Girl in the Blue Coat – Monica Hesse

40726583. sy475 Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Published: 2016
Publisher: Little, Brown BFYR
Recommended Age: 13+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Mystery, World War II, Friendship, Grief


This book had more depth than I expected, without becoming too heavy or complex. Monica Hesse’s writing is very elegant and a pleasure to read. I have another book from here waiting on my desk – They Went Left – and now more than I ever I am curious and excited to see what new secrets it holds.

Girl in the Blue Coat is peculiar. Set during the Second World War in Amsterdam, its main character, Hanneke understands risk. After all, she is doing illegal work. But when she is asked to find a missing Jewish girl in grave danger, even she isn’t sure what the right course of action is.

This is a story about courage, stealth, determination, and grief. It’s not a story that sugar-coats dark events even if, despite everything, Hanneke remains in a position of relative security and control since she is not a Jew. It’s also not a predictable story. There is an intricate mystery plot around the disappearance of the young girl Hanneke is asked to find.

It is, however, a personal story. Hanneke’s reasons for even accepting such a dangerous and unpredictable mission are personal. Even when it gets tough and almost impossible to move further with the plan, Hanneke finds strength within herself and within her memories and past actions to keep fighting. I did sometimes wish it were more about greater morality than personal events that happened in Hanneke’s life, but I found the story moving nonetheless.


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