Author: Lasky, Kathryn
Growing up in 1943 war-torn England, thirteen-year-old Alice and her older sister Louise are members of a centuries-old spy clan, but when Louise decides to spy for the enemy, their bond is changed forever.
Kirkus Reviews (09/15/21)
School Library Journal (10/08/21)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (A) (00/10/21)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 10/01/2021 Born into a family of British secret agents, 13-year-old Alice has undergone extensive training before her first mission is assigned. She and her mother parachute into Germany in 1944 and join her father in Berlin, where she quickly establishes her new identity as Ute Schnaubel at school and in the patriotic League of German Girls. Soon she’s assigned to help with housekeeping services for the Third Reich within their Berlin stronghold, a maneuver enabled by British intelligence, which wants Alice to report on Hitler’s emotional state. Meanwhile, she secretly befriends a homeless Jewish boy who forages in garbage cans for his food. After Hitler’s death, Alice’s family must immediately escape from Germany on their own. In this historical novel, Lasky makes the idea of a competent 13-year-old spy seem surprisingly convincing. The narrative has its moments of high tension when Alice plays her part as Ute. Somewhat disconnected from the main story, a subplot revolving around Alice’s estranged older sister is resolved in the end. A page-turner, particularly for readers intrigued by WWII. - Copyright 2021 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 10/08/2021 Gr 5 Up—Spies during World War II are front and center in Lasky's fourth story on this period. It's 1944 and Europe is struggling through the war. Thirteen-year-old Alice Winfield comes from a long line of spies, a special group of people called the Tabula Rasa who are skilled in many areas—but their distinctive feature is that they have faces one can't remember. Alice and her family fly from their native England to Nazi Germany, where she and her parents all have different intelligence assignments. Alice's older sister Louise has been left behind, as she retired from the family business and has undergone facial cosmetic surgery. Our main heroine performs her role impeccably, and she manages to get closer and closer to Hitler for her mission. After years of training, does she have what it takes to succeed and bring down Germany's most powerful and dangerous man? The storyline is very promising, but the text is difficult at times, with period words that are not often understood in context, plus a lot of German that readers might struggle with. The intended audience is middle grade, but at times the slow pace of the book and overall plot might be a hard sell for children in this age bracket. There are a few instances of body- and fat-shaming that are very off-putting, so readers should be forewarned. VERDICT Give to historical fiction lovers and purchase where WWII stories are popular.—Carol Youssif, Taipei American Sch., Taiwan - Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.