size she more than makes up for in strategic thinking. You’ll root for her, cry for her, and with Killeen’s keen writing skill, start to feel empathy for characters you at first hated. 

It may be fiction, but be aware, you will be engulfed in a fearsome time that you’ll be glad that it can be termed as “history.”

Review of an Advance Reader Copy

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Viking Books for Young Readers

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language: 14 Religious exclamations; 7 mild obscenities; 1 derogatory name. Note: German swear words are not tallied.

Violence/Gore: Child witnesses the violent aftermath and a parent who’s been shot, blood mentioned; injuries from car accident addressed; young female examines nude body and her wounds (non-sexual); threat of a bomb and death; report of an attack that incites war; several (about 10) reports and threats of violence; extended scene (about 2 pages) character recounts witnessing intense violence; extended scene (about 4 pages) young character has a nightmare/memory of violent bullying, includes blood and gore; extended scene; extended scene(about 2 pages) older teens violently bully younger teen causing injury; teacher strikes a student; injuries caused by violent injustices; extended scene (about 2 pages) teen attacks another teen, minor gore, injury; adult character incapacitates another character stealing their clothes; extended scene (about 2 page)young character remembers enduring a violent raid by soldiers; young character attends to adults gunshot injury, blood mentioned; extended scene (about 4 pages) student endures a violent beating from a teacher, injuries are caused; extended scene (few pages) adult tries to rape a young girl, girl fights back, adult is shot (delicately dealt with and not overly graphic);extended scene (about 2 pages) building begins to burn, bomb goes off, injuries mentioned; extended scene (about 5 pages) characters are held at gunpoint, parent admits to killing their own disabled child, character stabs another character; extended scene (about 1 page) characters discuss violent acts, including those of a sexual predator. 

Sex/Nudity:  Young female examines nude body and her wounds (non-sexual); young female character attracts the unwanted attention of an adult male sexual predator; implications that father sexually molested his own daughter; extended scene (few pages) an adult tries to rape a young girl, girl fights back, adult is shot (delicately dealt with and sexual advances not overly graphic, but still creepy); a sexual predator is discussed.

Mature Subject Matter:

War, murder, covert/violent actions, unfit parent(s), injustices, prejudice, attempted rape. 

Alcohol / Drug Use:

Repeated report of a parent who was/is addicted to drugs and alcohol; adults drink and smoke; teens smoke; adult allows teens to drink alcohol, spiking one of the teen’s drink. 

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

I appreciate books of all genres, but my main squeeze is fiction. Depending on my mood it could be romance or suspense; lately I’ve been courting fantasy. When I don’t have my nose in a book, I am locating tasty paleo recipes, writing in-coherent poetry, and crafting with paper.