A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Like its predecessor, Code Name Verity, Rose Under Fire brings to life the experiences of World War II: in this case, life in a women's concentration camp, including torture, medical experimentation, and the killing of prisoners; the work of the women who helped the Allied war effort ferrying planes around Europe; and the gradual revelation of the ongoing Holocaust. Protagonist Rose is also a poet, so poetry is important in the story and part of her survival strategy as her plight worsens.
Strong messages about finding hope in even the smallest things and holding on to that hope, the power of friendship, the kindness of strangers, and the love of family and friends.
Positive Role Models
A fantastic heroine for readers of all ages, Rose is smart, strong, funny, and kind; she loves her work as a pilot and relies on poetry and humor to survive. Her fellow prisoners are quick-thinking and resourceful. Coming from different backgrounds and cultures, they learn to help each other and work together.
Violence & Scariness
Violence is inescapable in a book dealing with the Holocaust, but much of it happens behind the scenes and is gradually revealed in the comments of characters, especially the Corpse Crew charged with clearing away the dead. Wein doesn't shy away from showing some atrocities: SS officers brutalize Rose and other characters both mentally and physically and use them in medical experiments. There's other wartime violence, such as bombings.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Rose Under Fire, the follow-up to the 2013 Printz Honor Book Code Name Verity, delivers more thrilling, heart-wrenching adventures of the young women who helped the Allies by delivering planes across Europe during World War II. Here, teen pilot and poet Rose Justice strays into German territory and is soon a prisoner at the notorious Ravensbruck concentration camp. There, the power of her friendship and trust with three other women helps them survive medical experimentation, mental abuse, and physical violence. Author Elizabeth Wein pulls no punches in describing wartime horrors with powerful emotional impact, but positive values prevail. No problematical issues with language, sex, or drugs.
Is It Any Good?
More about the friendship of the prisoners than the historical events themselves, Rose Under Fire still vividly portrays the mundane and brutal details of concentration camp life. Rose's story and spunky narrative voice will keep readers turning the pages late into the night to find out what happens. Some emotional connections are very powerful; have a box of tissues handy.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.