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Orphan monster spy
2018
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When her mother is shot at a checkpoint in 1939 Germany, a blonde-haired, blue-eyed Jewish teen agrees to help a mysterious man who asks her to help the resistance against the Third Reich by posing as the daughter of a wealthy Nazi to gain access to a scientist's weapon designs. Simultaneous eBook. - (Baker & Taylor)

After her mother is shot at a checkpoint, Sarah, a Jewish teenager, agrees to help the resistance by posing as the daughter of a wealthy Nazi to gain access to the blueprints of a bomb that could destroy Western Europe. - (Baker & Taylor)

"Germany, 1939. After her mother is shot at a checkpoint, fifteen-year-old Sarah, finds herself on the run from a government that wants to see her, along with every other Jew, dead. Then she meets a mysterious man who needs Sarah to pull off a spy mission he can't attempt on his own: infiltrate a boarding school attended by the daughters of Nazi top brass, befriend the girl whose father is a high-ranking scientist, and find the blueprints to a bomb that could destroy the cities of Western Europe. With years of training from her actress mother in the art of impersonation, Sarah thinks she's ready. But nothing prepares her for her cutthroat classmates, and soon she's embroiled in a battle for survival unlike any she'd ever imagined--and fighting to hold onto her true self"--Jacket flap. - (Baker & Taylor)

Her name is Sarah. She's blonde, blue-eyed, and Jewish in 1939 Germany. And her act of resistance is about to change the world.

After her mother is shot at a checkpoint, fifteen-year-old Sarah meets a mysterious man with an ambiguous accent, a suspiciously bare apartment, and a lockbox full of weapons. He's part of the secret resistance against the Third Reich, and he needs Sarah to hide in plain sight at a school for the daughters of top Nazi brass, posing as one of them. If she can befriend the daughter of a key scientist and get invited to her house, she might be able to steal the blueprints to a bomb that could destroy the cities of Western Europe. Nothing could prepare Sarah for her cutthroat schoolmates, and soon she finds herself in a battle for survival unlike any she'd ever imagined. But anyone who underestimates this innocent-seeming girl does so at their peril. She may look sweet, but she's the Nazis' worst nightmare. - (Penguin Putnam)

Author Biography

Matt Killeen was born in Birmingham, in the UK, back when trousers were wide and everything was brown. Early instruction in his craft included being told that a drawing of a Cylon exploding isn't writing and copying-out your mother's payslip isn't an essay "about my family." Several alternative careers beckoned, some involving laser guns and guitars, before he finally returned to words and attempted to make a living as an advertising copywriter and largely ignored music and sports journalist. He now writes for the world's best loved toy company, as it wasn't possible to be an X-wing pilot. Married to his Nuyorican soul mate, he is parent to both an unfeasibly clever teenager and a toddler who is challenging his father's anti-establishment credentials by repeatedly writing on the walls. He accidently moved to the countryside in 2016. Follow him @by_Matt_Killeen. - (Penguin Putnam)

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Booklist Reviews

In 1939 Germany, 15-year-old Sarah and her mother try to escape to Switzerland, but her mother is killed at a checkpoint. Blonde, blue-eyed, and a talented gymnast, Sarah has been trained by her actress mother to assume whatever identity she needs to protect herself, because she is a Jew. Then Sarah meets a mysterious man at the train station who turns out to be a British spy. Captain Floyd takes Sarah under his protection, but he sends her on a mission: infiltrate a boarding school for daughters of top Nazi officers, befriend the daughter of a scientist, and steal the blueprints for a bomb. There's a plot twist around every corner, slow reveals of Sarah's past, and multiple cinematic moments, including a harrowing race through the forest. German phrases (translated and well-placed in context) add verisimilitude to the narrative. Fast-paced, cleverly constructed, and with references to real-life heroes, heroines, and villains, this promising debut will appeal to fans of historical fiction and spy stories. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews

A half-Jewish girl in Nazi Germany passes up a chance to escape in favor of the opportunity to screw with Nazis. Sarah's mother is shot as they try to flee, but a stranger in a dark warehouse gives the bleeding, grieving Sarah good advice to avoid detection. When Sarah later sees the stranger being harassed by the police, she interrupts her own planned escape to save him. Her new ally, she learns, is a British spy, and she defies his attempt to help her to freedom. Wouldn't it be better to stay and hurt the Nazis? Fifteen-year-old blonde Sarah looks not only Aryan but young: she's as small as an 11-year-old. Home-schooled by her mother (who was an actress before the Nuremberg Laws left her unemployed, alcoholic, and abusive), Sarah's skilled at playacting and languages. She's even turned her gymnastics experience into a kind of parkour to avoid anti-Semitic violence and steal food. In other words, she's a perfect spy. Disguised as the 13-year-old daughter of a Nazi official, she infiltrates an elite school. If she can befriend one of her classmates, the daughter of a nuclear physicist, she might save the Allies. Killeen's thriller is cold, exciting, and well-paced, but its major plot point—the physicist's independent development of a superweapon—is so James Bond it undercuts the real-world horror that was the Holocaust. Sarah's coming-of-age and psychological crisis are so well-drawn, however, that the plot's flaws are forgivable. A powerful, bleak, and penetrating portrait of an isolated young woman excelling in unimaginable danger. (Historical thriller. 13-16) Copyright Kirkus 2017 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews

Killeen's harrowing debut opens in August 1939, just after a 15-year-old Jewish girl named Sarah and her mother drive through a Nazi checkpoint in a German town. Sarah's mother dies in the crash, but Sarah evades capture thanks to Helmut Haller, aka Captain Jeremy Floyd, a British spy. Jeremy is attempting to prevent one of Hitler's scientists, Hans Schäfer, from building a nuclear bomb. He offers to help Sarah escape Germany, but she insists on joining his campaign. Posing as Haller's niece Ursula, Sarah enrolls at Rothenstadt, a Nazi boarding school. Her mission—befriending Schäfer's daughter, Elsa—proves more dangerous than either she or Jeremy imagined. Despite a dynamite premise, dizzyingly high stakes, and some devastating moments, Killeen's tale falls short of its potential. While the story's adult characters are complex and realistically flawed, Rothenstadt's residents read like mean-girl caricatures, and the frequency with which the intelligent, empathetic Sarah refers to herself as a dumme Schlampe ("stupid bitch") is off-putting and out of character. The book starts strong and ends with a bang, but the muddy middle highlights the paucity of plot. Ages 12–up. Agent: Molly Ker Hawn, Bent Agency. (Mar.)

Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly.

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