Review: GIRL IN THE BLUE COAT by Monica Hesse

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: April 5th, 2016
Series: N/A
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Genre(s): Historical Fiction
Synopsis from Goodreads:

An unforgettable story of bravery, grief, and love in impossible times

The missing girl is Jewish. I need you to find her before the Nazis do.

Amsterdam, 1943. Hanneke spends her days procuring and delivering sought-after black market goods to paying customers, her nights hiding the true nature of her work from her concerned parents, and every waking moment mourning her boyfriend, who was killed on the Dutch front lines when the Germans invaded. She likes to think of her illegal work as a small act of rebellion.

On a routine delivery, a client asks Hanneke for help. Expecting to hear that Mrs. Janssen wants meat or kerosene, Hanneke is shocked by the older woman’s frantic plea to find a person–a Jewish teenager Mrs. Janssen had been hiding, who has vanished without a trace from a secret room. Hanneke initially wants nothing to do with such dangerous work, but is ultimately drawn into a web of mysteries and stunning revelations that lead her into the heart of the resistance, open her eyes to the horrors of the Nazi war machine, and compel her to take desperate action.

Meticulously researched, intricately plotted, and beautifully written, Girl in the Blue Coat is an extraordinary, gripping novel from a bright new voice in historical fiction.

my rambles

Special thanks to The Novl for providing me with an advance copy of the book for review!

Girl in the Blue Coat is a truly unforgettable and utterly incredible story that will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading it. It’s a heartbreaking look at not only the impact of the horrors of the Nazis on Jews, but also on those who joined the resistance, or resisted on their own. It shines a light on the little known stories of the fighters in the Netherlands, and the underground resistance groups that did as much as they could to help others survive the war.

The moment this book popped up on my radar, I knew I had to read it. I’ve always been fascinated by WWII, and this book seemed like it would share yet another perspective that I’d never read from before. I learned so much that I never knew. The workings of the resistance groups were amazing, and the ways in which people rebelled against the Nazis in any way they could was extremely touching. Reading the author’s note on historical accuracy at the end of the book was even more illuminating. Trust me when I say that this story was so well researched, accurate, and beautifully written.

It’s really a story about love, friendship, and bravery. There are passages where Hanneke reflects back on a past romance, and lost friendship that she is trying to cope with while the main story is going on. Because of those past memories, I got a good sense of what shaped Hanneke to be a wary fighter, and what she was like before the war affected her life. I found this book to be unique in it’s focus on how the war and cruelty affected everyone, not just Jews. The friendships that were created for Hanneke from being thrust into her quest to find Mirjam, the missing Jewish girl, showed–dare I say it– a positive side to the war. But it also showed how the war tore people apart.

The story was fast paced, but lacked no emotion for want of more excitement. The book left me in awe for many reasons, but the build up to the end had a lot to do with it. I could tell that the way the story unfolded was clearly intricately planned out, and hints at the truth were dropped throughout the story — we just didn’t know it yet. I was very surprised at the complexity of the revelation. I was definitely not expecting the story to play out the way it did. But as I said before, none of the serious and extremely important issues were sacrificed for the fictional story.

I won’t be forgetting any of these characters any time soon. Girl in the Blue Coat was a stunning and heart-wrenching story showing a unique perspective on WWII, and the way it affected the lives of everyone during the time period. If you are interested in WWII books, or historical fiction, Girl in the Blue Coat should be at the top of your TBR!


Psst! I wrote a guest post on Ely’s blog as a part of a WWII blog event a little while ago sharing the 5 reasons why I was SO EXCITED to read this book. If my review hasn’t convinced you, go check that out! And be sure to check out the other posts from other amazing bloggers to find more WWII titles to add to your TBR!