War and resistance by Sophie Masson
Scholastic, 2019. ISBN: 9781742769219.
Highly recommended for readers aged 13+. Themes: World War II, Resistance, Spies, Trust. Sophie Masson has created a wonderful story weaving the circumstances of the young girl, Sasha and her family, with the German boy, Dieter, at a time when the world was about to explode again into war. The book begins with Sasha's journalist father, Louis Jullian, expounding the dangers of the German situation prior to 1939 to New Zealand and Australian audiences. His desire to disclose truths that are both unpleasant and alarming does not change when he returns to France. When the war breaks out, his family are in danger and 12 year old Sasha does not just want to survive, she wants to resist the advance of the German power. Dieter, on the other hand is dealing with his own personal difficulties and finds solace and meaning within the Hitler Youth organisation. When the two families connect unexpectedly in Biarritz, Sasha and Dieter are placed in a situation where distrust abounds and her parents' involvement in the Resistance movement puts them at odds with Dieter's German allegiance. Ultimately their own survival and actions must defy what they perceive as evil. Bravery, spies, lies and the Resistance movement are all entwined in this interesting and compelling human story in a time of war.
Peppered with Louis Jullian's journalistic articles as a war correspondent, this book has moments of tension that are based on the true circumstances of World War II conflict for the 'ordinary people' who get caught up in the turmoil. Knowing that Sophie Masson's own family history was impacted by the Second World War, we know that much of the setting and circumstances of this story are linked to real world history of those involved in the resistance movement. Consequently, this is a narrative that is worthy of recommendation to lovers of history.