There are many Holocaust-themed novels written for young adults on the market today, but rarely does one find one written from the perspective of German youth and set in the time period shortly after World War II. The story, written as a thriller, alternates between the experiences of two pairs of young women: Eva and Brigit, who now live in the United States and struggle to find their ways in an unfamiliar environment; and Inge and Annemarie, German girls navigating life during the war.
Brigit is unwell and has clearly suffered an emotional breakdown. Eva patiently cares for her as she searches for the whereabouts of her own father, a Nazi doctor who perpetrated horrifying experiments on Jews during the war. She vows to exact revenge on her father as she learns more about his cruel and inhuman activities. As Eva continues to discover details about her own disturbing past, she is befriended by Jake, a young Jewish man who hopes to help her make sense of her history and ease her transition into her new life. The reader slowly begins to understand the connections between the two pairs of young women while learning much about the time period as well as about Project Bluebird, a CIA initiative created to learn more about the horrifying Nazi psychological experiments on which the story is based. Although the story is fictionalized, Project Bluebird actually existed.
A page-turner until the end, this fast-paced story has some disturbing elements but will keep the reader thoroughly engaged and educated in some aspects of Holocaust with which they may be unfamiliar.
Cindy Wiesel is an English teacher in Israel and leads a weekly book club for adults. She has edited teacher resource materials and served as a collection advisor to school libraries.