By Monica Hesse
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In Girl in the Blue Coat, Hanneke navigates Amsterdam at the height of World War II, spending her days procuring and delivering sought-after black market goods to paying customers, her nights hiding the true nature of her work from her concerned parents, and every waking moment mourning her boyfriend, who was killed on the Dutch front lines when the Germans invaded. On a routine delivery, a client asks Hanneke for help. Expecting to hear that Mrs. Janssen wants meat or kerosene, Hanneke is shocked by the older woman’s frantic plea to find a person — a Jewish teenager Mrs. Janssen had been hiding, who has vanished without a trace. Beautifully written, intricately plotted, and meticulously researched, Girl in the Blue Coat is an extraordinary novel about bravery, grief, and love in impossible times.
In The War Outside, World War II is raging across Europe and the Pacific. The war seems far away from Margot in Iowa and Haruko in Colorado — until they are uprooted to Crystal City, Texas, a “family internment camp,” all because of the places their parents once called home: Germany and Japan. With everything around them falling apart, Margot and Haruko find solace in their growing, secret friendship. But in a prison the government has deemed full of spies, can they trust anyone — even each other?
In They Went Left, eighteen-year-old Zofia Lederman has barely begun to heal from the horrors of the Holocaust. Three years ago, she and her younger brother, Abek, were the only members of their family to be sent to the right, away from the gas chambers of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Everyone else — her parents, her grandmother, radiant Aunt Maja — they went left. Zofia’s last words to her brother were a promise: Abek to Zofia, A to Z. When I find you again, we will fill our alphabet. Now her journey to fulfill that vow takes her through Poland and Germany, and into a displaced persons camp where everyone she meets is trying to piece together a future from a painful past. But the deeper Zofia digs, the more impossible her search seems. How can she find one boy in a sea of the missing? In the rubble of a broken continent, Zofia must delve into a mystery whose answers could break her — or help her rebuild her world.
A long time before Bas died, we had a pretend argument about whose fault it was that he'd fallen in love with me. It's your fault, he told me. Because you're lovable. I told him he was wrong. That it was lazy to blame his falling in love on me. Irresponsible, really.
I remember everything about this conversation. It was in his parents' sitting room, and we were listening to the family's new radio while I quizzed him for a geometry exam neither of us thought was important. The American singer Judy Garland was singing "You Made Me Love You." That was how the conversation began. Bas said I'd made him love me. I made fun of him because I didn't want him to know how fast my heart was pounding to hear him say the words love and you in the same sentence.
Then he said it was my fault, also, that he wanted to kiss me. Then I said it was his fault if I let him. Then his older brother walked in the room and said it was both of our faults if he got sick to his stomach listening to us.
It was only later that day, when I was walking home—back when I could walk home without worrying about being stopped by soldiers or missing curfew or being arrested—that I realized I'd never said it back. The first time he said he loved me, and I forgot to say it back.
I should have. If I'd known what would happen and what I would find out about love and war, I would have made sure to say it then.
That's my fault.
Hallo, sweetheart. What do you have there? Something for me?"
I stop because the soldier's face is young and pretty, and because his voice has a wink in it, and because I bet he would make me laugh during an afternoon at the movies.
That's a lie.
I stop because the soldier might be a good contact, because he might be able to get the things that we can't get anymore, because his dresser drawers are probably filled with row after row of chocolate bars and socks that don't have holes in the toes.
That's also not really the truth.
But sometimes I ignore the whole truth, because it's easier to pretend I'm making decisions for rational reasons. It's easier to pretend I have a choice.
I stop because the soldier's uniform is green. That's the only reason I stop. Because his uniform is green, and that means I have no choice at all.
"That's a lot of packages for a pretty girl."
His Dutch is slightly accented, but I'm surprised he speaks it so well. Some Green Police don't speak it at all, and they're annoyed when we're not fluent in German, as if we should have been preparing our entire lives for the day when they invaded our country.
I park my bicycle but don't dismount. "It's exactly the right number of packages, I think."
"What have you got in them?" He leans over my handlebars, one hand grazing into the basket attached to the front.
"Wouldn't you like to see? Wouldn't you like to open all my packages?" I giggle, and then lower my eyelashes so he won't see how practiced this line is. With the way I'm standing, my dress has risen above my knee, and the soldier notices. It's navy, already tighter than it should be, frayed at the hem and several years old, from before the war. I shift my weight a little so the hemline rides even higher, now halfway up my goose-bumped thigh.
This interaction would feel worse if he were older, if he were wrinkled, if he had stained teeth or a sagging belly. It would be worse, but I would flirt the same anyway. I have a dozen times before.
He leans in closer. The Herengracht is murky and fish-stinking behind him, and I could push him into this canal and ride halfway home on my disgrace of a secondhand bicycle before he paddled himself out. It's a game I like to play with every Green Police who stops me. How could I punish you, and how far would I get before you caught me?
"This is a book I'm bringing home to my mother." I point to the first parcel wrapped in paper. "And these are the potatoes for our supper. And this is the sweater I've just picked up from mending."
"Hoe heet je?" he asks. He wants to know my name, and he's asked it in the informal, casual way, how a confident boy would ask a bucktoothed girl her name at a party, and this is good news because I'd much rather he be interested in me than the packages in my basket.
"Hanneke Bakker." I would lie, but there's no point now that we all carry mandatory identification papers. "What's your name, soldier?"
He puffs out his chest when I call him soldier. The young ones are still in love with their uniforms. When he moves, I see a flash of gold around his neck. "And what's in your locket?" I ask.
His grin falters as his hand flies to the pendant now dangling just below his collar. The locket is gold, shaped like a heart, probably containing a photograph of an apple-faced German girl who has promised to remain faithful back in Berlin. It was a gamble to ask about it, but one that always turns out well if I'm right.
"Is it a photograph of your mother? She must love you a lot to give you such a pretty necklace."
His face flushes pink as he tucks the chain back under his starched collar.
"Is it of your sister?" I press on. "Your little pet dog?" It's a difficult balance, to sound the right amount of naive. My words need to have enough innocence in them that he can't justify getting angry with me, but enough sharpness that he'd rather get rid of me than keep me here and interrogate me about what I'm carrying. "I haven't seen you before," I say. "Are you stationed on this street every day?"
"I don't have time for silly girls like you. Go home, Hanneke."
When I pedal away, my handlebars only barely shake. I was mostly telling him the truth about the packages. The first three do hold a book, a sweater, and a few potatoes. But underneath the potatoes are four coupons' worth of sausages, bought with a dead man's rations, and underneath those are lipsticks and lotions, bought with another dead man's rations, and underneath those are cigarettes and alcohol, bought with money that Mr. Kreuk, my boss, handed me this morning for just that purpose. None of it belongs to me.
Most people would say I trade in the black market, the illicit underground exchange of goods. I prefer to think of myself as a finder. I find things. I find extra potatoes, meat, and lard. In the beginning I could find sugar and chocolate, but those things have been harder recently, and I can only get them sometimes. I find tea. I find bacon. The wealthy people of Amsterdam stay plump because of me. I find the things we have been made to do without, unless you know where to look.
My last question to the soldier, about whether this street is his new post—I wish he'd answered that one. Because if he's stationed on the corner every day now, I'll have to either consider being friendly to him or change my route.
My first delivery this morning is Miss Akkerman, who lives with her grandparents in one of the old buildings down by the museums. Miss Akkerman is the lotions and lipstick. Last week it was perfume. She's one of the few women I've met who still care so much about these things, but she told me once that she's hoping her boyfriend will propose before her next birthday, and people have spent money for stranger reasons.
She answers the door with her wet hair in pins. She must have a date with Theo tonight.
"Hanneke! Come in while I get my purse." She always finds an excuse to invite me in. I think she gets bored here during the day, alone with her grandparents, who talk too loudly and smell like cabbage.
Inside the house is stuffy and dim. Miss Akkerman's grandfather sits at the breakfast table through the kitchen doorway. "Who's at the door?" he yells.
"It's a delivery, Grandpa," Miss Akkerman calls over her shoulder.
"It's for me." She turns back to me and lowers her voice. "Hanneke, you have to help me. Theo is coming over tonight to ask my grandparents if I can move into his apartment. I need to figure out what to wear. Stay right here; I'll show you my options."
I can't think of any dress that would make her grandparents approve of her living with her boyfriend before marriage, though I know this wouldn't be the first time this war made a young couple reject tradition.
When Miss Akkerman comes back to the foyer, I pretend to consider the two dresses she's brought, but really I'm watching the wall clock. I don't have time for socializing. After telling her to wear the gray one, I motion for her to take the packages I've been holding since I arrived. "These are yours. Would you like to make sure everything's all right?"
"I'm sure they're fine. Stay for coffee?"
I don't bother to ask if it's real. The only way she would have real coffee is if I'd brought it to her, and I hadn't, so when she says she has coffee, she means she has ground acorns or twigs. Ersatz coffee.
The other reason I don't stay is the same reason why I don't accept Miss Akkerman's repeated offer to call her Irene. Because I don't want her to confuse this relationship with friendship. Because I don't want her to think that if one day she can't pay, it doesn't matter.
"I can't. I still have another delivery before lunch."
"Are you sure? You could have lunch here—I'm already going to make it—and then we could figure out just what to do with my hair for tonight."
It's a strange relationship I have with my clients. They think we're comrades. They think we're bound by the secret that we're doing something illegal together. "I always have lunch at home with my parents," I say.
"Of course, Hanneke." She's embarrassed for having pushed too far. "I'll see you later, then."
Outside, it's cloudy and overcast, Amsterdam winter, as I ride my bicycle down our narrow, haphazard streets. Amsterdam was built on canals. The country of Holland is low, lower even than the ocean, and the farmers who mucked it out centuries ago created an elaborate system of waterways, just to keep citizens from drowning in the North Sea. An old history teacher of mine used to accompany that piece of our past with a popular saying: "God made the world, but the Dutch made the Netherlands." He said it like a point of pride, but to me, the saying was also a warning: "Don't rely on anything coming to save us. We're all alone down here."
Seventy-five kilometers to the south, at the start of the occupation two and a half years ago, the German planes bombed Rotterdam, killing nine hundred civilians and much of the city's architecture. Two days later, the Germans arrived in Amsterdam by foot. We now have to put up with their presence, but we got to keep our buildings. It's a bad trade-off. It's all bad trade-offs these days, unless, like me, you know how to mostly end up on the profitable side of things.
My next customer, Mrs. Janssen, is just a short ride away in a large blue house where she used to live with her husband and three sons, until one son moved to London, one son moved to America, and one son, the baby of the family, moved to the Dutch front lines, where two thousand Dutch servicemen were killed when they tried but failed to protect our borders as the country fell in five days' time. We don't speak much of Jan anymore.
I wonder if he was near Bas, though, during the invasion.
I wonder this about everything now, trying to piece together the last minutes of the boy I loved. Was he with Bas, or did Bas die alone?
Mrs. Janssen's husband disappeared last month, just before she became a customer, and I've never asked any more about that. He could have been an illegal worker with the resistance, or he could have just been in the wrong place at a bad time, or he could be not dead after all and instead having high tea in England with his oldest son, but in any case it's none of my business. I've only delivered a few things to Mrs. Janssen. I knew her son Jan a little bit. He was a surprise baby, born two decades after his brothers, when the Janssens were already stooped and gray. Jan was a nice boy.
Here, today, I decide Jan might have been near Bas when the Germans stormed our country. Here, today, I'll believe that Bas didn't die alone. It's a more optimistic thought than I usually allow myself to have.
Mrs. Janssen is waiting at the door for me, which makes me irritated because if you were a German soldier assigned to look for suspicious things, what would you think of an old woman waiting for a strange girl on a bicycle?
"Good morning, Mrs. Janssen. You didn't have to stand out here for me. How are you?"
"I'm fine!" she shouts, like she's reading lines in a play, nervously touching the white curls escaping from her bun. Her hair is always in a bun, and her glasses are always slipping down her nose; her clothes always remind me of a curtain or a sofa. "Won't you come in?"
"I couldn't get as much sausage as you wanted, but I do have some," I tell her once I've parked my bicycle and the door is closed behind us. She moves slowly; she walks with a cane now and rarely leaves the house anymore. She told me she got the cane when Jan died. I don't know if there's something physically wrong with her or if grief just broke her and made her lame.
Inside, her front room looks more spacious than normal, and it takes me a moment to figure out why. Normally, between the china cabinet and the armchair, there is an opklapbed, a small bed that looks like a bookcase but can be folded out for sleeping when guests visit. I assume Mr. Janssen made it, like he made all the things in their house. Mama and I used to walk past his furniture store to admire the window displays, but we never could have afforded anything in it. I can't imagine where the opklapbed has gone. If Mrs. Janssen sold it so soon after her husband's disappearance, she must already be struggling with money, which I won't allow to be my concern unless it means she can't pay me.
"Coffee, Hanneke?" In front of me, Mrs. Janssen disappears into the kitchen, so I follow. I plan to decline her coffee offer, but she's laid out two cups and her good china, blue and white, the famous style from the city of Delft. The table is heavy and maple.
"I have the sausage here if you want to—"
"Later," she interrupts. "Later. First, we'll have coffee, and a stroopwafel, and we'll talk."
Next to her sits a dust-covered canister that smells like the earth. Real coffee beans. I wonder how long she's been saving them. The stroopwafels, too. People don't use their bakery rations for fancy pastries; they use them for bread. Then again, they don't use them to feed black market delivery girls, either, but here is Mrs. Janssen, pouring my coffee into a porcelain cup and placing a stroopwafel on top so that the waffle sandwich softens in the steam and the sugary syrup inside oozes around the edges.
"I'm not hungry," I say, even as my stomach betrays me with a growl.
I am hungry, but something makes me nervous with these stroopwafels, and with how eager Mrs. Janssen is to have me sit, and with the irregularity of the whole situation. Has she called the Green Police and promised to deliver them a black market worker? A woman desperate enough to sell her husband's opklapbed might do such a thing.
"Just for a minute?"
"I'm sorry, but I have a million other things to do today."
She stares down at her beautifully set table. "My youngest. Jan. These were his favorite. I used to have them waiting when he came home from school. You were his friend?" She smiles at me hopefully.
I sigh. She's not dangerous; she's just lonely. She misses her son, and she wants to feed one of his old classmates his after-school snack. This goes against all my rules, and the pleading in her voice makes me uncomfortable. But it's cold outside, and the coffee is real, and despite what I just told Mrs. Janssen about my millions of tasks, I actually have an hour before my parents expect me for lunch. So I set the parcel with sausage on the table, smooth down my hair, and try to remember how to be a polite guest on a social call. I knew how to do this once. Bas's mother used to pour me hot chocolate in her kitchen while Bas and I studied, and then she would find excuses to keep checking in to make sure we weren't kissing.
"I haven't had a stroopwafel in a while," I say finally, trying out my rusted conversational skills. "My favorites were always banketstaaf."
"With the almond paste?"
Mrs. Janssen's coffee is scalding and strong, a soothing anesthetic. It burns my throat, so I keep drinking it and don't even realize how much I've had until the cup is back on its saucer and it's half empty. Mrs. Janssen immediately fills it to the top.
"The coffee's good," I tell her.
"I need your help."
So the purpose of the coffee becomes clear. She's given me a present. Now she wants a favor. Too bad she didn't realize I don't need to be buttered up. I work for money, not kindness.
"I need your help finding something," she says.
"What do you need? More meat? Kerosene?"
"I need your help finding a person."
The cup freezes halfway to my lips, and for a second I can't remember whether I was picking it up or putting it down.
"I need your help finding a person," she says again, because I still haven't responded.
"I don't understand."
"Someone special to me." She looks over my shoulder, and I follow her line of vision to where her eyes are fixed on a portrait of her family, hanging next to the pantry door.
"Mrs. Janssen." I try to think of the right and polite way to respond. Your husband is gone, is what I should tell her. Your son is dead. Your other sons are not coming back. I cannot find ghosts. I don't have any ration coupons for a replacement dead child.
"Mrs. Janssen, I don't find people. I find things. Food. Clothing."
"I need you to find—"
"A person. You said. But if you want to find a person, you need to call the police. Those are the kinds of finders you want."
"You." She leans over the table. "Not the police. I need you. I don't know who else to ask."
In the distance, the Westerkerk clock strikes; it's half past eleven. Now is when I should leave. "I have to go." I push my chair back from the table. "My mother will have cooked lunch. Did you want to pay now for the sausage, or have Mr. Kreuk add it to your account?"
She rises, too, but instead of seeing me to the door, she grabs my hand. "Just look, Hanneke. Please. Just look before you go."
Because even I am not hardened enough to wrench my hand away from an old woman, I follow her toward the pantry and pause dutifully to look at the picture of her sons on the wall. They're in a row, three abreast, matching big ears and knobby necks. But Mrs. Janssen doesn't stop in front of the photograph. Instead, she swings open the pantry door. "This way." She gestures for me to follow her.
Verdorie. Damn it, she's crazier than I thought. We're going to sit in the darkness now, together among her canned pickles, to commune with her dead son. She probably keeps his clothes in here, packed in mothballs.
Inside, it's like any other pantry: a shallow room with a wall of spices and preserved goods, not as full as it would have been before the war.
"I'm sorry, Mrs. Janssen, but I don't know—"
"Wait." She reaches to the edge of the spice shelf and unlatches a small hook I hadn't noticed.
"What are you doing?"
"Just a minute." She fiddles with the latch. Suddenly, the whole set of shelves swings out, revealing a dark space behind the pantry, long and narrow, big enough to walk into, too dark to see much.
"What is this?" I whisper.
"Hendrik built it for me," she says. "When the children were small. This closet was inefficient—deep and sloping—so I asked if he would close off part of it for a pantry and have the other part for storage."
My eyes adjust to the dimness. We're standing in the space under the stairs. The ceiling grows lower, until, in the back, it's no more than a few feet off the ground. Toward the front, there's a shelf at eye level containing a half-burned candle, a comb, and a film magazine whose title I recognize. Most of the tiny room is taken up by Mrs. Janssen's missing opklapbed, unfolded as if waiting for a guest. A star-patterned quilt lies on top of it, and a single pillow. There are no windows. When the secret door is closed, only a slim crack of brightness would appear underneath.
"Do you see?" She takes my hand again. "This is why I cannot call the police. The police cannot find someone who is not supposed to exist."
"The missing person."
"The missing girl is Jewish," Mrs. Janssen says. "I need you to find her before the Nazis do."
Mrs. Janssen is still waiting for me to respond, standing in the dark space, where the air is stale and smells faintly of old potatoes.
"You were hiding someone?" I can barely get the words out as she re-latches the secret shelf, closes the pantry door, and leads me back to the table. I don't know if I'm more shocked or scared. I know this happens, that some of the Jews who disappear are packed like winter linens in other people's basements rather than relocated to work camps. But it's too dangerous a thing to ever admit out loud.
Mrs. Janssen is nodding at my question. "I was."
"In here? You were hiding someone in here? For how long?"
"Where should I begin?" She picks up her napkin, twisting it between her hands.
I don't want her to begin at all. Ten minutes ago I was worried Mrs. Janssen might have called someone to arrest me; now I know she is the one who could be arrested. The punishment for hiding people is imprisonment, a cold, damp cell in Scheveningen, where I've heard of people disappearing for months without even getting hearings. The punishment for being a person in hiding—an onderduiker—is immediate deportation.
"Never mind," I say quickly. "Never mind. I don't need to hear anything. I'll just go."
"Why don't you sit down again?" she pleads. "I've been waiting all morning for you." She holds up the pitcher of coffee. "More? You can have as much as you like. Just sit. If you don't help me, I'll have to find someone else."
Now I'm conflicted, standing in the middle of the kitchen. I don't want her bribe of coffee. But I'm rooted to the spot. I shouldn't leave, not without knowing more of the story. If Mrs. Janssen tries to find someone else, she could be putting herself in danger, and me, too.
"Tell me what happened," I say finally.
"My husband's business partner," Mrs. Janssen begins, the words spilling out in a rush. "My husband's business partner was a good man. Mr. Roodveldt. David. He worked with Hendrik for ten years. He had a wife, Rose, and she was so shy—she had a lisp and it made her self-conscious—but she could knit the most beautiful things. They had two daughters. Lea, who had just turned twelve and was the family pet. And the older daughter. Fifteen, independent, always off with her friends. Mirjam." Her throat catches at the last name, and she swallows before continuing.
"The Roodveldts were Jewish. Not very observant, and in the beginning, it seemed that would make a difference. It didn't, of course. David told Hendrik they would be fine. They knew a woman in the country who was going to take them in. That fell through when the woman got too scared, though, and in July, after the big razzia, when so many Jews were taken, David came to Hendrik and said he and his family needed help going into hiding."
"And Hendrik brought them here?" I ask.
"No. He didn't want to put me in danger. He brought them to the furniture shop. He built the Roodveldts a secret room behind a false wall in the wood shop. I didn't know."
"You didn't know?" I can't imagine my own parents being able to keep such a secret from each other.
"I knew Hendrik was spending more time in the shop. I thought he was just working longer hours because David was no longer around to assist him. I thought the Roodveldts had gone to the safe house in the country. I didn't know that all of them were right there, in hiding."
"When did he tell you?"
"He never told me. Last month I was home alone when I heard knocking at my door. Frantic knocking; it was after curfew. I thought Hendrik had forgotten his key, but when I opened the door, there was this girl, this pale girl, wearing a blue coat. She'd grown so much. I hadn't seen her in a few years, and I wouldn't have recognized her if she hadn't introduced herself. She told me my husband had been hiding them, but now she needed a new safe space. She said everyone else was dead."
Mrs. Janssen nods. "She was shaking, she was so scared. She said the Nazis had come to the factory that night and gone straight to the wood shop. Someone betrayed Hendrik, an employee or customer. Hendrik wouldn't show them the hiding space. He pretended he had no idea what they were talking about. Because he wouldn't speak, the officers began threatening him. And David heard. And he tried to help. But the officers had guns."
She gulps in a breath. "When the shooting was done, Hendrik was dead, and David, and Rose, and Lea. Only Mirjam managed to escape."
It must have been complete chaos. I've heard of people imprisoned, taken away and never returned. But four people, including a woman and a child, shot dead in cold blood?
"How did Mirjam escape?" I ask. "They shot everyone else. How would one young girl manage to escape from Nazis with guns?"
"The bathroom. The shop has a restroom in the front. The Roodveldts could use it once the sales floor was closed. Mirjam had just gone in to get ready for bed when the Nazis came, and she ran out the front door when she heard the gunshots, to the closest safe place she could think of. My house. That was three weeks ago. I was hiding her until last night."
"What happened last night?"
Mrs. Janssen reaches into the pocket of her sweater and pulls out a folded slip of paper. "I wrote everything down so I would have the timeline exactly right for you."
She traces the first line with her index finger. "She was here yesterday at noon, because I went in to bring her some bread and a copy of Het Parool. She liked to read the news of the underground, over and over again, memorizing even the classified advertisements."
"Are you sure it was noon?"
Praise for Girl in the Blue Coat:The Edgar Award Winner for Best Young Adult Mystery Novel 2017
An Entertainment Weekly Best YA Book of 2016
A Booklist Best Young Adult Book of 2016
A 2017 Indies Choice Awards Finalist for Best Young Adult Book
A YALSA 2017 Best Book for Young Adults
A New York Public Library Best Book for Teens of 2016
A Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People Selection 2017
A 2017 Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Book of the Year
A 2018-2019 California Young Reader Medal nominee
2018 All Iowa Young Adults Read"Girl in the Blue Coat is a powerful, compelling coming-of-age story set against the dark and dangerous backdrop of World War II. It's an important and page-turning look at the choices all of us--including young adults--have to make in wartime. A beautiful combination of heartbreak, loss, young love, and hope."—Kristin Hannah, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Nightingale
- * "[An] affecting novel...that skillfully combines reality with fiction. Her characters come alive, and...Hesse's pacing infuses her story with thriller suspense, enriching the narrative with dramatic surprises both small and large."—Booklist, starred review
- * "Riveting... a gripping historical mystery."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
- Praise for The War Outside:A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2018A 2019 YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults PickA 2018 BCCB Bulletin Blue Ribbon TitleA 2019 Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People"Once again, Monica Hesse delivers an incredibly compelling and beautifully researched novel. The War Outside vividly brings readers into an underrepresented and dark period of American history. A must-read for fans of historical fiction."—Ruta Sepetys, #1 New York Times bestselling author
- "Monica Hesse takes a setting we think we understand and shifts it in an important way...a tightly plotted exploration of the consequences of fear."—The New York Times Book Review
- * "Superb... A satisfying and bittersweet novel, perfect for those who enjoyed Markus Zusak's The Book Thief."—SLJ, starred review
Praise for They Went Left:"Hesse writes with tenderness and insight about the stories we tell ourselves in order to survive and the ways we cobble together family with whatever we have. When the plot twists come, they are gut punches--some devastating, others offering hope... Crucial."—New York Times Book Review
- * "A heartbreaking and heartwarming story of survival, loss, and renewal. Sure to please a variety of readers; those interested in historical fiction, romance, and mystery will not be able to put this book down."—School Library Journal, starred review
- * "Hesse again proves to be a master of verisimilitude, bringing the realities of existence in the immediate postwar period to visceral life through painstaking detail. Her beautifully realized, highly empathetic characters come to life, too, in the pages of this superbly craftednovel...like real life, there is heartbreaking sadness here but also hope that life, finally, will be whole and fine, A to Z."—Booklist, starred review
- On Sale
- Aug 4, 2020
- Page Count
- 1056 pages
- Little, Brown Books for Young Readers