Gratz (Grenade) delivers a tautly paced and multifaceted portrait of the D-Day invasion. This powerful historical novel begins just before dawn on June 6, 1944, as two American soldiers, 16-year-old Dee, from Philadelphia by way of Germany, and 17-year-old Sid, a Jewish American from New York, plunge from their boats into the chaos of the English Channel to storm the Normandy beaches. The nonstop, alternating narrative traces the invasion from diverse points of view, including French-Algerian Samira, 11, the daughter of a French Resistance member; Cree Indian Lance Corporal Sam, from Quebec; and African-American medic Henry, a 20-year-old corporal from Chicago. Gratz balances the carnage and fear of war with acts of bravery and heroism, and a plotline involving Dee’s status as a German immigrant heightens the tension as he fights against his former homeland and attempts to conceal his heritage. This gripping novel, set in a single day, about a WWII turning point offers memorable insights into the contributions and alliances of everyday people. Ages 8–12. Agent: Holly Root, Root Literary. (Oct.)
Praise for Allies:* "A tour de force of war fiction." Booklist, starred review* "Both an excellent, inclusive narration of important historical events and a fast-paced, entertaining read." Kirkus Reviews, starred review* "A tautly paced and multifaceted portrait. . . . This gripping novel offers memorable insights into the contributions and alliances of everyday people." Publishers Weekly, starred review* "A vivid and detailed snapshot of the D-Day Invasion from multiple complex and diverse characters . . . meticulously researched [and] honest." School Library Journal, starred reviewPraise for Grenade:* "Told by both young men, the story is gripping from start to finish as each encounters ambushes, engages in battles and experiences their devastating aftermath, and mourns the plight of innocent civilians caught in the middle. Impossible to put down, the story unapologetically demonstrates how war affects people emotionally and physically. . . . Action fans will have this flying off the shelves." Booklist, starred review"The plot is suspenseful and the characters sympathetic." Horn Book"Intense and fast-paced, this is a compelling, dark, yet ultimately heartening wartime story." Kirkus Reviews"Gratz (Refugee) depicts the events and fallout of WWII's 'Love Day' while exploring the emotional and cultural damages of war." Publishers Weekly"Chilling." School Library Journal"The book illustrates the horrors of war and the narrators' dual realization that the enemy is a person, too. This is a sad and compelling story that sheds some light on a battle that is rarely mentioned in books written for juvenile readers. . . . Highly Recommended." School Library ConnectionPraise for Refugee:An Amazon Best Book of the YearA Publishers Weekly Best Book of the YearA Kirkus Best Book of the YearA Texas Bluebonnet Master List selection"Unflinching and sympathetic." The New York Times"Grade A: A stunning, poignant novel." Entertainment Weekly"Harrowing, timely." People Magazine"A gripping, visceral, and hold-your-breath intense story." John Green, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Fault in Our Stars* "Gratz accomplishes a feat that is nothing short of brilliant, offering a skillfully wrought narrative laced with global and intergenerational reverberations that signal hope for the future... Poignant, respectful, and historically accurate while pulsating with emotional turmoil, adventure, and suspense." Kirkus Reviews, starred review* "[A] hard-hitting novel... Filled with both tragic loss and ample evidence of resilience, these memorable and tightly plotted stories contextualize and give voice to current refugee crises, underscoring that these journeys are born out of a desperate need for security and safety." Publishers Weekly, starred review"Gratz, who is known for well-written and well-researched historical fiction, doesn't disappoint. His latest is timely and moving... This compelling novel will help young people make sense of today's refugee crisis. Meant to be read, discussed, and shared widely." School Library Journal"Some novels are engaging and some novels are important. Refugee is both." #1 New York Times bestselling author Ruta Sepetys"This heart-stopping novel is not only compelling it is necessary." Judy Blundell, National Book Award-winning author of What I Saw and How I Lied"An incredibly important, heartrending, edge-of-the-seat read, bringing light to the plight of immigrants who search for safety and freedom." Pam Muñoz Ryan, author of the New York Times bestseller and Newbery Honor Book Echo"With urgent, clear-eyed storytelling, Gratz's Refugee compellingly explores the desperation and strength that unites those struggling for a place to call home." Eliot Schrefer, New York Times bestselling author and two-time National Book Award finalist of Rescued and Endangered"Full of struggle, heroism, and non-stop adventure, Refugee is not only an important book, it's a terrific story." Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, author of the New York Times bestseller and Newbery Honor Book The War That Saved My Life"Powerful and compelling. Refugee is a story about what unites us all." Christina Diaz Gonzalez, award-winning author of Moving TargetPraise for Projekt 1065:* "While the book is replete with fascinating historical insight, Gratz has also crafted a suspenseful mystery that will keep readers on the edge of their seats. With short, action-packed chapters, it is a great choice for reluctant readers as well... A winning combination of action, suspense, and historical setting." School Library Journal, starred review* "A rare insider's glimpse into the Hitler Youth: animated, well-researched, and thought-provoking." Kirkus Reviews, starred review"[A] high-action spy thriller." BooklistPraise for Code of Honor:"Readers will be swept up by both the intrigue and the rapid pacing... Kamran is a smart and sympathetic narrator, and readers will be happy to spend time with him in this action-packed thriller." Kirkus Reviews"Exciting, at times ripped from the headlines, and scary, this cinematic work has layers of intrigue and danger in each scene... will appeal to a variety of readers and will raise questions about patriotism, loyalty, and trust... A winner." School Library Journal"Vivid characters and timely topics, such as posttraumatic stress disorder, contribute to making Code of Honor a first-rate novel." Voice of Youth AdvocatesPraise for Prisoner B-3087:A Junior Library Guild SelectionGolden Sower Award, 2014-2015 Winner NebraskaIsinglass Teen Read Award, 2014-2015 Winner New HampshirePennsylvania Young Readers' Choice Award, 2014-2015 WinnerJunior Book Award, 2015-2016 Winner South CarolinaGrand Canyon Reader Award, 2015-2016 Winner ArizonaTruman Readers Award, 2015-2016 Winner MissouriReaders Choice Awards, Winner 2015-2016 VirginiaVolunteer State Book Award Winner, 2015-2016 Tennessee"A powerful story, well told." School Library Journal"A bone-chilling tale not to be ignored." Kirkus Reviews"[A] remarkable survival story." Booklist"Gratz ably conveys... fatalism, yearning, and determination in the face of the unimaginable." Publishers Weekly"Heartbreaking, gripping, raw, and emotional... storytelling at its finest." Voice of Youth Advocates
Gr 4–8-June 6, 1944. D-Day. The Allied Invasion of Nazi-occupied France was the largest and most secretive war operation ever, requiring numerous groups to work together, to be allies, despite numerous differences among them. Dee Carpenter, a young US soldier, hides his German heritage from his Jewish best friend. Samira, an Algerian member of the French Resistance, fights the Nazis because she knows a free Algeria is not possible under Nazi rule. James, a Canadian paratrooper, can't fully explain why he volunteered to fight, but knows there is now no turning back. Henry, a black American medic, must face racism from his allies, all while also trying to save their lives on Omaha Beach. Gratz interweaves these stories and others to provide a vivid and detailed snapshot of the D-day Invasion from multiple complex and diverse characters. Much like Gratz's Refugee, the character point of view changes and allows readers to visualize multiple facets of the invasion. The stories and characters are meticulously researched, honest, and do not avoid the horror of the invasion. As well, despite the historical time setting, the issues the characters face are still timely. VERDICT A complex moment of history is deftly explored. Give to readers who enjoyed Refugee, Gratz's other World War II novels, or Eric Walters's Fly Boy.-Kaetlyn Phillips, Yorkton, Sask.
Gratz (Refugee, 2017, etc.) weaves together fictionalized accounts of individual experiences of D-Day, the "beginning of the end of the Second World War."
The action begins just before dawn on June 6, 1944, and ends near midnight that same day. Six different operations in settings across Europe, each fictionalized with imagined characters but based on true events, exemplify the ordinary people in extraordinary situations who risked or gave their lives to destroy what Gen. Eisenhower styled "the German war machine" and "Nazi tyranny." The narrative moves from scene to scene as the day marches on—a sea invasion, French citizens and Resistance fighters on land, and soldiers arriving by air—but repeatedly returns to Dee, a German fighting on the American side and hiding his German identity from comrades like Sid, a Jewish American determined to wipe out the Germans even as he suffers insults from his peers. The vigorously diverse cast is historically accurate but unusual for a World War II novel, including a young Algerian woman, a white Canadian, a Cree First Nations lance corporal from Quebec, British soldiers, a black American medic, and a Frenchwoman. The horrors of war and the decisions and emotions it entails are presented with unflinching honesty through characters readers can feel for. In the end, all the threads come together to drive home the point that allies are "stronger together."
Both an excellent, inclusive narration of important historical events and a fast-paced, entertaining read. (Historical fiction. 8-12)