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Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein
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Rose Under Fire

by Elizabeth Wein

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Young Pilots (2), Code Name Verity (2)

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I would have liked this book better if it was a standalone rather than the second book in a series that began with Code Name Verity. (And make no mistake that Wein did not intend this to be a series; the books are listed as such on her website.) Few of the characters from [Code Name Verity] appear here, and only one (Maggie Broadatt) has a role of any significance. And that role could have been just as ably filled with a new character. As the second book in a series, it falls short because the connections are too tenuous or underexplored. As a standalone, this book is a fairly harrowing glimpse into the horrors of the Nazis' Ravensbrück concentration camp for women.

Our protagonist is Rose Justice, a plucky American 18-year-old who graduates high school early so she can come to England and be part of the Air Transport Auxiliary, civilian pilots who ferry planes back and forth mostly within England but sometimes closer to the front lines. The early part of the novel tells the ATA story for anyone who has not read Code Name Verity; if you read the first novel this part seems slow and repetitive, while not giving as much insight into Rose's character as one would hope. I was never quite convinced that such a young woman, and an American at that, would have been given such an important role. (There's a quasi-explanation that I found unconvincing, to say the least.) And there's no indication that there are any other Americans in the ATA; at least Rose never talks to them, making her seem all the more out of place.

The plot twist that sends Rose's story in another direction seems both contrived and ham-handedly foreshadowed, but if you can swallow that anomaly, the section set inside the concentration camp is gripping and seems to be meticulously researched while still being fictionalized. One of the women she makes the strongest connection to is a young Polish girl also named Rose, who suffered enormously through sadistic medical experiments by the camp doctors. The section is told through flashbacks, a storytelling decision that I questioned at first because it removed much of the tension of what Rose's ultimate fate would be. Later I came to think the time bouncing was necessary to alleviate the unrelenting misery and pain of the camp scenes. And I liked that the book went beyond liberation to give a glimpse of what camp survivors struggled with when returning to "normal" life.

On some level, there can never be too many stories telling the world about the horrors of the Holocaust. And the perspective of detailing what happened at a place that began as a simple work camp rather than wholly for execution, was one that was new to me. For the target young-adult audience, this would likely be a very powerful introduction to what World War II meant on a very human level. ( )
1 vote rosalita | Feb 9, 2017 |
I enjoyed this book but I just didn't connect with the characters the way I did in the first one. Sometimes everything just worked out too well for all of them that it didn't seem realistic. And while I can usually go along with unlikely situations in books, I know this history too well for it not to bother me. ( )
  K3ndra28 | Nov 15, 2016 |
Really 4.5. I did really love this book, but i loved Code Name Verity more. There is definitely some hard material in here - so its not for the faint of heart. Overall, i really, really enjoyed this book. ( )
  pickleroad | Nov 10, 2016 |
I do think this book was amazing. While it was a little slow to start, there was a purpose to it. Rose was a little naive and upbeat and cheerful, but there was a purpose to that, as well.

The author's descriptions and characters put me right in Ravensbruck with Rose, the Rabbits, and the other women featured in Rose Under Fire. I think this one will stay with me for awhile.

If you've read [b:Code Name Verity|11925514|Code Name Verity|Elizabeth Wein|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1337034341s/11925514.jpg|16885788] and enjoyed it, you must read this. If you haven't read CNV, you should and then read Rose Under Fire.

Thank you, Elizabeth Wein, for helping to tell the world. ( )
  amcheri | Aug 22, 2016 |
This book was much harder to read than the first in the 'series', and being an audiobook didn't help. It was moving and powerful and now I have to go read something happy because it was so very very sad. ( )
  readlifeaway | Aug 21, 2016 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Elizabeth Weinprimary authorall editionscalculated
Manger, WhitneyDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Manger, WhitneyCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pick, SashaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Trevillion, MichaelCover photosecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
To a Young Poet

Time cannot break the bird’s wing from the bird.
Bird and wing together
Go down, one feather.

No thing that ever flew,
Not the lark, not you,
Can die as others do.

-- Edna St Vincent Millay
Dedication
For Kate
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I just got back from Celia Forester’s funeral.
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When young American pilot Rose Justice is captured by Nazis and sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious women's concentration camp, she finds hope in the impossible through the loyalty, bravery, and friendship of her fellow prisoners.

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Elizabeth Wein is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

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