Review: Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse
“I would care that someone understood we were flawed and scarred and doing the best we could in this war. We were wrapped up in things that were so much bigger than ourselves. We didn't know. We didn't mean to. It wasn't our fault.”
Title: Girl in the Blue Coat
Author: Monica Hesse
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery, Historical Fiction, Holocaust
Haven't I told you all that when the story doesn't have a good love interest or a good romance, I fail to enjoy it usually no matter what genre it is. Hesse proved to me that my statement and opinion is wrong, she handed me a beautiful coming of age story during a war, she gave me a story of grief and trying to find love again during a gruesome war, and she gifted me a plot without much romance that I enjoyed from beginning to end. No matter who much of a romance fan I am, I am starting to believe my taste in books has developed. Although I am still a sucker for any additional romance, always will be.
Girl in the Blue Coat is the sad and thrilling story of Hanneke located in Amsterdam during the war. The Nazis have invaded her town and with so, comes new rules and many scary events. The Jews are being rounded up and taken God knows where. Her parents do not have a job and she is the only one bringing income to the house, by illegally trading goods to her neighbors and other customers. Apart from that she has become estranged from her best friend after she married a Nazi officer, and to make matters worse she is still grieving the loss of Bass, her one true love.
The war has taken too much on Hanneke and it was thrilling to watch her want to do something against the Nazis but not be brave enough. It was sad to see how such young people were putting themselves at risk every day, saving countless of lives, trying to make a world a better place and being punished by it.
The author did an incredible research work of art, a piece of fiction that really showcases what was happening during the war in a place that wasn't the main character during the war, but was still feeling the effects of it.
My favorite piece of the whole book was the meticulous juxtaposition of the big problems, dooming issues like the war and death and Henneke trying to find Mirjam vs the small problems that every teenager is going through, hormones, love, confusion, falling in and out of love or our of friendship. It was incredible to watch how the small issues became the big issues and how the both affected each other.
Hanneke trying to find the lost Jew was also thrilling and kept the pace of the book. Her trying to uncover the reasons for the girls disappearance and in the mean time trying to figure out what else she can do, or how brave she can be to stand against the war was so sad and yet so inspiring.
--- 4 stars ---