Girl in the Blue Coat

Girl in the Blue Coat

5.0 1
by Monica Hesse
     
 

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An unforgettable story of bravery, grief, and love in impossible times

"Girl in the Blue Coat is a powerful, compelling coming-of-age story set against the dark and dangerous backdrop of World War II. It's an important and page-turning look at the choices all of us—including young adults—have to make in wartime. A beautiful

Overview

An unforgettable story of bravery, grief, and love in impossible times

"Girl in the Blue Coat is a powerful, compelling coming-of-age story set against the dark and dangerous backdrop of World War II. It's an important and page-turning look at the choices all of us—including young adults—have to make in wartime. A beautiful combination of heartbreak, loss, young love, and hope." -Kristin Hannah, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Nightingale

"A tapestry of guilt and acceptance, growing responsibility, and reluctant heroism, Hanneke's coming-of-age under heartbreaking circumstances is a jarring reminder of how war consumes and transforms the passions of ordinary life. Every devastating moment of this beautiful novel is both poignant and powerful, and every word feels true." -Elizabeth Wein, New York Times bestselling author of Code Name Verity

Amsterdam, 1943. Hanneke spends her days procuring and delivering sought-after black market goods to paying customers, her nights hiding the true nature of her work from her concerned parents, and every waking moment mourning her boyfriend, who was killed on the Dutch front lines when the Germans invaded. She likes to think of her illegal work as a small act of rebellion.

On a routine delivery, a client asks Hanneke for help. Expecting to hear that Mrs. Janssen wants meat or kerosene, Hanneke is shocked by the older woman's frantic plea to find a person—a Jewish teenager Mrs. Janssen had been hiding, who has vanished without a trace from a secret room. Hanneke initially wants nothing to do with such dangerous work, but is ultimately drawn into a web of mysteries and stunning revelations that lead her into the heart of the resistance, open her eyes to the horrors of the Nazi war machine, and compel her to take desperate action.

Beautifully written, intricately plotted, and meticulously researched, Girl in the Blue Coat is an extraordinary, gripping novel from a bright new voice.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 01/25/2016
In this riveting Holocaust novel, Hesse, a journalist for the Washington Post, brings readers to 1943 Nazi-occupied Amsterdam as teenage Hanneke Bakker learns more than she ever wanted to know about the atrocities committed against her Jewish neighbors. When Hanneke, who supports her family by delivering black market goods, is enlisted by a customer to search for a disappeared 15-year-old Jewish girl named Mirjam, she tries to keep her quest an isolated concern. As Hanneke’s investigation draws her into the web of systematized degradation and brutality afflicting all Jews, she recognizes that refusing to participate in the underground resistance would make her complicit with evil. Hanneke forcefully conveys the tortured emotions of citizens and city: “Fear. That’s right. That was the odor I couldn’t place before. That’s the smell of my beautiful, breaking country.” Themes of guilt and betrayal, ingenuity and courage, and the divisive effect of the occupation on friendship and community weave through a gripping historical mystery in which people and places, including the title character, are often not what they appear. Ages 12–up. Agent: Ginger Clark, Curtis Brown. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
"Girl in the Blue Coat is a powerful, compelling coming-of-age story set against the dark and dangerous backdrop of World War II. It's an important and page-turning look at the choices all of us—including young adults—have to make in wartime. A beautiful combination of heartbreak, loss, young love, and hope."—Kristin Hannah, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Nightingale

"

A tapestry of guilt and acceptance,
growing responsibility, and reluctant heroism, Hanneke's coming-of-age under heartbreaking circumstances is a jarring reminder of how war consumes and transforms the passions of ordinary life. Every devastating moment of this beautiful novel is both poignant and powerful, and every word feels true."
Elizabeth Wein, New York Times bestselling author of Black Dove, White Raven; Rose Under Fire; and the Printz Honor-winning Code Name Verity"

In an occupied city, a young woman's daring transforms into true courage when she confronts a mystifying disappearance. From page one, I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. Enthralling."—Judy Blundell, New York Times bestselling author of Strings Attached and the National Book Award-winning What I Saw and How I Lied"

It's no small feat to bring the past to life, especially a history as dark and desperate as World War II. Monica Hesse does just this with Hanneke's story. Brace yourself, dear reader, to have your heart bruised—and possibly even broken—in the most meaningful of ways."—Ryan Graudin, author of The Walled City and Wolf by Wolf

* "[An] affecting novel...that skillfully combines reality with fiction. Her characters come alive, and...Hesse's pacing infuses her story with thriller suspense, enriching the narrative with dramatic surprises both small and large."—Booklist,

* "riveting... a gripping historical mystery."
Publishers Weekly

* "This fast-paced story is alternately touching, heart-pounding and wrenching-but always gripping. ...a heartrending, moving story."
VOYA

* "a poignant, wonderfully crafted story of love and loss, courage and redemption."
Shelf Awareness"

[an] intelligent and humane historical mystery." —The Wall Street Journal"

The themes of love, betrayal, heroism, social responsibility, and atonement are beautifully intertwined with well-developed characters and a compelling story line. Thoroughly researched, this work brings history alive in a clear and concise way that rings true. A must-read for fans of historical fiction, especially stories set during World War II."
School Library Journal"

Rich in content and emotion, this is a first-rate companion to the historical tales of the onderduikers, the hidden Jews of Holland, and a compelling read"
Kirkus Reviews"

This heartbreaking story of terror and loss sweeps you into a time-is-running-out mystery that delivers plot twists and a shocking final punch that'll haunt you for days."
Justine Magazine

VOYA, February 2016 (Vol. 38, No. 6) - Debbie Wenk
Eighteen-year-old Hanneke is mourning the death of her soldier boyfriend, Bas, and is surviving the German occupation of her native Netherlands by operating in the black market. She is the only support for her parents whose jobs have disappeared. One of her customers pleads for her help in locating Mirjam, a young Jewish girl whom she had been hiding but who has vanished overnight. Hanneke reluctantly agrees to help and finds herself pulled into the Dutch resistance movement. As she becomes more immersed in the resistance, Hanneke comes to grips with her anger and remorse over the loss of her best friend, Elsbeth, who married a handsome, young Nazi soldier and her feelings of guilt concerning Bas’s death. This fast-paced story is alternately touching, heart-pounding and wrenching—but always gripping. Hanneke’s gradual inclusion in the resistance effort is spearheaded by Ollie, Bas’s older brother. Ollie’s presence and the commitment of the other resistance members force Hanneke to examine her own actions and why she agreed to search for Mirjam. Little by little, secrets emerge and Hanneke comes to grips with her losses, of both Bas and Elsbeth. The writing shows meticulous research and allows readers a fascinating look at life in occupied Europe during WWII, but remains a heartrending, moving story. Teens will relish the chance to become acquainted with this brave, flawed heroine and breathlessly tag along on her courageous journey. This author’s debut historical fiction shows great promise and will leave readers eager for more. Reviewer: Debbie Wenk; Ages 11 to 18.
School Library Journal
02/01/2016
Gr 9 Up—In Nazi-occupied Holland, Hanneke seems like an ordinary girl working at a funeral parlor to help support her family during wartime. But her Aryan features and charming smile allow her to work as a courier on the black market smuggling cigarettes, meat, and other unavailable items to paying customers. While Hanneke is not a member of the Dutch resistance, her actions are a direct result of the loss of Bas, her boyfriend. Lying about his age, he enlisted and died on the frontlines during the German invasion. When one of her best customers asks for her assistance in finding a Jewish girl she was hiding, Hanneke is stunned. But soon after, she is drawn into the mysterious disappearance of the girl in the blue coat. What she uncovers as she searches for answers leads her on a journey of self-discovery, self-realization, and redemption. Hesse crafts a thought-provoking and gripping historical novel. The themes of love, betrayal, heroism, social responsibility, and atonement are beautifully intertwined with well-developed characters and a compelling story line. Thoroughly researched, this work brings history alive in a clear and concise way that rings true. VERDICT A must-read for fans of historical fiction, especially stories set during World War II.—Donna Rosenblum, Floral Park Memorial High School, NY
Kirkus Reviews
2015-12-22
A political features writer at the Washington Post turns to teen fiction and delivers the goods. World War II Amsterdam, the world of Anne Frank: because most readers know it through that lens, it's imagined as a claustrophobic, invisible world. Hesse's debut novel turns the story around: "Aryan poster girl" Hanneke spends her days cycling through her occupied city, using the ration cards of the dead to play the black market for her undertaker boss. Hanneke knows things are bad, but her own guilty grief—her boyfriend died in the futile fight against the Nazis, and Hanneke blames herself for pushing him to fight—blinds her. When one of her clients asks her to find a missing Jewish girl, 15 and vanished from Mrs. Janssen's hidden room, Hanneke stumbles into a pocket of the resistance and begins to understand the depths of the horror facing her country and the immensity of the Nazi evil. Hesse's impeccable research meshes almost seamlessly with Hanneke's present-tense narration, bringing the time and place to life. Rich in content and emotion, this is a first-rate companion to the historical tales of the onderduikers, the hidden Jews of Holland, and a compelling read despite its mildly rose-tinted resolution. Shelve this one beside resistance tales like Elizabeth Wein's Code Name Verity (2012) and read next to a box of tissues. (Historical fiction. 12 & up)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780316260602
Publisher:
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
04/05/2016
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
22,338
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.30(d)
Lexile:
720L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Monica Hesse is an author and journalist with The Washington Post. She lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband and their dog.

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Girl in the Blue Coat 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Reading_With_Cupcakes 7 months ago
World War 2 historical fiction books are not in short supply. There are quite a few of them out there, a lot of which I haven't read. However, I have read some really great ones - ones that most everyone else has heard of. You know the ones I am talking about - The Book Thief...Sarah's Key... And so many more. They are powerful, emotional, and intense. Girl in the Blue Coat belongs right up there with all of them. It is a story that is going to stick with you once you finish it. Girl in the Blue Coat is about Hanneke. Hanneke is the main provider for her family despite being a teenager. However, where her parents assume she is working a fair and honest job, she is in fact working for an underground black market. She is the middle man. She is the one who will either go get the desired hard to find item, or she is the one that will deliver it. Cigarettes, chocolate, and all the other hard to get "luxury" items that have become hard to find. Then one day, one of her regulars asks her to find something different. Hanneke is asked to find a missing girl. However, she isn't just any missing girl...she is a Jewish missing girl in the middle of the Netherlands while it is occupied by the Germans. Not a good place to be missing. Hanneke then goes against her better judgement and begins to hunt for the missing girl in the blue coat. And through this journey, the story unfolds into its full glory. Through Girl in the Blue Coat we learn a lot about the Netherlands while it was occupied by the Germans in World War 2. I found this very interesting. Not many stories I have come across have showed this particular country and what it was like then. The fears of the people, both the Jewish and others. The way friends can get torn apart because of war. The loss of loved ones... Girl in the Blue Coat really covered a lot and it covered it beautifully. Well, as beautifully as one can cover something as horrific as World War 2. And even though it is technically historical fiction, I still felt as though I learned a lot from the story. It opened my eyes to a lot of different aspects of World War 2 and for that I am thankful. This is a story that I think any World War 2 historical fiction buff needs to add to their TBR if they haven't already. And be ready to suffer from many many feels. It is worth it though. My Rating 5 Stars Find more of my reviews here: http://readingwithcupcakes.blogspot.com/ This review is based on an ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
Hanneke thought she was rebel. Hanneke thought her actions against the Communist were disastrous to their realm but her actions were only a fraction of what was really happening behind the scenes. I loved it when she finally realized the magnitude of the operations that individuals were doing to diffuse the system that the Germans were trying to put into place. She was confused, overwhelmed and she knew that she would never be able to erase the events and information that she had received. She wanted to know yet she was afraid of knowing. They wanted Hanneke to be a part of their operations for she had talent that they can use yet Hanneke isn’t sure if she wanted to join this large of an organization. Working trades on the black market is a job that she liked just fine. Hanneke is approached by one of her clients to find Mirjam, a girl who her client had hidden in her home. Dealing only in goods, Hanneke denies the request but later decides that finding this Jew, might be the one thing she can do in this mixed up world that she is living in. It’s not an easy request as Hanneke must learn about Mirjam’s life and then pieces together her actions. Where did Mirjam go? There are so many options to consider under the circumstances and Hanneke must consider them all. Did she move to another hiding spot, has someone taken her, did she run away completely or is she slated for deportation? It was a great journey that I took with Hanneke as she searched for Mirjam. Her search leading me into interesting avenues as I heard fantastic stories about individuals whose lives had been changed because of caring individuals and because people let power control their heart. Hanneke had her own demons that followed her on her journey. Bas, his life was taken from him too soon and Hanneke carried this guilt with her. I felt for Hanneke as the story of Bas unfolded. I understood the weight that she carried and her zeal for life. Moving forward will be hard, but mourning forever will not be the answer. She mourns the life of her best friend Elsbeth. Still living, these two girls are no longer close and it’s as if she is no longer there. These two girls are divided because of the war and I could feel the loneliness and the sadness in Hanneke as she moved about her day. I wanted Hanneke to feel connected to someone, to feel the excitement that should come with the excitement of being alive and having another day of freedom. She should have someone to share that with and not be alone, I felt for her. I enjoyed the author’s writing; I felt it reflected that time in history, the oppression, the tone and the sullenness of the times. Another great historical fiction novel. 4.5 stars
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a book that all should read.