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Grade 6-8-Life for Suzanne David, a 13-year-old French schoolgirl and music apprentice, dramatically changes in May, 1940, when she and her best friend witness the brutal death of a neighbor when a bomb drops directly in front of them. Soon the Germans take over Cherbourg, and the Davids are forced from their home into poverty. Then Suzanne is given the opportunity to help the Allies. Bravely, she risks her life, family, and singing career in order to spy for the Resistance. The pace of this suspenseful novel, told in first person and based on a true story, moves swiftly into action within the first chapter, showing the young heroine as strong, courageous, and clever. Filled, but not laden, with the events of the war, and peppered with French language and the culture of music, this novel will appeal to readers who enjoy history and espionage.
Kimberly Monaghan, Vernon Area Public Library, IL
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 6-12. Teenage Suzanne David is so focused on her dreams of becoming an opera star that she barely notices the growing Nazi presence in her French hometown of Cherbourg, until an air raid in 1940 literally puts the death and devastation at her feet. Her innocent appearance, iron will, and schedule as a singer-performer attract the attention of a local Resistance leader, who recruits her to become a spy and entrusts her to transport encoded Allied messages. Based on interviews with the real Suzanne David (who married an American soldier in 1945 and moved to Tennessee), this taut, engrossing World War II novel instantly immerses readers in the horrors faced by everyday citizens during the Nazi Occupation. The real focus, however, is the skin-crawling suspense story about one of France's youngest spies. Each chapter brings new intrigue and often shocking revelations, made all the more intense by the facts about codes and disguises and the fast-paced, first-person narration. There aren't many accounts for young readers about the French Resistance, and from setup to conclusion, this one resonates with authenticity, excitement, and heart. The teenage hero who must keep her spying a secret, even from her parents, will thrill historical fiction fans. Roger Leslie
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