Author: Elizabeth Wein
Publisher: Electric Monkey/Egmont
Date of Publication: February 6th 2012
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Before reading this, I'd waited for it for a whole six months in the library before it turned up from somewhere on the other side of the city, so when I finally got it, I almost squealed in the middle of the library. But I didn't as it was a library.
I love historical fiction, even though I don't regularly read it, particularly WWII. I found every single page interesting from the start, and there was such an amazing balance of description, dialogue and action that I couldn't tear myself away till I had to. Another thing that made it grip me was the different medias in it, such as newspapers, forms etc, the underlining of words that made it seem like a real diary.
It was very obviously a war setting from the second page. Throughout the book there's a lot about propaganda, women's rights, culture... But Wein set the scene, and the war, so well that you knew exactly what was going on, and felt almost at home with it. There's also a lot about the funny side of the war, the taking the mick out of some of the political developments and having some light-hearted fun in the heavy tension of the war. A lot of it was slightly adult, ironic humour, but I understood and enjoyed it anyway.
The fact that Verity has been captured and is having to write about the war doesn't affect it. It appears like she's writing it at the time, and just running out of paper then and there. It shows the pressures of the war, the events and times, and I can imagine a lot of research went into the book.
I think the only negative thing about it, to me, was the length. But that's really just me; I have trouble getting through books over around 350 pages, especially in this category of writing.
Verity as a character was a perfect protagonist to me. She was very transparent, but had hints of mystery and bitterness where needed, and showed her emotions so clearly it made me cry. I also loved Maddie! She was funny, accomplished and just all roundly lovely. I loved the fact that Wein had created her characters so perfectly.
A few quote loves...
"They have WASHED MY HAIR...... Now I stink of explosives,
but I have not got nits."
"(You see- it was just like being in school)."
I thought these two quotes had that ounce of irony and light-hearted humour that just made this book for me.
So overall, this was very almost perfect to me. I loved the transparency of it, and how beautifully written both the plot and the characters were.