A New York Public Library Best Book for Teens of 2016
An Entertainment Weekly Best YA Book of 2016
A Booklist Best Young Adult Book of 2016
An Edgar Award Nominee for Best Young Adult Novel 2017
A Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People Selection 2017
"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 usincluding young adultshave 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 bruisedand possibly even brokenin 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."
* "This fast-paced story is alternately touching, heart-pounding and wrenching-but always gripping. ...a heartrending, moving story."
* "A poignant, wonderfully crafted story of love and loss, courage and redemption."
"[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"
"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."
"A moving immersion into life in WWII."
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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.)
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
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)