Michael O’Shaunessey appears to be the average teenager, but nothing could be further from the truth. During World War II, Michael is a 13-year-old from Ireland. However, to blend in with the others, he must join the Hitler Youth, participate in book burnings, and take part in all the Nazi games. However, he despises having to play this role and does so only to get insider information about Nazi secrets. In this book, Michael is shown evolving into a formidable spy, until he must make a precarious friendship with a boy named Fritz. This is done so that Michael can steal the plans of a German bomber jet to give to the English, but in exchange, he creates a monster willing to kill all his friends and die for Germany. In the end, will Michael be able to help the Allies, or will he have to sacrifice everything that he stands for?
I feel that this is an enjoyable and interesting novel. The plot was set up in a way that made me want to read until the end to discover the endings of all the cliffhangers. I believe that characters were well developed and had interesting personalities. The different situations were suspenseful with plenty of foreshadowing and detail. The overall mood is serious, but there are glimpses of humor that adds to the overall quality. The writing itself was both fluent and easy to comprehend. Overall, this was a good read and I would recommend it to a friend.
Much of this book was powerful, but a particularly memorable aspect was the themes. Throughout the story, there are strong motifs and underlying morals that inspire the audience, even within a novel of mainly historical significance. For example, there are themes of friendship, deception, and bravery; I was surprised that so much could be emphasized this precisely in historical fiction.
Reviewed by Shivram, Grade 9, Gayton Library