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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

From New York Times bestselling author Jennifer A. Nielsen comes a thrilling World War II story of espionage and intrigue, as one girl races to save her father and aid the French resistance. Six hundred and fifty-seven days ago, Meg Kenyon's father left their home in France to fight for the Allies in World War II, and that was the last time Meg saw him. Recently, she heard he was being held prisoner by the Nazis, a terrible sentence from which Meg fears he'll never return. All she has left of him are the codes he placed in a jar for her to decipher, an affectionate game the two of them shared. But the codes are running low, and soon there'll be nothing left of Papa for Meg to hold on to at all. Suddenly, an impossible chance to save her father falls into Meg's lap. After following a trail of blood in the snow, Meggie finds an injured British spy hiding in her grandmother's barn. Captain Stewart tells her that a family of German refugees must be guided across Nazi-occupied France to…


by Jennifer Nielsen

Overall Book Review:

Jennifer Nielsen is always a solid bet for a children’s book. Rescue is no exception.

Set during World War II, Rescue follows the story of Meg Kenyon, a young girl living with her mother and grandmother in France, near the forests of the Perche. Her British father has been lost to the war for 657 days, with rumor that he is a prisoner of the Nazis. All she has left of him are memories and a jar of a codes to decipher during his absence.

When a British spy is found hiding in her grandmother’s barn, Meg is given an opportunity: since the spy is too severely injured for the task, she is asked to guide a family of German refugees across Nazi-occupied France to a neutral zone in Spain. In exchange for her help, one of the refugees has promised to free Meg’s father.

Meg accepts the job. In a journey fraught with peril – both from pursuing Nazis and perhaps even treachery within her little group – she never loses her perseverance and courage, and clings to the hope that at the end of this ordeal, she will see her father again.

Jennifer Nielsen is always good at writing characters that are passionate, fiery, and strong willed. Her heroine has her share of flaws and mistakes, but also has an iron will and ingenuity that makes her stand out. As a middle grade novel, this is very solid and enjoyable. I thought there were a few places that felt slightly unbelievable – like when a younger character leaves a group and strikes off alone across enemy-occupied territory, or how often Nazis showed up to give the story a boost forward – but its flaws are minor in comparison to the story as a whole. It would appeal to readers of The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, or Number the Stars by Lois Lowry.

Review of an Advance Reading Copy from the Publisher

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language: None

Violence/Gore: Many instances of violence and gore, including but not limited to: A character goes off to war; many mentions are made of war and its effects; many mentions are made of the Resistance and many characters who are part of it; many different scenes where characters are pursued by/in danger from/almost captured by soldiers; a characters sells food on the black market; characters often engage in arguments or are yelled at by others; a character is questioned by the Germans; a character sees blood on the snow; a character realizes there’s an intruder in a barn; characters are bullied by soldiers and threatened with arrest; a character is a spy; a character is hidden under a floor with very little space to move; a character is recruited to become an unofficial Special Operations Executive (SOE) agent; characters laugh about a Jewish family they arrested; a character sneaks into a house occupied by a Nazi and is overheard;  a character’s family is missing; characters sit in a basement as bombs fall; characters are trapped in a cellar with water rising from broken pipes; characters ski through an avalanche area; characters cause an explosion to create a distraction.

Sex/Nudity: A girl hugs a boy.

Mature Subjects:

War, spies, the Resistance, persecution, traitors.

Drug and Alcohol Use:


Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

Fantasy is my bread and butter. I read and write it. I’m obsessed with world-building and fascinated with lyrical prose. I love that I can contribute to the writing community by recommending good books that can actually make a difference in a person’s life.