genre: young adult historical fiction
I love when a trusted fellow reader highly recommends a book to me. When this happens, I do not read anything about it. Not a blurb, not a review. I just begin with absolutely no idea of where the story will take me.
It's even funner sometimes when I choose to listen to a book instead of reading it, because then you REALLY have nothing to go on, no text features or maps or anything to give you a clue of where you're off to.
And this time, I didn't know it, but I was about to listen to one of those books that will just stay with you, maybe forever.
Our narrator was Scottish - ack! I love it! But within two minutes of beginning the story, you know something is very wrong. You learn that she is imprisoned. You learn that she has been tortured. You learn that it's been horrible enough that she's ready to talk. And I mean TALK as in spill, give the wretched Nazi officer what he wants to know so that she can keep living.
And so she tells. In a rambling way, we learn about her and her best friend, Maddie, a pilot she met near the beginning of the war. And her confessional story of war-time Britain is interwoven with her current day in which she is constantly on guard against further torture, knowing that when she runs out of story, she's run out of time.
I don't even want to say more. I was so surprised, so stunned by some of the events and images in this book - both in amazing and horrible ways. Sometimes it got a bit wordy, and I wanted the action to move a bit faster, but all of that was overshadowed by how quickly I became invested in these two friends and what was going to happen to them.
There were tears. The drippy kind. The kind where it's like you aren't in your real life anymore, you are in the story and the author has got you gripped so hard that you forget for a moment to breathe.
There was a rawness to this story, a frankness and absolute refusal to shy away from the reality of war-time life that makes it all the more believable. These girls, their GUTS and their determination to do SOMETHING even when it means their own lives might be actual be snuffed out because of it, I have so much respect for them and the real women who lived during that time. I love how hard it made me think about truth and friendship - the absolute life-and-death value of those two things during all times, of course, but most especially when you are at war.
I'm not going to say more. It was too much of an experience for me to learn all about the rest of the plot on my own that I just don't want to spoil it.