What if Hitler had not died and the Nazis had continued to expand? Such is the premise of this alternative history/spy novel. Due to the experimentations done on her during detention as a young child in a concentration camp, Yael is able to skin-shift. She can contort her whole body to look like anyone else. Through flashbacks we are shown that the original experiments were torturous and meant to enable people to become Aryan looking. As Yael was the beta experiment, nobody really knew that the full outcome would be.
Graudin presents Yael’s new life after having escaped her concentration camp. She is living with some rebels and being trained for a mission. The perfect mission presents itself in the form of a motorcycle race across Europe and Asia ending in the Axis county of Japan. The prize is a meeting with Hitler who has otherwise become a recluse. The mission: to win the race and kill Hitler. This is an intense race, only this year fully opened to females. Yael skin shifts to become Adele who had won the race the year before, in 1955, by entering the race as her twin brother. The story then becomes one of Yael trying to maintain her cover as Adele while participating in a race she must win against seasoned teen motorcycle racers.
The characters are well developed incorporating many historically accurate details for the time period, technical motorcycle specs and cultural references. There is an unexpected twist at the end that only adds to all the twists and turns throughout the story. It may be a difficult read for some sensitive to the Holocaust and the survivors as it brings up many unwanted and frightening possibilities.
Recommended for ages 14 – 19.