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CCBC (Cooperative Children's Book Center Choices, 1994)
At first a small group of young men only think of pranks to achieve secretly, and these are accomplished undetected. Their strenuous initiations continue without anyone else discovering what is literally happening on top of their heads, above the church sanctuary. The group becomes bold, planning actions of greater consequence, dangerous actions. But are they still a group or club, or are they now a gang? When, if ever, is such activity justified? The nation is Denmark, the time is World War II, and the Nazis occupy the village. Gunnar and Lars are brothers, their father is a pastor, and the family boarder might be Jewish. All in the group have various motives. The novel is suspenseful, full of action and even a dash of first love. Although the outcome is unrealistic, breathless readers probably won't mind a happier ending than actual historical events would have provided. CCBC categories: Fiction For Teenagers. 1994, Dutton, 215 pages, $14.99. Ages 12-15.
Kirkus (Kirkus Reviews, 1994)
A sense of pressure permeates this tightly focused novel about young Danish resistance fighters in 1942. Led by Minister Balstrup's son Gunnar, the boys at first engage in harmless pranks like stealing German license plates, street signs, and caps. The stakes rise dramatically after Otto and his pilfered Luger are accepted into the group and the boys begin to risk their lives to sabotage German operations. Complicating the relationship between Lars, the viewpoint character, and Gunnar, his older brother, is their subtle rivalry over the beautiful Irene. And threatening the secrecy of their subversion is the presence of a Jew, Filip Rosen -- St. Petri's church organist, adopted member of the Balstrup family, and intended victim of Nazi sympathizer Svend Hansen, the "Suckerfish." In a credible conclusion, four of the boys, under arrest, are in transit to an unknown destination. Even so, the final pages are suffused with the elation of victory and the success of their last defiant act, giving release at last to the story's relentless tension. An excellent complement to Carol Matas's Lisa's War (1989) and its sequel. 1994, Dutton, $14.99. © 1994 Kirkus Reviews/VNU eMedia, Inc. All rights reserved.
Betsy Hearne (The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, March 1994 (Vol. 47, No. 7))
In a distinct turn from his Buster novels (BCCB 1/92, etc.), Reuter here traces the dark fate of Lars, determined to follow in his big brother Gunnar's footsteps as a taunter and baiter of the Germans who have occupied their Denmark town. Gunnar, entering his senior year in high school and eighteen months older than Lars, has formed a secret organization of friends who take small potshots at the enemy, stealing Nazi flags and deflating tires. When Lars and another new, younger rebel, fierce little Otto, become involved, the mischief becomes more damaging and far more dangerous. Otto has a gun, and gets another from the German supply depot, and what had been almost a game becomes a conspiracy, as the boys' actions threaten to impede the Nazi invasion of Norway. Though the telling is rather clipped and telegraphic (how much translation affects the style is hard to say), the basic material here is exciting. Reuter moves credibly from a boys' snug clubhouse atmosphere through a taut transition into war-torn adulthood. Each character is clearly delineated, especially the two brothers, whose relationship is complicated by their love for the same girl. It's an involving book, and one that shows how courage changed-and too often claimed-young lives. R--Recommended. Reviewed from galleys (c) Copyright 1994, The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. 1994, Dutton, [192p], $14.99. Grades 6-9.
|Language||Call Number||LCCN||Dewey Decimal||ISBN/ISSN|
|English (eng)||PZ7.R3259 Bo 1994