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Rose Under Fire

Rose Under Fire

4.5 19
by Elizabeth Wein

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While flying an Allied fighter plane from Paris to England, American ATA pilot and amateur poet, Rose Justice, is captured by the Nazis and sent to Ravensbr ck, the notorious women's concentration camp. Trapped in horrific circumstances, Rose finds hope in the impossible through the loyalty, bravery and friendship of her fellow prisoners. But will that be enough to


While flying an Allied fighter plane from Paris to England, American ATA pilot and amateur poet, Rose Justice, is captured by the Nazis and sent to Ravensbr ck, the notorious women's concentration camp. Trapped in horrific circumstances, Rose finds hope in the impossible through the loyalty, bravery and friendship of her fellow prisoners. But will that be enough to endure the fate that's in store for her?

Elizabeth Wein, author of the critically-acclaimed and best-selling Code Name Verity, delivers another stunning WWII thriller. The unforgettable story of Rose Justice is forged from heart-wrenching courage, resolve, and the slim, bright chance of survival.

Selected praise for Rose Under Fire:"

Wein's unself-consciously important story is timeless, ageless and triumphant." -The Los Angeles Times "

Wein's second World War II adventure novel captures poignantly the fragility of hope and the balm forgiveness offers." -The New York Times

* "[Wein] has crafted another indelible story about friendship borne out of unimaginable adversity." -Publishers Weekly, starred review

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[T]he author manages the neat trick of both conveying an enormous amount of historical information while also providing a nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat plot peopled with vivid, imperfect and believable characters."
RT Book Reviews"

[A]n impressive story of wartime female solidarity."—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books"

The horror of the camp, with its medical experimentation on Polish women-called Rabbits-is ably captured. Yet, along with the misery, Wein also reveals the humanity that can surface, even in the worst of circumstances." —Booklist"

Wein's second World War II adventure novel - the first, "Code Name Verity," was highly praised last year - captures poignantly the fragility of hope and the balm forgiveness offers."—The New York Times"

Rose Under Fire' is bound to soar into the promised land of young adult books read by actual adults-and deservedly so, because Wein's unself-consciously important story is timeless, ageless and triumphant."—The Los Angeles Times

* "At once heartbreaking and hopeful, Rose Under Fire will stay with readers long after they have finished the last page."—VOYA, starred review

* "In plot and character this story is consistently involving, a great, page-turning read; just as impressive is how subtly Wein brings a respectful, critical intelligence to her subject."—The Horn Book, starred review

* "Readers will connect with Rose and be moved by her struggle to go forward, find her wings again, and fly."—School Library Journal, starred review

* "Wein excels at weaving research seamlessly into narrative and has crafted another indelible story about friendship borne out of unimaginable adversity."—Publishers Weekly, starred review

* "[A]lthough the story's action follows [Code Name Verity]'s, it has its own, equally incandescent integrity. Rich in detail, from the small kindnesses of fellow prisoners to harrowing scenes of escape and the Nazi Doctors' Trial in Nuremburg, at the core of this novel is the resilience of human nature and the power of friendship and hope."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Schneider Family Book Award, Best Teen Book, 2014

Top Ten YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults, 2014
New York Times Notable Children's Books of 2013
Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2013
School Library Journal's Best Books of 2013
Publishers Weekly Best Children's Books of 2013
The Children's Book Review Best Young Adult Novels of 2013
NPR Best Books of 2013
BookPage Best Children's Books of 2013
Goodreads Choice for Best Young Adult Book of 2013 nominee
CILIP Carnegie Medal 2014 nominee
A Junior Library Guild Selection
2014 Tayshas List Selection
[London] Times Best Books of the Year
Costa Children's Book Award finalist


*"[A] taut, riveting thriller. Readers will be left gasping for the finish, desperate to know how it ends."—School Library Journal (starred review)


For me, Code Name Verity is the best of both worlds: an exciting, well-researched masterpiece of historical fiction with a contemporary sensibility....It brought me to tears to realize that I'll never be able to read it again for the first time. That is how powerful a story this is."—Richie's Picks


The word crossover appears many times on publisher information sheets, but this is the real deal. An incredibly assured debut novel, full of convincing detail, heart-stopping emotion and tension. I have high hopes for Code Name Verity."—The Bookseller


It has been a while since I was so captivated by a character in YA fiction Code Name Verity is one of those rare things: an exciting-and affecting-female adventure story."—The Guardian


A fiendishly plotted mind game of a novel, the kind you have to read twice."—The New York Times


Maddie and Verity's extraordinary bravery is reflected in frank narrative as they both fight against time and a horrific, powerful enemy...The themes of hope, friendship, and determination even in the most impossible situations are relevant to all readers."—VOYA


The unforgettable Code Name Verity played with my mind, and then it ripped out my heart."—Nancy Werlin, New York Times best-selling author


I closed this book feeling I'd met real people I'd never forget. Code Name Verity's characters don't just stick with me-they haunt me. I just can't recommend this book enough."—Maggie Stiefvater, author of the New York Times best-selling Shiver trilogy, The Scorpio Races & Books of Faerie


This astonishing tale of friendship and truth will take wing and soar into your heart."—Laurie Halse Anderson, New York Times best-selling author of Speak, Fever 1793 and Wintergirls


* "If you pick up this book, it will be some time before you put your dog-eared, tear-stained copy back down."—Booklist (starred review)


*"A carefully researched, precisely written tour de force; unforgettable and wrenching."—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)


*"This novel positively soars."—The Horn Book (starred review)


*"[An] innovative spy tale built to be savored."—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review)


*"A riveting and often brutal tale of WWII action and espionage with a powerful friendship at its core. [an] expertly crafted adventure."—Publishers Weekly, starred review

The New York Times Book Review - Jessica Bruder
Wein's second World War II adventure novel…captures poignantly the fragility of hope and the balm forgiveness offers.
Publishers Weekly
This companion to Wein's Printz Honor- and Edgar-winning Code Name Verity introduces Rose Justice, a Pennsylvania teenager and volunteer civilian pilot during WWII. Rose is ferrying a Spitfire back to England from France for the Royal Air Force when she is captured by Nazis and sent to Ravensbruck, the women's concentration camp. Designated a "skilled" worker, Rose is assigned to a factory; when she realizes that she's making bomb fuses, she stops working. Two brutal beatings later, she is reassigned to the high-security unit at the camp, where she is taken under the wing of the "Rabbits"--Polish political prisoners whose bodies have been horrifically abused by Nazi doctors for medical experimentation. Because Rose recounts her capture and imprisonment after the fact, in a journal, initially for cathartic purposes, her story doesn't have the same harrowing suspense of Code Name Verity, but it's no less intense and devastating. Eventually, Rose realizes the true purpose of the journal is to fulfill the promise she made to her Ravensbruck sisters: to tell the world what happened there. Wein excels at weaving research seamlessly into narrative and has crafted another indelible story about friendship borne out of unimaginable adversity. Ages 14-up. Agent: Ginger Clark, Curtis Brown. (Sept.)
VOYA - Raluca Topliceanu
Rose Under Fire successfully creates a realistic portrayal of not only the war, but also the status of women and the horror lived by those confined to bleak concentration camps during WWII. Characters are not only memorable; they refuse to be forgotten after the last words have been read, and they have readers betting on them every step of the way. Reviewer: Raluca Topliceanu, Teen Reviewer
VOYA - Sara Martin
In this companion novel to the best-selling Code Name Verity (Hyperion, 2012/Voya April 2012), Wein returns to the World War II setting, but this time focuses primarily on a single character—Rose Justice—who is captured by the Nazis. Rose Under Fire is the harrowing story of her fight to survive in Ravensbruck—a women's concentration camp. This novel picks up eight months after the end of Code Name Verity. Rose is an American pilot and friends with Maddie, who is still struggling with the death of her best friend, Queenie. Although Rose Under Fire could be read on its own, readers who are already connected to the beloved characters by having read the first book will have an immediate connection to Rose, and will be more quickly drawn into the story. Rose details most of her experiences in journal format, as did Queenie, but also frames much of her tale around snippets of poetry, some of which she writes herself. Descriptions of camp life, in particular the horrific treatment of the "rabbits"—prisoners that were tortured under the guise of medical experimentation—are vividly and brutally detailed. Supporting characters, including the villains, are fully drawn and multidimensional; Wein never reduces them to simple stereotypes. Rose Under Fire is possibly more straight-forward and faster-paced than Code Name Verity, but it also packs an even greater emotional punch. At once heartbreaking and hopeful, Rose Under Fire will stay with readers long after they have finished the last page. Reviewer: Sara Martin
Children's Literature - Paula McMillen
This is billed as a “companion novel” to the award winning book, Code Name Verity. Rose Justice is working for the ATA (Air Transport Auxiliary) in 1944, delivering planes from the factory to airfields where they are needed, or taking planes from their fields into repair facilities. Even though Rose is only eighteen years old and American, she has been flying since she was twelve years old, because her father owns a flight school. As soon as she graduates high school, she starts pressuring her Uncle Roger, an engineer in the British military, to get her this job and now she is here. She has more flight experience than many of the young men flying into combat, but women are not allowed to be combat pilots. When the Allies land at Normandy and start pushing the lines back toward Germany, her Uncle persuades the powers that be to let Rose deliver him to France where he supervises the building of temporary bridges. On the way home from this assignment, Rose spies a V-1 rocket and, relying on conversations she has had with other pilots, successfully disrupts the rocket’s course sending it prematurely to the ground before it reaches its target. However, in the process, she gets way off course, is found by two Luftwaffe planes and taken back to Germany where she eventually ends up in the notorious women’s concentration camp, Ravensbrück. The bulk of the book is her remembered account of what she endured during her six months imprisonment before she escaped with two other prisoners. It is both a heartbreaking and heart-warming story. Prisoners endure not just cold and starvation and beatings and often death, but they are daily submitted to the greatest humiliations and dehumanizing conditions, e.g., being given two shoes of differing sizes to wear, having to stand for hours and even days in the freezing cold as punishment while their bodily waste runs down their legs. In spite of the conditions, or because of them, they defend each other fiercely and often take life-threatening chances to hide those who have been selected for execution. Based on extensive research, no holds are barred in describing the treatment in the camp, so this book should be recommended with caution, but it is a compelling story of human resilience in the face of absolutely overwhelming challenges. The author provides a list of source materials including those with primary source materials (interviews with survivors) and one with a teaching guide. Reviewer: Paula McMillen, Ph.D.; Ages 14 up.
School Library Journal
★ 10/01/2013
Gr 8 Up—This companion novel to Wein's Code Name Verity (Hyperion, 2012) tells a very different World War II story, with a different pilot. Rose Justice, an American, has grown up flying, and when she is given the opportunity to ferry planes to support the war effort in England in 1944, she jumps at the chance. It is during one of her missions that she purposefully knocks an unmanned V-1 flying bomb out of the sky and is captured by Nazi airmen. Once on the ground, she is taken to the infamous women's concentration camp, Ravensbrück. She is first treated as a "skilled" worker, but once she realizes that her job will be to put together fuses for flying bombs, she refuses to do it, is brutally beaten, and is then sent to live with the political prisoners. Once she's taken under the wing of the Polish "Rabbits"-young women who suffered horrible medical "experiments" by Nazi doctors-she faces a constant struggle to survive. After a daring escape, she recounts her experience in a journal that was given to her by her friend, Maddie, the pilot from Code Name Verity, weaving together a story of unimaginable suffering, loss, but, eventually, hope. Throughout her experience, Rose writes and recites poetry, and it is through these poems, some heartbreaking, some defiant, that she finds her voice and is able to "tell the world" her story and those of the Rabbits. While this book is more introspective than its predecessor, it is no less harrowing and emotional. Readers will connect with Rose and be moved by her struggle to go forward, find her wings again, and fly.—Necia Blundy, formerly at Marlborough Public Library, MA
Kirkus Reviews
After a daring attempt to intercept a flying bomb, a young American pilot ferrying planes during World War II is captured by the Nazis in this companion to Printz Honor–winning Code Name Verity (2012). After being brutally punished for her refusal to make fuses for flying bombs and having "more or less forgotten who [she] was," Rose is befriended by Polish "Rabbits," victims of horrific medical experimentation. She uses "counting-out rhymes" to preserve her sanity and as a way to memorize the names of the Rabbits. Rose's poetry, a panacea that's translated and passed through the camp, is at the heart of the story, revealing her growing understanding of what's happening around her. As the book progresses, Wein masterfully sets up a stark contrast between the innocent American teen's view of an untarnished world and the realities of the Holocaust, using slices of narrative from characters first encountered in the previous book. Recounting her six months in the Ravensbrück concentration camp through journal entries and poems, Rose honors her commitment to tell the world of the atrocities she witnessed. Readers who want more Code Name Verity should retool their expectations; although the story's action follows the earlier book's, it has its own, equally incandescent integrity. Rich in detail, from the small kindnesses of fellow prisoners to harrowing scenes of escape and the Nazi Doctors' Trial in Nuremburg, at the core of this novel is the resilience of human nature and the power of friendship and hope. (Historical fiction. 14 & up)

Product Details

Disney Press
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Elizabeth Wein (www.elizabethwein.com) was born in New York City, grew up abroad, and currently lives in Scotland with her husband and two children. She is an avid flyer of small planes. She also holds a PhD in Folklore from the University of Pennsylvania.

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Rose Under Fire 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
MNMima More than 1 year ago
So important a book that my 15 year old granddaughter will be reading it next...in my presence. Although this book starts off slowly, it takes off like a shot and doesn't let you down. Rose grew up in America, and has been piloting planes since age 12, and writing poems all her life. When England enters WW2, the 18 year old needs to do something. She enlists the help of her British uncle to help the war effort by ferrying unarmed planes for repair around England, and later into France. When she is captured by German pilots, she finds herself imprisoned as a member of the "French Resistance" in Ravensbruck. There she lives with the "Rabbits", young women who were subjected to horrific medical experimentation. The experiences and emotions are very realistic. Rose uses her writing gift to describe her experiences and to entertain her fellow prisoners. In the process, she also educates the readers. Wonderful book
EverAfterEsther More than 1 year ago
Historical fiction was the genre that convinced me I loved reading, specifically historical fiction during World War II. Reading Lois Lowry's Number the Stars was a life-changing experience for me. It makes sense that this is still the type of book I hold closely to my heart, and I don't think it's surprising that I loved Code Name Verity so much. Nor is it a surprise that Rose Under Fire made me feel the same way. I also think it's timely that I'm publishing my review for this book on Remembrance Day. After all, Rose does say that she'll tell the world, doesn't she? Rose Under Fire is so much more than a story, it's a reminder to us all that we can't ever forget. And the reason we can't ever forget is because we have so much to learn from this story, and while Rose's story is fictional the circumstances are not. Reasons to Read: 1. Rose's story is timely: Every year that passes is another year that we've moved further away from World War II. And every year I wonder if this means that we're one step closer to forgetting. I sincerely hope not. This is why stories like this are so important, because it gives those of us who have never truly experienced war firsthand one method of understanding and empathizing. I believe there is something critical in remembrance. 2. The value of friendship: The one aspect of Rose Under Fire that stood out to me was Rose's experience in Ravensbruck. I thought it would be so full of despair that it would crush me, and I had to set the book aside for a while because of that. And of course it's heartbreaking. But the bonds Rose makes with the women she meets in the concentration camp are so unexpected and shockingly optimistic. I think that really says something about the difference a friend can make in a dark place. 3. Elizabeth Wein's strength as a writer: I struggled through the first half of Code Name Verity. But I finished it (and loved it) and I had an idea of what to expect when I started reading Rose Under Fire. But Rose Under fire is a very different book, because Rose is a very different character with another perspective. Rose's character change is subtle from the beginning of the book to its end, and that can be credited to Elizabeth Wein's talent. The story isn't merely written so much as it is delicately crafted.  While Rose Under Fire is more of a companion to Code Name Verity than a sequel, but there are a few pieces of the story that I think are best appreciated if you've already read Code Name Verity.  Review copy received from Random House Canada for review; no other compensation was received. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was perfect. You hear about these horrific Nazi camps all the time during history class, but you never realize how awful they actually were. This book is just as good as Code Name Verity, and I loved it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
as a follow-up to the beautiful and lyrical code name verity, rose under fire pulls the reader along on a wonderfully dovetailed sequel. RUF is just as spellbinding as CNV, and just as un-put-down-able. wein's painstaking detail gives a clear, vivid, occasionally sickening picture of life in a concentration camp, along with flashes of happier, lovelier times. highly recommend!!
shanbritts More than 1 year ago
Very Good Read, you will not be disappointed - I loved it!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Elizabeth Wein has hit the jackpot writing kickass female characters in terrible wartime circumstances, and after reading “Rose Under Fire,” I’m sure not going to complain. A sort of companion novel to “Code Name Verity,” in that a few of the characters share screen time, “Rose Under Fire” features Rose Justice, an American transfer pilot who ends up interred at Ravensbruck concentration camp. One of the tactics Wein uses to great effect is the same epistolary format as “Verity,” which allows readers to learn about the events of the story after they’ve already unfolded. That said, the opening and closing sections are told in real time and recounted as they happen, but don’t comprise the meat of the story. That distinction belongs to the middle section, where we see Rose and her fellow prisoners turned allies struggling to survive in the dangerous, depleted women’s branch of Ravensbruck in the final stages of the war. The character personalities and interactions here were what made the story for me. I loved the variety of women presented on the page here. Old, young, formerly rich, formerly poor, some with families they worried about, some whose only family consisted of fellow prisoners. Stubborn and sacrificial and loyal and endlessly creative. One of the things I loved about each and every one of the named women was their almost easy bravery in a situation that was the opposite of easy. They never hesitated to step in and help each other, to hide fellow prisoners or move people throughout the camp in order to keep them alive a few more days. They took endless risks for each other and bolstered each other’s spirits in silly, familiar, universal ways. Even though the body count wasn’t as high as other concentration camp novels I’ve read, the characters are so REAL that every loss tears at you. Close as V-day was then, it wasn’t quite close enough for all of them. The poetry included throughout only hammers the inevitability of mortality home. Some of it written by Rose, some quoted from modern (at the time) poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, all of it a heartbreaking reflection on war and death and the people affected by both. One of the other unique qualities of ‘Rose’ was its thorough discussion of the medical experimentation that so many prisoners were subjected to. It’s an excellent marker of how well-researched a novel is when some of the details casually included within the context of other scenes turn your stomach. I even appreciated the leap ahead to the Nuremberg trials and the participation of many characters that made up the final part of the novel. Nuremberg is taught so widely in history classes but so often over-looked, that discussing the impact of the trials felt like a fitting tie-in to a story whose theme was “tell the world.” I actually liked “Rose Under Fire” more than “Code Name Verity.” Don’t get me wrong, both are fantastic additions to the World War II genre–which hadn’t found much of a purchase within the YA readership until recently. There aren’t any marked differences between them that account for my preference. For me, the line between good historical fiction and great historical fiction lies in where the story resonates and the magnitude to which it does. And “Rose Under Fire” is great historical fiction. Definitely give this one a look.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It truly is one of the best historical book about the Holocaust I have read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This companion novel for Code Name Verity is really good even though it's not quite as good as the  first one.  I love the characters and plot line but missed some of the elements that made Code Name  Verity truly exceptional.  I still recommend Rose Under Fire, though.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Stories of WWII are my favorite topic to read about. What I love most is fiction stories adapted from actual facts. This book captures this perfectly. In a beautiful, heartfelt story written about an American Pilot trapped in a concentration camp, this story educated the reader about a lesser known camp and the tortured that lied within. The story never became boring. It was filled with vivid details. I cringed, I cried, I laughed, and prayed for the characters in this story. Moving beyond words, I would recommend this story to anyone. It is one of the greatest books I've ever read.
Jon_Levy More than 1 year ago
This was an incredibly powerful book.  It describes the Nazi concentration camp experience in a way that almost imparts the smell of the place as you read, without getting so graphic that you don't want to continue reading (an experience I've had with another book about a concentration camp).  But more than anything it was the description of what the person who had been in the concentration camp had to go through after she had been liberated, and so was safe, to begin to feel safe and like a human being again, that was so gut-wrenching.  I don't think that I will ever forget what the protagonist in this story went through; I think that it has changed my life.
Books4Tomorrow More than 1 year ago
Having read the wonderful Code Name Verity, I really looked forward to reading Rose Under Fire. Though not quite as brilliant as its prequel, this is a wonderfully researched and often heartbreaking tale in its own right. In a desperate, if slightly impulsive effort to possibly save Paris from a flying bomb, Rose Justice is caught by the German Luftwaffe and sent to Ravensbrück concentration camp. During this life-changing period she meets the Rabbits: Polish victims of Nazi human experimentation. Together with several others Rose resolves to get out of the camp and tell the world about these atrocities perpetrated by the Nazis. Rose, the main character, is a girl who knows what she wants, naturally attracts others and can think clearly in a crisis—just the kind of female lead I can relate to. Other well fleshed out characters include aggressive little Polish Róa, Red Army prisoner of war, Irina, and the motherly Lisette who attempts to look after a group of horribly crippled girls in the concentration camp. In this story the author manages to portray the absolute instability of war. Impulsive marriage proposals, hastily performed marriages, the devastation when a loved one goes missing, the paralyzing fear when your number is called for the gas chambers and the ultimate joy when the war is over is beautifully depicted in the pages of this book. On the other hand, the harsh reality of life in Ravensbrück; the hunger, the fear and the cruelty, are equally vividly described. I was deeply touched by the camaraderie that developed between so many women from vastly different nationalities. Several of the characters from Code Name Verity also appear in this book though not in key roles. The poetry written by Rose gives a lovely lyrical quality to the prose.   For a read that will thrill, horrify, and stir you to tears, but that should, ultimately, touch you and leave you fulfilled, I highly recommend Rose Under Fire. (Ellen Fritz)
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Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
Eighteen year old Rose was steadfast in her goals in life. Flying since she was twelve, she became a ferry pilot with the ATA transporting British and American aircraft in WWII but she felt she was missing something. Rose wanted a more active role as she wanted to sit in the driver’s seat in these planes and feel the power. On one of her deliveries, Rose deflects a flying bomb and as she gets her plane back on course, intercepting planes from Germany are upon her. Forced to submit to them, the Germans are surprised to find a woman pilot when she steps out. What do they do with a female prisoner? On a bright blue September morning, Rose finds herself in Ravensbruck, a Nazi concentration camp for women. Rose meets some of the brightest and cleverest individuals her eyes have ever seen, in the most disgusting and revolting conditions an individual should never have to face. I was struck by the determination and the sisterhood that developed between the prisoners as they struggle to survive. Every day, sun up and sun down, their lives revolved around being a number that no one cared about. They clung to each other and offered each other hope, love and a friendship that only people in this situation would understand. Rose meets a group of prisoners called the Rabbits and these individuals had my head shaking as their lives were so scarred. Rose, once a young pilot soaring high among the birds with big dreams, now rises as #51498, who is a bald individual with lice, fleas, and scarred marks on her back. This young girl still has dreams, only her dreams have changed from months ago and they included a lot more individuals. The friendship among these women was fantastic and that made this book so special to me. Living in such harsh condition where some days you barely had enough to survive yourself, here was a group of women who cared about each other and they worried about each other. They didn’t have much to work with yet they did the best that they could. There was the language barrier with some of the women and I stopped reading the book and I thought about the noises as the women translated so everyone would understand the message involved. It was this community, this commitment to each other; such a strange place to have this bond and affection when there was so much pain happening outside their barbed wire. Rose was determined and she thought she could make a difference as a pilot and as I looked back after reading the book and see many ways she did that in the camp with the women. Her attitude and her understanding was all some of these women needed sometimes. What a marvelous read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An innocent view of life soon changes. The book begins with a child-like narrative that i forced myself to read in order to understand Rose's background. This changes abruptly when circumstances lead to American-born Rose's capture and imprisonment at a notorious concentration camp during WWII. Within the confines of evil and conditions of Hell, the bonds of friendship form as Rose and several other women struggle to survive. Although a work of fiction, Rose Under Fire is well-researched and based on facts that occurred during a very dark and evil time of human history. And while it is difficult to imagine the horrors and atrosities that human beings are capable of committing, the Holocaust was all too real.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
Rose Justice is a poet and a pilot. Even though she has hours and hours more flight time compared to many male pilots, Rose finds herself working as an ATA pilot transporting planes that other (men) fighter pilots will eventually use. Rose is an American with high ideals who wants to help. The war is terrifying, much worse than she ever could have imagined back home in Pennsylvania, but doesn't that make it even more important that Rose help however she can? Her course changes abruptly when a routine transport goes horrible wrong and Rose is captured by Nazis and sent to Ravensbrück--a notorious women's concentration camp. In the camp Rose finds unimaginable horrors and obstacles but also small moments of hope through the kinship and bravery of her fellow prisoners. Even as friendships are forged amidst small moments of resistance, Rose and her friends are unsure who among them will make it out of Ravensbrück alive in Rose Under Fire (2013) by Elizabeth Wein. Rose Under Fire is a companion to Wein's novel Code Name Verity and set about one and a half years later. Rose Under Fire is completely self-contained but readers of both will recognize familiar characters. Like its companion, Rose Under Fire is an epistolary novel told primarily from Rose's journal. Snippets of famous poems (notably from Edna St. Vincent Millay) are included as well as poems Rose writes throughout her time in England and Ravensbrück. Although this novel doesn't have the same level of suspense as Code Name Verity it remains extremely well-plotted and poignant. And that is really all that can be said about the plot without revealing too much. Wein once again delivers a powerhouse novel about World War II in this case shining a light onto the atrocities of the Ravensbrück concentration camp while highlighting the strength and persistence of the women who were imprisoned there. As you might have guessed, Rose Under Fire is an incredibly hard read. The novel looks unflinchingly at the heinous "experiments" Nazi doctors committed against the Polish political prisoners known as "rabbits" from their time in Ravensbrück to the war trials in Nuremburg. While the story is important and powerful, it is not to be taken lightly and readers should be mindful of that before they pick it up. Readers who are up to the task of a difficult read with darker subject matter will find a powerful story in Rose Under Fire with an incredibly strong and inspiring heroine at the center of its story. *This book was acquired for review from the publisher at BEA 2013*
CherylM-M More than 1 year ago
I can applaud historical fiction that is written in an attempt to get a message across or in this case serve as a reminder never to forget the atrocities of the Holocaust. However taking the step in fiction when it comes to relaying events that happened during that time, especially the crimes, then I do think it can be . Mixing fiction with factual eyewitness testimony could make a reader question what is fact and what is fiction in certain scenes/books. I am thinking of younger readers, who are perhaps not so knowledgeable about the Holocaust. The first part of the book dwells far too much on the flying and is often drawn out and disjointed. The second half that covers the time in the concentration camp and after the war, is much more structured and clearer. The author concentrates on the story of the test subjects 'The Rabbits' in medical section of Ravensbrück. The young people who were used like lab rats. Cut up, mutilated, gangrene sewn into their bodies, bones and flesh chopped out of their limbs all in the name of medical science. The story describes how some these women bonded together through their fate and how they tried to save each other and survive the horror. I felt the most pivotal part of the book was in the last few chapters. The discussions and thought processes during the trials, between Rose and the surviving girls. Rose doesn't want to testify against the war criminals. There are some interesting scenes depicting the victims and their reactions post-war. The years of living in the camps with the abusers and murderers have conditioned the victims. They have been conditioned to shrink back, flinch, to stay out of sight and mind, and most importantly not speak up. Most of them are still frightened by their abusers, which makes speaking out against them in open court a non-option. This was something I dwelt upon, because I think most of us assume that feelings of anger and vengeance would be the at the forefront of each victims mind, when in fact it was probably still the fear. I had to wrap my head round the fact that my first reaction was to feel anger at the victims and Rose in general for not wanting to shout out the crimes committed against them to the world. Why wouldn't you do your best to put those murderers behind bars? Why wouldn't you seek vengeance for the dead? Instead I realised that the ones who spoke up then and the few remaining survivors of that era that still do, they speak for all and for the dead, because not everyone can. Similar to veterans of war conflict who often never speak about their traumatic experiences. Another important point that was made in the end was about Anna Engel. Brought in on a truck with Rose she goes from victim to aiding and abetting the SS medical team in their experiments. She chooses to collaborate to survive. She becomes part of the killing machine. Rose still sees her as a victim of circumstance. She feels sorry for Anna and the fact she will be facing a long prison sentence. Róz'a is one of the surviving Rabbits. She was mutilated during the experiments and Anna was part of that torture. I had a hard time understanding how Rose could be so complacent about Anna and her actions in the camp. Why does she still see her as one of the survivors, as opposed to one of the perpetrators? Are the actions of Kapos and collaborators really excusable just because they felt that they had no other choice and it was a do or die survival choice? Why doesn't Rose feel any kind of guilt towards Róz'a when she is hugging and being friendly to Anna Engel? I guess you can tell that there are many elements of the book that have made me ponder, which is usually the sign of a book worth reading. Overall I think it could have done with more structure in the first half and I stand by my fictional vs fact opinion in regards to the Holocaust. I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.