Rose Under Fire: A Book Review


Rose Under Fire

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

Summary: While flying an Allied fighter plane from Paris to England, American ATA pilot and amateur poet, Rose Justice, is captured by the Nazis and sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious women’s concentration camp. Trapped in horrific circumstances, Rose finds hope in the impossible through the loyalty, bravery and friendship of her fellow prisoners. But will that be enough to endure the fate that’s in store for her?

{kindly taken from Goodreads}

My Thoughts: Over the summer, I read the outstanding book, Code Name Verity, and I have raved about it ever since. It was so, so well-written, and I can definitely say that it will be one of my favorite books of the year. It can be very difficult to live up to such an amazing debut, but I honestly shouldn’t have expected anything less from Elizabeth Wein. Rose Under Fire, her second novel, made me cry multiple times, and that never happens. The author told an often terrifying and tragically beautiful story, and once again, I was blown away. Can I put both of Wein’s books on my best of 2013 books? :)

Rose Justice was an America pilot, when the Nazis captured her and sent her to a women’s concentration camp. There, she met many remarkable women, all of which had their own story to tell. Now, out of the camp, it’s Rose’s turn to tell the world her experience. One of the toughest things while reading this, for me anyways, was that almost everything in this book was true. The horrible, awful conditions Rose and her friends were put under, the injuries and destruction caused to their bodies, and the mental distress that came out of just being in a concentration camp were all things that actually happened, and it broke my heart to read about it all. And, as the author noted, Rose’s experience was only one tiny piece of the puzzle. There were so many directions that Wein could have gone in, but she focused on a specific group called the Rabbits. The girls in this group were tested on by doctors who were in search of ways to murder people. Absolutely insane, friends, that this actually took place. World War II is Elizabeth Wein’s specialty, and it clearly showed in all of the research put into the story. I appreciated that she tried to stay as genuine to the actual events as possible, with a few adjustments here and there.

Rose’s narration is strong, and the plot itself is well-developed. I can’t say that this is a quick read – it took me a solid week to finish. In part, I think, this is because I had to stop every few chapters to take in the events. It’s a heavy story, so keep that in mind and bring some tissues. As Rose tells her story, she brings even the simplest scenes to life. I also loved that everyone, even those who at first seemed “bad,” had another side to them. It brought a lot of dimension to even some of the minor characters.

I could go on forever about this outstanding novel, but I would have to stop at some point. Please, do yourself a favor, and check out this one. It may not be everyone’s favorite, but it is a story that needs to be heard.

Pros: Impressive character development and a strong, consistent voice throughout.

Cons: I had a similar problem with Code Name Verity in that it takes a bit to get into the story. Nothing major, but don’t give up without reaching page fifty or so first.

Heads Up: Not for people with a weak stomach. Plenty of fairly graphic descriptions, but everything is based after reality.

Overall: I give it 5 stars {*****} and I recommend it for ages 14 and up.

Have a lovely night!

5 thoughts on “Rose Under Fire: A Book Review

  1. […] It’s not wrong to say that Elizabeth Wein is the queen of YA historical fiction, as each of her newer releases deliver in character development, complex storylines, and accurate suspense. I recommend them all {my reviews for Code Name Verity and Black Dove, White Raven can be found here and here}, but I believe Rose Under Fire is her best. It’s by no means easy to read, but it’s an excellent choice to learn more about WWII and the horrific concentration camps. {review} […]


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