Fire in the Hills

Fire in the Hills

4.6 8
by Donna Jo Napoli

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It's been two years since fifteen-year-old Roberto was kidnapped and forced to work in a German labor camp. After finally escaping, he's made his way back to Italy. Roberto is desperate to return to the safety of his family, but how can he turn his back on the war while so many people are suffering? Roberto joins the resistance movement, and smuggles guns and


It's been two years since fifteen-year-old Roberto was kidnapped and forced to work in a German labor camp. After finally escaping, he's made his way back to Italy. Roberto is desperate to return to the safety of his family, but how can he turn his back on the war while so many people are suffering? Roberto joins the resistance movement, and smuggles guns and secret information to rebel fighters. Every mission takes him closer to home, but every mission is even more dangerous than the last. Will Roberto survive and make his way home?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In the sequel to Stones in Water, Fire in the Hills by Donna Jo Napoli, 14-year-old Roberto returns to Italy from Nazi work camps and transforms from a pacifist to a member of the Italian resistance, the partigiani. The novel spotlights a lesser-known aspect of WWII and in Roberto delivers a hero whose battles demonstrate both the brutal devastation of war and an inspiring capacity for hope. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
VOYA - Jennifer Rummel
In the sequel to Stones in Water (Dutton, 1997/VOYA February 1998), Napoli continues Roberto's adventure, returning to Venice during the invasion of Italy in World War II. Roberto was twelve when the Nazis took him from his home and forced him into a labor camp, from which he escaped and slowly made his way back to Italian soil. Germany now occupies Italy, however, and Roberto finds himself traveling in search of food and shelter. Danger surrounds him, and before long, he is recaptured by German soldiers. He is rescued by a group of children whose mother, Rina, offers him a home as he works in exchange for food. During his time with Rina's family, one son secretly joins the army and is later killed. A mysterious girl who fights for the people of Italy in the resistance movement comes to the house to share the son's last words with Rina. Something in the girl sparks Roberto. He leaves the comfort of his new home to join her cause in freeing Italy from the oppression of the Nazis. The decision weighs on his mind as he wonders whether he is cut out for this lifestyle. This well-written book grips the reader from the beginning and on through Roberto's adventures. Like the first book in the series, however, the ending is left open, leaving readers questioning the outcome of the story and wondering whether Roberto's story has ended. One hopes that Napoli will write another sequel to this thrilling tale.
Stones in Water was selected as a Best Book for YAs when it came out in the late ‘90s; this continues the story of Roberto, now 14, as he lands with American troops in the invasion of Sicily in WW II and spends two years trying to get across Italy to his home in Venice. He survives, sometimes as a translator with German troops, sometimes taking refuge with Italian families; eventually he joins the resistance movement of young Italians fighting against the occupying Germans. The action is fierce, as Roberto witnesses atrocities by the German army and the starvation and despair of his people. He is sickened by war, but the resistance efforts are mostly to inform Italians, to keep morale up, to transport weapons secretly. He is on a team with an incredibly smart and brave young woman, known by her clandestine name, Volpe Rossa, and together they dupe German troops and narrowly escape capture (which means torture). There is a postscript by Napoli explaining the authenticity of the story of Italian partisans, their activities, the songs that kept their morale up, their patriotism and heroism. This is a facet of WW II action most of us know little about. Roberto is a fictional character whose story makes the actual history vividly real to modern-day readers. (Sequel to Stones in Water). KLIATT Codes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2006, Penguin, Dutton, 215p., Ages 12 to 18.
—Claire Rosser
Children's Literature - Leslie Rounds
In the sequel to Stones in Water, Roberto, now fifteen years old, continues to fight for freedom and survival in war-torn Europe. After escaping from the German shelling of an American warship, he makes his way north through Italy, dodging one catastrophe after another. Turning his back on the relative safety of a rural farm where he passes several months, he joins the resistance movement with a teenaged girl known as Volpe Rossa and spends the rest of the war working with the partisans. Napoli never shies away from reporting the grim reality of the German occupation of Italy, and there is much in this book that may lead readers to seek out more information. Roberto, determined not to kill, is an appealing character that many readers will be able to identify with, but at times the narrative reports to readers more than it engages them. This distancing reduces the impact the tale might have carried, though the story remains a powerful one. This book is able to stand alone well without the need to read the first book.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-9-Roberto, the protagonist of Stones in Water (Dutton, 1997), continues his struggle to return to Venice following his escape from a forced labor camp in Nazi-controlled Eastern Europe. Three years have passed and, now 15, he is alone again, having lost both his best friend, who was Jewish, and the Roman deserter who nursed him back from a bullet wound. Apprehended by the Germans, Roberto has escaped yet again, finally reaching the southern portion of Italy aboard an American warship. But his trek back home is jeopardized once more when Nazi bombs force him to jump ship. Once on Italian soil, he continues to move north; is captured by a German soldier who uses him as a translator; and eventually encounters a young woman working in the resistance movement. With her encouragement, the teen learns the intricacies of partisan fighting. Not able to stomach any killing by his own hand, he does his part through the clandestine delivery of ammunition and valuable information. Throughout his ordeal, Roberto's humanity and strength of character overshadow the brutality. Napoli extends the reality of his experiences by leaving an open-ended conclusion in which Roberto reaches his beloved Venice unsure, yet hopeful of who and what he will find. Powerful World War II literature.-Rita Soltan, Youth Services Consultant, West Bloomfield, MI Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A powerful sequel to the superb Stones in Water (1997), this continues the story of Roberto, trying to get back home to Venice after wretched experiences at the hands of the Nazis. Now 14, he has made it back to Italy, only to find his homeland split in two: the republic aligned with the Allies, and the Fascist dictatorship headed by Mussolini and aligned with the Nazis. And as the people become more desperate, more and more join the partigiani. At first, his single-minded quest was to go home, but in a satisfying growth of character, he joins the partisans, and through his involvement, readers will see the horrors of war and the valiant sacrifices made by ordinary citizens. Though there is a bit much of retelling the first novel, thus breaking the spell of this entry, it's a strong, action-packed ode to the Italian resistance movement and, as such, a side of WWII that will fascinate readers. A good match with Barbara Harrison's Theo (1999). (postscript) (Historical fiction. 12-15)

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Donna Jo Napoli was introduced to Dutton by fellow Philadelphia area resident Lloyd Alexander. Dutton promptly published her first middle grade novel, Soccer Shock, in 1991 to critical and popular acclaim.

In 1993, Napoli's versatility became evident with the publication of The Prince of the Pond (1992) which won the New Jersey Reading Association's M. Jerry Weiss Book Award in 1997 andThe Magic Circle (1993). The former, a light fantasy that revisits the frog prince motif, highlights hertalent for humor. The latter, a young adult novel, also revisits a fairy tale ("Hansel and Gretel," in this case), but there the similarities to her humorous books end. In this dark tale told from the point of view of the witch, Napoli tells a tale of outward corruption and inner purity, filled withspellbinding imagery. School Library Journal said, "The strength of Napoli's writing and the clarity of her vision make this story fresh and absorbing. A brilliantly executed novel that is sure to be appreciated by thoughtful readers."

Perhaps Napoli's versatility can be explained in part by her background in linguistics and poetry. She is currently a professor of linguistics and chair of the linguistics program at Swarthmore College, where she also teaches courses in writing fiction for children. In addition to writing forchildren, she is a published poet and coeditor of four poetry volumes.

Donna Jo Napoli is the author of many books, including Soccer Schock(1991), The Prince of the Pond(1992), The Magic Circle (1993), When Water Closes Over My Head(1994), Shark Shock (1994), Jimmy, The Pickpocket of the Palace — the highspirited sequel to The Prince of the Pond, The Bravest Thing (1997), On Guard (1997), Changing Tunes (1998), and also the award-winning novel Zel (1996), a Bulletin Blue Ribbon, School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, and a Publishers Weekly Choice of the Years Best books.Donna Jo Napoli's Stones in Water(1997),is the wrenching novel of a boy caught in a war he hates. It won the Golden Kite Award in 1997.

Donna Jo Napoli lives in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, with her husband Barry and their five children. She has received three degrees from Harvard University: a B.A. in Mathematics, anM.A. in Italian Literature, and a Ph.D. in General and Romance Linguistics. She has taught on the university level since 1970, is widely published in scholarly journals and has received numerous grants and fellowships in the area of linguistics.

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Fire in the Hills 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
QueenRose More than 1 year ago
This book is better than the first. Roberto gets back to Italy but he's not all the way home in Venice yet. He gets involved with the resistence to try to stop the nazis. Roberto also falls inlove with his new friend who is also involved with the resistence. The ending is sad but and yes I was a little disappointed because I felt like there were still questions that needed to be answered. Like did Roberto make it back home? What happens to him when all this is over? I think Napoli should write another sequel to this book. But if you liked Stones in Water you will love this sequel to it.
WriteTheNightAway More than 1 year ago
This book grabs you from the first page and wont let you put it down till you've finished. I didn't read the Stones in Water, which was a prequel to this book, ( I'm going to now) but you really didn't need too. This book stands alone as a great read for all ages. I have no hesitation in recommending this for readers age 12 all the way up to 112..
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My son devoured this book. He had a hard time putting it down to get on the school bus as well as putting it down to go to bed. I was shocked because he is not a big reader and generally does not like fiction. He loved this book. I read it as well and enjoyed it. We actually read this before reading Stones in Water, but we both enjoyed it on it's own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great just fantasic
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Guest More than 1 year ago
After the Stones in Water, which I loved, this sequel was a little disappointing. The ending left quite a few questions unanswered but considering the book it blends right in. I wish she would make a third to follow up what happened.