Title: Girl in the Blue Coat
Author: Monica Hesse
Published By: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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. (Taken from Goodreads)
I thoroughly enjoyed this historical fiction novel! The thematics were unique and powerful, the characters strong and relatable, and overall I found it an original WWII story full of life.
Hanneke was such a fantastic character and from the first page she leapt alive. I was fascinated by her story, her black market smuggling, her quest to find Mirjam. Some of the other characters were hard to keep straight and lacked as much development compared to Hanneke, but it wasn’t impossible.
I didn’t see any of the twists coming and the themes they sent had me gaping in amazement. I was in awe of the talent of the writer to smash so much together into just one novel. It was authentic and alive.
There few negative elements, but nothing that dominated the story. Characters swear once or twice. One character comes out as homosexual and there is a scene or two focused on Hanneke wishing for freedom for him; but it wasn’t overtly preachy in the way some books today are. It was a very small part of the story.
Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
Recommended to: Ages 13+.