Rose Under Fire
By Elizabeth Wein
(Disney-Hyperion, Hardcover, 9781423183099, 368pp.)
Publication Date: September 10, 2013
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While flying an Allied fighter plane from Paris to England, American ATA pilot and amateur poet, Rose Justice, is captured by the Nazis and sent to Ravensbr ck, the notorious women's concentration camp. Trapped in horrific circumstances, Rose finds hope in the impossible through the loyalty, bravery and friendship of her fellow prisoners. But will that be enough to endure the fate that's in store for her?
Elizabeth Wein, author of the critically-acclaimed and best-selling Code Name Verity, delivers another stunning WWII thriller. The unforgettable story of Rose Justice is forged from heart-wrenching courage, resolve, and the slim, bright chance of survival. Praise for Rose Under Fire
* "Wein masterfully sets up a stark contrast between the innocent American teen's view of an untarnished world and the realities of the Holocaust. [A]lthough the story's action follows [Code Name Verity]'s, it has its own, equally incandescent integrity. Rich in detail, from the small kindnesses of fellow prisoners to harrowing scenes of escape and the Nazi Doctors' Trial in Nuremburg, at the core of this novel is the resilience of human nature and the power of friendship and hope." -Kirkus, starred review * "Wein excels at weaving research seamlessly into narrative and has crafted another indelible story about friendship borne out of unimaginable adversity." -Publishers Weekly, starred review
Elizabeth Wein (www.elizabethwein.com) was born in New York City, grew up abroad, and currently lives in Scotland with her husband and two children. She is an avid flyer of small planes. She also holds a PhD in Folklore from the University of Pennsylvania.
This companion to Wein's Printz Honor- and Edgar-winning Code Name Verity introduces Rose Justice, a Pennsylvania teenager and volunteer civilian pilot during WWII. Rose is ferrying a Spitfire back to England from France for the Royal Air Force when she is captured by Nazis and sent to Ravensbruck, the women's concentration camp. Designated a "skilled" worker, Rose is assigned to a factory; when she realizes that she's making bomb fuses, she stops working. Two brutal beatings later, she is reassigned to the high-security unit at the camp, where she is taken under the wing of the "Rabbits"--Polish political prisoners whose bodies have been horrifically abused by Nazi doctors for medical experimentation. Because Rose recounts her capture and imprisonment after the fact, in a journal, initially for cathartic purposes, her story doesn't have the same harrowing suspense of Code Name Verity, but it's no less intense and devastating. Eventually, Rose realizes the true purpose of the journal is to fulfill the promise she made to her Ravensbruck sisters: to tell the world what happened there. Wein excels at weaving research seamlessly into narrative and has crafted another indelible story about friendship borne out of unimaginable adversity. Ages 14-up.—PW
In this companion to Code Name Verity (2012), readers meet American Rose Justice, who ferries Allied planes from England to Paris. The first quarter of the book, which begins in 1944, describes Rose's work, both its dangers and its highs. It also makes the connection between Rose and the heroine of the previous book, Julie, through their mutual friend, Maddie. Despite the vagaries of war, things are going pretty well for Rose, so hearts drop when Rose is captured. It first seems Rose's status as a pilot may save her, but she is quickly shipped off to Ravensbr ck, the notorious women's concentration camp in Northern Germany. The horror of the camp, with its medical experimentation on Polish women-called rabbits-is ably captured. Yet, along with the misery, Wein also reveals the humanity that can surface, even in the worst of circumstances. The opening diary format is a little clunky, but readers will quickly become involved in Rose's harrowing experience. Though the tension is different than in Code Name Verity, it is still palpable. - Ilene Cooper—Booklist
After a daring attempt to intercept a flying bomb, a young American pilot ferrying planes during World War II is captured by the Nazis in this companion to Printz Honor winning Code Name Verity (2012). After being brutally punished for her refusal to make fuses for flying bombs and having "more or less forgotten who [she] was," Rose is befriended by Polish "Rabbits," victims of horrific medical experimentation. She uses "counting-out rhymes" to preserve her sanity and as a way to memorize the names of the Rabbits. Rose's poetry, a panacea that's translated and passed through the camp, is at the heart of the story, revealing her growing understanding of what's happening around her. As the book progresses, Wein masterfully sets up a stark contrast between the innocent American teen's view of an untarnished world and the realities of the Holocaust, using slices of narrative from characters first encountered in the previous book. Recounting her six months in the Ravensbr ck concentration camp through journal entries and poems, Rose honors her commitment to tell the world of the atrocities she witnessed. Readers who want more Code Name Verity should retool their expectations; although the story's action follows the earlier book's, it has its own, equally incandescent integrity. Rich in detail, from the small kindnesses of fellow prisoners to harrowing scenes of escape and the Nazi Doctors' Trial in Nuremburg, at the core of this novel is the resilience of human nature and the power of friendship and hope. (Historical fiction. 14 & up)—Kirkus
Gr 8 Up This companion novel to Wein's Code Name Verity (Hyperion, 2012) tells a very different World War II story, with a different pilot. Rose Justice, an American, has grown up flying, and when she is given the opportunity to ferry planes to support the war effort in England in 1944, she jumps at the chance. It is during one of her missions that she purposefully knocks an unmanned V-1 flying bomb out of the sky and is captured by Nazi airmen. Once on the ground, she is taken to the infamous women's concentration camp, Ravensbr ck. She is first treated as a "skilled" worker, but once she realizes that her job will be to put together fuses for flying bombs, she refuses to do it, is brutally beaten, and is then sent to live with the political prisoners. Once she's taken under the wing of the Polish "Rabbits" young women who suffered horrible medical "experiments" by Nazi doctors she faces a constant struggle to survive. After a daring escape, she recounts her experience in a journal that was given to her by her friend, Maddie, the pilot from Code Name Verity, weaving together a story of unimaginable suffering, loss, but, eventually, hope. Throughout her experience, Rose writes and recites poetry, and it is through these poems, some heartbreaking, some defiant, that she finds her voice and is able to "tell the world" her story and those of the Rabbits. While this book is more introspective than its predecessor, it is no less harrowing and emotional. Readers will connect with Rose and be moved by her struggle to go forward, find her wings again, and fly. Necia Blundy, formerly at Marlborough Public Library, MA—SLJ
Toward the end of World War II, 18-year-old American Rose Justice, is an air transport auxiliary pilot in England. She helps the war effort by delivering planes to various air bases. On one of these missions, she is forced to land by German pilots and subsequently ends up in Ravensbruck, spending seven months there before escaping. Most of this fictionalized account details Rose's experiences as a prisoner but the thing that makes this title stand apart from others is that it's told from the point of view of a prisoner who was not European or Jewish. Readers will connect with Rose as she chronicles her story. Once imprisoned, Rose uses poetry to help mentally log events and names of prisoners and to distract herself in order to make it through the horrific experiences. After escaping, she begins her journey of healing by recording her story and poems. Additional resources are included for those who want to study the topic further. Kelly M. Hoppe, Librarian, Palo Duro High School, Amarillo, Texas Recommended—Library Media Connection
Eighteen-year-old Rose Justice, native of Hershey, Pennsylvania, has managed to pull some strings on the English side of her family to get seconded to Britain's Air Transport Auxiliary to ferry planes in 1944. There she befriends Maddie, still grieving from Julie's death (in Code Name Verity, BCCB 6/12), and learns the ATA ropes. It's on a solo flight over France, however, that she's intercepted by German fliers and brought down. She's sent to the infamous German concentration camp Ravensbrück, where she meets R za, a defiant young Pole, who is also known as a "Rabbit," one of the inmates who were subjected to horrific, often lethal experiments in the camp hospital. When both Rose and R za turn up on the camp's death list, they must make a harrowing escape in order to survive. Though this lacks the origami-like unfolding and shocking d nouement of Verity, it is nonetheless an impressive story of wartime female solidarity. As a young American, Rose brings a contrasting perspective from a country that's been unscathed by a war that's been raging in Europe for years, a contrast emphasized by the suddenness of her capture (she's even still got red polish on her toes). Rose's love of poetry threads through the novel as she captures her own experiences and also uses the art to memorialize her blockmates; indeed, the strongest underlying theme is that of witnessing to the outside world, through poetry, prose, wall graffiti, or, in the final chapters, literally witnessing in the Doctors' Trial in post-war Nuremberg. The focus on the Rabbits, making them vivid individuals rather than depersonalized horror stories, is particularly original and compelling. This is therefore an atypical concentration camp story but a gripping one for contemporary American readers, who will easily connect with Rose and will be eager to discuss the ethical challenges raised by her story. End matter includes a note explaining historical sources, a glossary, and lists of relevant print and Internet sources. DS—BCCB
Wein plunges into difficult territory in this engrossing companion novel to her lavishly honored Code Name Verity (rev. 5/12). Rose Justice, eighteen-year-old American pilot, delivers personnel and planes for Britain's Air Transport Auxiliary. On her way home from liberated Paris in 1944, she's captured by Germans and sent to Ravensbr ck, the notorious women's concentration camp, where she's beaten, starved, and forced to transport corpses of fellow prisoners. She's also befriended by the "Rabbits"-victims of Nazi doctors' heinous medical experiments. Once again Wein has written a powerful, moving story of female friendship in World War II; her decision to tell the story as a combination of journal entries, letters, and survivor's account softens but doesn't compromise the forthrightness with which she writes about Ravensbr ck. "I did not make [it] up," she writes in her afterword. "It really happened to 150,000 women." Rose's character-pilot, poet, former Girl Scout, survivor, and friend-becomes increasingly rich, deep, and nuanced, most compellingly in response to the French, Russian, and Polish women who befriend her. In plot and character this story is consistently involving, a great, page-turning read; just as impressive is how subtly Wein brings a respectful, critical intelligence to her subject. deirdre f. baker—Horn Book
5Q 5P J S In this companion novel to the best-selling Code Name Verity (Hyperion, 2012/VOYA April 2012), Wein returns to the World War II setting, but this time focuses primarily on a single character-Rose Justice-who is captured by the Nazis. Rose Under Fire is the harrowing story of her fight to survive in Ravensbr ck-a women's concentration camp. This novel picks up eight months after the end of Code Name Verity. Rose is an American pilot and friends with Maddie, who is still struggling with the death of her best friend, Queenie. Although Rose Under Fire could be read on its own, readers who are already connected to the beloved characters by having read the first book will have an immediate connection to Rose, and will be more quickly drawn into the story. Rose details most of her experiences in journal format, as did Queenie, but also frames much of her tale around snippets of poetry, some of which she writes herself. Descriptions of camp life, in particular the horrific treatment of the "rabbits"-prisoners that were tortured under the guise of medical experimentation-are vividly and brutally detailed. Supporting characters, including the villains, are fully drawn and multidimensional; Wein never reduces them to simple stereotypes. Rose Under Fire is possibly more straight-forward and faster-paced than Code Name Verity, but it also packs an even greater emotional punch. At once heartbreaking and hopeful, Rose Under Fire will stay with readers long after they have finished the last page.-Sara Martin. Rose Under Fire successfully creates a realistic portrayal of not only the war, but also the status of women and the horror lived by those confined to bleak concentration camps during WWII. Characters are not only memorable; they refuse to be forgotten after the last words have been read, and they have readers betting on them every step of the way. 4Q, 5P.-Raluca Topliceanu, Teen Reviewer.—VOYA