Book Review: White Rose – Kip Wilson

Disillusioned by the propaganda of Nazi Germany, Sophie Scholl, her brother, and his fellow soldiers formed the White Rose, a group that wrote and distributed anonymous letters criticizing the Nazi regime and calling for action from their fellow German citizens. The following year, Sophie and her brother were arrested for treason and interrogated for information about their collaborators.

I heard about Sophie and the White Rose a while ago after watching a short documentary so when I heard that this would coming out I was intrigued – particularly as it is written in verse. The book spans a few years of Sophie’s life as she tries to make sense of the world around her, be a young woman and fight for justice.

This is very much Sophie’s story. While, of course, the others members are mentioned if you’d like to know more about them there is definitely more research that can be done and that’s something I will undertake myself. We see events unfolding through her perspective, which her feelings towards those she loves and what her motivations would have been.

The book is a fairly quick read as it is written in verse, which isn’t something I pick up often. While I do appreciate the way it was written and think it was impactful I felt there was a certain level of information lacking so if you’re looking for something with a lot of detail this might not be the right book for you. That said, Sophie and her story does really come alive in this, so I would still recommend picking it up as a starting point to her story and that of the White Rose.

Overall I gave this book 4 stars. It’s a really clever way to tell Sophie’s story and I think it will definitely show a whole new audience her courage and bravery in the face of the Nazis. As mentioned I would have liked to have known more about the others who were executed alongside Sophie but this her story and what lead to the end of her life.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – Book Review

I wanted to try something a little different to make my blog more interesting! I’m not sure on which day but I will now be posting weekly book reviews, yaaaay! I used to have a whole blog dedicated to this but now I want to share them with you! For my first review, an incredible novel, The Book Thief.

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Liesel Memminger is only a child when she first meets death, but it will not be the last time 

The Book Thief contains a few things you need to know about. A young girl, an old couple, a Jewish fist fighter, Hitler and Death. Sounds simple, right? After finding herself in a new town with new parents, a doting foster father and a sharp tongued foster mother. But Liesel Memminger is haunted,  haunted by the ghost of her younger brother whom she watched die. Another thing you should know she is a thief, but the novel is about more than that.

The novel is a about a young girl that we get to watch grow and about a country that will never be the same after war. As Liesel, and her new parents Hanns and Rosa hide a young Jewish man they know they are risking their lives, but what comes out of it is so much more. The problem with novels as good as this is that you don’t want to ruin any part of it because you love it so much. I will say though, the novel is a long one but in a nice way. It’s the kind of book that you can take a break from but as soon as you turn another page you fall straight back into the story.

Another character I have to mention, because I know you will fall in love with him, is Lisle’s neighbour Rudy. A sweet boy who idolises black athlete Jesse Owens in the middle of Nazi Germany. As you can assume, this does not work in his favour. The relationship between him and Liesel is one of my favourite parts of the novel though, without him I doubt the Book Thief would have become who she was.

Although it’s a questionable concept, Death makes an incredible narrator and he was one of the best characters. Who would have thought death could be so kind, caring and thoughtful. Oh and lets not forget funny, there is great humour in the book even if it seems sad. I laughed more than I ever wanted to cry and it wasn’t just little laughs that would escape me, I shook at some points because I was laughing so hard.

At times the book made my heart hurt. I could see the scenes playing out in my head, I wanted to look away but I couldn’t. I wanted to reach out, but I wasn’t really there. What Zusak has done with his magical description should not be taken lightly. I have not read novel like this, that is so vivid you feel like you can reach out to it, in a very long time. I wanted to laugh, I wanted to cry and I wanted to make sure nothing like this could ever happen again. It’s incredible that even though this is fiction, it feels as if it could be real and that is the magic of a good story teller, they made you believe the story is as real as any history book.The novel made me cry, and I’m grateful. It is a stunning piece of literature that I want to read again and again.

I can’t give this book anything less than five stars *****, something I don’t give lightly. I remember not reading this book years ago when I had the chance and I wish someone had shaken me! Zusak is an incredible writer, so much so that if he never wrote again this book would be enough. If you haven’t read it, you should need to, it is beautiful.

Review by Chloe Metzger