Playing with Matches

Playing with Matches

4.5 11
by Lee Strauss
     
 

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From best selling author Lee Strauss!

***Inspired by true events***
**Available in German as Gefährliche Zettel**

"One of the best YA books I've read in a long time, Playing with Matches grabs you from page one and whisks you back to 1938 Germany. It's rare that I get so engrossed in a story that I feel as if I'm actually there. I have always

Overview

From best selling author Lee Strauss!

***Inspired by true events***
**Available in German as Gefährliche Zettel**

"One of the best YA books I've read in a long time, Playing with Matches grabs you from page one and whisks you back to 1938 Germany. It's rare that I get so engrossed in a story that I feel as if I'm actually there. I have always wondered what it must have been like for those citizens of Germany who knew something wasn't quite right. Using actual real-life stories from those who lived through it, Lee Strauss paints a bleak picture of fear and survival. Her characters seem real and jump right off the page." - Steven Davenport

"This book is an extremely heartbreaking and realistic look at World War II from a different perspective, from someone in Hitler's Army that doesn't want to be there. We so often hear about the atrocities that fell on the Jewish, but there isn't as much literature about everyday life for the non-Jewish Germans, especially those that didn't agree with Hitler.Told from the perspective of a child growing into a young adult at the worst time possible, this is a great read for teens as well as adults." - Valerie A. Baute

Heinz Schultz's word could send a man to prison. Though only a youth of fifteen, he was strong, tall, and blond. The boys in his Deutsches Jungvolk unit esteemed him and feared him.
And they wanted to be just like him.
Emil Radle wanted to be just like him.

A dedicated member of Hitler Youth, Emil was loyal to the Fuehrer before family, a champion for the cause and a fan of the famous Luftwaffe Air force.
Then one day the soldiers rounded up the Jews. Outlawed their music, burned their books. Still...it must be for the betterment of the Fatherland, right?
Emil's friends Moritz and Johann discover a shortwave radio and everything changes. Now they listen to the forbidden BBC broadcast of news reports that tell both sides. Now they know the truth.
The boys along with Johann's sister Katharina, band together to write out the reports and covertly distribute flyers through their city. It's an act of high treason that could have them arrested--or worse.
As the war progresses, so does Emil's affection for Katharina. He'd do anything to have a normal life and to stay in Passau by her side. But when Germany's losses become immense, even their greatest resistance can't prevent the boys from being sent to the Eastern Front.

Keywords: World War 2 fiction, Hitler Youth, resistance groups, The White Rose, life in Nazi Germany, Nazis, Eastern Front, fear, war, violence, child soldiers, hunger, blackouts, bombings, raids, Luftwaffe, airforce, love and romance, teen romance, family issues, siblings, sacrifice, friendships, propaganda, hope, prayer, faith

Editorial Reviews

Valerie A. Baute
This book is an extremely heartbreaking and realistic look at World War II from a different perspective, from someone in Hitler's Army that doesn't want to be there. We so often hear about the atrocities that fell on the Jewish, but there isn't as much literature about everyday life for the non-Jewish Germans, especially those that didn't agree with Hitler. Told from the perspective of a child growing into a young adult at the worst time possible, this is a great read for teens as well as adults
Steven Davenport
One of the best YA books I've read in a long time, Playing with Matches grabs you from page one and whisks you back to 1938 Germany. It's rare that I get so engrossed in a story that I feel as if I'm actually there. I have always wondered what it must have been like for those citizens of Germany who knew something wasn't quite right. Using actual real-life stories from those who lived through it, Lee Strauss paints a bleak picture of fear and survival. Her characters seem real and jump right off
Ace Quimby
This was a wonderful and yet terribly sad story about a boy in Germany who desperately wants to love his country and yet, as WWII begins and he sees the atrocities around him, he is forced to decide what is truly, morally right. And yet, even as he and his friends fight for what that believe in, he also learns about the simple struggle to survive. So many stories about WWII talk about the trials of the Allies. This book is about the trials of the Germans. But it is not sympathetic to the Nazis.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940148118800
Publisher:
ESB Publishing
Publication date:
02/17/2014
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
316
Sales rank:
143,785
File size:
731 KB

Meet the Author

Lee Strauss is the international bestselling author of A Nursery Rhyme Suspense Series (Mystery Sci-fi Romantic Suspense), The Perception Series (young adult dystopian), and young adult historical fiction. She is the married mother of four children, and divides her time between Canada and Germany. When she's not writing or reading she likes to cycle, hike and kayak. She enjoys traveling (but not jet lag :0), almond lattes, red wine and dark chocolate.

She also writes younger YA fantasy as Elle Strauss and inspirational romance as Hope Franke.

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Playing with Matches 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Imagine being taught that a certain class of people are evil and a threat to your very way of life. Imagine growing up idolizing the people who helped eradicate that threat from your country. Now imagine learning that everything you thought was true, was good, was actually a lie. Playing With Matches does something I haven't seen before. It tells the story of the Holocaust from the point of view of German boys growing up wanting to join the Nazi army. They are part of the Hitler Youth and believe in everything the Fuehrr says......until they find a shortwave radio and hear BBC  broadcasts telling the story from both side of the war.  This is a very emotional story that gives you a glimpse of what it was like growing up as a German child during the time of the Holocaust. When you think about the Holocaust it is very easy to forget that many Germans in Germany at the time of Holocaust were just normal people who trusted in  their leader to guide them. They weren't hateful people who were just set on destroying the Jews. They truly believed in what he said, especially the younger generation.  Reading this book really made you think about what it must have been like to have believed in a cause so strongly and admire someone so much only to find out that they were lying and things weren't as they seemed. That can be a very devastating thing for anyone. I really enjoyed this book for many reasons but one of the  biggest reasons is because even though this book is set during the Holocaust, the emotions of the characters are still relevant today.  Imagine being taught that a certain class of people are evil and a threat to your very way of life. Imagine growing up idolizing the people who helped eradicate that threat from your country. Now imagine learning that everything you thought was true, was good, was actually a lie Playing With Matches does something I haven't seen before. It tells the story of the Holocaust from the point of view of German boys growing up wanting to join the Nazi army. They are part of the Hitler Youth and believe in everything the Fuehrr says......until they find a shortwave radio and hear BBC broadcasts telling the story from both side of the war.  This is a very emotional story that gives you a glimpse of what it was like growing up as a German child during the time of the Holocaust. When you think about the Holocaust it is very easy to forget that many Germans in Germany at the time of Holocaust were just normal people who trusted in  their leader to guide them. They weren't hateful people who were just set on destroying the Jews. They truly believed in what he said, especially the younger generation.  Reading this book really made you think about what it must have been like to have believed in a cause so strongly and admire someone so much only to find out that they were lying and things weren't as they seemed.  That can be a very devastating thing for anyone. I really enjoyed this book for many reasons but one of the biggest reasons is because even though this book is set during the Holocaust, the emotions of the characters are still relevant today.  These characters could have lost their lives after they decided to covertly spread the word to their community that Hitler was a liar and that things were not as they seemed. Their bravery is very admirable and inspiring. These young people risked everything to help other disillusioned Germans learn the truth. The writing in this book is phenomenal and I cannot wait to read the sequel! 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed this book. Never realized how desperate Germany was by the end of the war, sending children into battle. Definitely worth the read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an amazing book about Germany's point of veiw in WWII, what Hitler was hiding, and what happened behind the scenes. You think you know what happened, but you will see what Emil had to face. This book is a historical fiction, tradgedy, and a wonder.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very good book, very well written
Nook_Reader57 More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Over my lifetime wartime Germany has been a reality for me. My father was part of the US military in Germany during the Occupation. For me the country has been one of contrasts: great natural beauty, pride, endurance, justice, and confusion. Five year olds are not aware of war, but amazed by the events in their lives. But yet the war was always present. It was the reason I lived in Germany. This book according to the reviews describes the resistance to Hitler, Yes, it did exist, but a very dangerous reality for all who did not agree with Hitler. One word or action observed by the Reich was death and imprisonment it was a life of terror for all. THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PAJAMAS and THE BOOK are other stories that tell of this time and the effect on children in Europe during the Reich. I recommend them, I have added this nook to my NOOK and plan to read it soon.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed this book. I read different books about Germany during the war based on historical fiction. A good read. 
hawkeye54 More than 1 year ago
Not everyone in Germany believed in the Nazi dream. There were those who saw more and understood the propaganda's purpose. This story starts out with a few brave individuals standing up to the system, then seems to change halfway thru as the Nazi war machine pulls them into the war. A worthwhile read to see how the German citizens lived and died with the war efforts.
kirstyviz More than 1 year ago
In my opinion, Playing With Matches is a story that has been waiting to be told. Books about the Jewish experience of World War Two, whether fiction or non-fiction, are well-known and I am sure that the majority of people reading this review have come across The Diary of Anne Frank or Schindler’s Ark. I think because of this there is an assumption that the lives of ordinary German people were full of unicorns and rainbows – until this book. Lee Strauss writes Playing With Matches with so much realism that we can believe that the Radles, Schwarzes and Ackermanns actually existed. We are constantly reminded that Passau is only a small community, set apart from Berlin and Munich, yet the town is still progressively torn apart by Hitler and his Lebensraum objective. The novel is initially an uncomfortable read. The story’s main character, Emil, is a member of Deutsches Jungvolk; unknowing pawns in Hitler’s plan to spread his hatred for anyone outside his ideal human model, “all important accomplishments in art, science and technology have been made by the Nordic or Aryan race. Therefore, this is clearly the only race of culture founders.” Though I think we want to despise Emil and his reproduced chants, there are moments at which he redeems himself, particularly when he goes against everything he has been told and helps his friends Anne. Emil’s character develops greatly over the course of the story and he shows us that duty is different than acceptance. Lee Strauss helps us to understand how Germany’s citizens were controlled by the propaganda fed to them by Joseph Goebbels. It is not until Emil and his friends, Moritz and Johann hear an illegal BBC broadcast that they realise the damage the war is causing to their country. Playing With Matches is a sometimes difficult journey in which Lee Strauss effectively reveals the horrors of the Second World War. Although it is told in third-person narrative, concentrating on Emil and those close to him, the author does not ignore the appalling treatment of the Jews and non-Aryans. Playing With Matches often led me speechless and sobbing, but I think this is a very important text which can teach readers, no matter their age, about hatred, prejudice, corruption of power and suffering. I received this as a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Post this on three other books to win money