By Awnali Mills
At the recommendation of a co-worker, I listened to Rose under Fire by Elizabeth Wein. Rose Justice is an American courier pilot for Britain during WWII. She’s dealing with the grief of losing friends and the tedium and horror of war when she gets captured by the Germans. As a political prisoner, she is sent to Ravensbrück, the Nazi camp notorious for the horrendous conditions and the medical experiments that were done to the Polish female prisoners. Very quickly Rose is learning the politics of bowls, why prisoners fight for the top bunk, and how to prop up dead bodies to fill out the roll call. But can she survive the war with her sanity intact?
Wow. I was really enjoying this book until Rose got captured. Then it became very…real. I mean, it was real before, but it became scary. And horrific. Part of my mind just flinched from the horrors I was hearing about, and I had to keep reminding myself that this was, if not a true story, then a story that included true events. It was really hard to wrap my brain around the reality of people being this deliberately cruel to one another. I’ve studied WWII, of course, but tend to shy away from stories that involve the concentration camps because they bother me so much. But the cry of the women in the story is “Tell the world!” Someone must be there to listen, mustn’t they?
This is a very good story, deep and involved, but may be hard for sensitive souls to listen to. Recommended for older teens.