Wednesday, October 26, 2011

From the Backlist: For Freedom: The Story of a French Spy, by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (Delacorte Press, 2003)

      Recommended for ages 10-14 

The Fourth Musketeer has been very busy finishing up her library school e-portfolio (now waiting for review by her advisor) and has not had as much time for blogging lately.  Now that her school work is finished, she will be back to blogging about historical fiction again:  all for one, and one for all!
Today, I am pleased to feature an excellent backlist title about World War II by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley.  I am looking forward to reading her newest book, Jefferson's Sons (on my list to find from the library!), which has had excellent reviews so far. 

Based on a true story, For Freedom tells the tale of 13-year old Suzanne, an aspiring opera singer and student in Cherbourg, France.  When the Germans bomb her town, she and her best friend are injured and witness the horrible death of a neighbor.  Rather than give in to fear, Suzanne becomes a spy for the French resistance, carrying messages that help the Allies plan the invasion of Europe.  Her work is extremely dangerous and often terrifying, and she is one of the few operatives from her unit to survive the war.  Not even her family can know about her dangerous work.

This novel is an excellent first-person narrative of an ordinary teenager who discovers an inner courage that helps her to play a part in defeating the Nazis, even though she must keep her role a secret from all her family and friends and pretend to carry on as normally as possible.  This novelization of a true story is very suspenseful and a great book to recommend to students since it has a very positive message of how a young girl could demonstrate great courage in extraordinary circumstances.

This book could easily be featured in a display or perhaps a book talk about spies, a subject very popular with young people.  Couldn't you just imagine: Beyond James BondSpies Real and Imaginary.  A great book talk for teens or tweens!  

What are some of your favorite spy stories for young people?  Please leave your favorites in a comment below.


Elaine said...

I loved this book, however I wish the description of the neighbor's death wouldn't have been so graphic. For that reason, I wouldn't let my tween read it. It was gruesome enough that Suzanne's friend never spoke again...not something I want to expose my sensitive child to, even in written form. However, I personally LOVED the book and retold the story to my girls. Have you read The Lacemaker and the Princess by the same author? It's a good book too, about the French Revolution, and I think more appropriate for tweens.

Fourth Musketeer said...

Yes, I understand your concerns about the graphic nature--goes with the subject, I'm afraid. I'm also a huge fan of The Lacemaker and the Princess--I love anything about Versailles and I thought the author did a great job with that book. I also really liked her newest title, Jefferson's Sons--I wish the Newbery Committee had given it at least an Honor.