The Spy with the Red Bal­loon

Foreword Reviews - - Reviews Juvenile / Young Adult - CATHER­INE THURESON

Kather­ine Locke Al­bert Whit­man & Com­pany (OC­TO­BER) Hard­cover $17.99 (368pp), 978-0-8075-2934-8

Filled with ex­cit­ing history and won­der, The Spy with the Red Bal­loon cen­ters on Ilse and Wolf, two Jewish, Ger­man-amer­i­can youths liv­ing in 1943. They have a closely guarded se­cret: there is magic in their blood.

When the gov­ern­ment finds the sib­lings, they are black­mailed into vol­un­teer­ing their ser­vices in the war ef­fort. Wolf is sent into Ger­many to de­stroy Ger­many’s nu­clear labs. Ilse is sent to Ten­nessee with three other magic-users to man­i­fest a nu­clear bomb.

Blend­ing his­tor­i­cal fic­tion, ac­tion, sus­pense, and mag­i­cal re­al­ism, the story is in­tri­cate and rich. It switches be­tween Ilse and Wolf’s per­spec­tives, ex­plor­ing a mul­ti­tude of emo­tional and moral is­sues, in­clud­ing racism and LGBTQ equal­ity.

Of the four peo­ple in Ilse’s group, Stella, who is black, is treated dif­fer­ently from the rest, though she is the smartest mem­ber of the team. Ilse is sur­prised to find her­self at­tracted to an­other team­mate, Polly. The en­tire mag­i­cal team is also forced to grap­ple with the ethics of us­ing their in­tel­lec­tual and mag­i­cal gifts in ser­vice of delivering a weapon of mass de­struc­tion.

Wolf’s chal­lenges are just as daunt­ing. He is in love with his best friend, Max; when the two end up on the same mis­sion, he is torn be­tween pro­tect­ing Max and com­plet­ing the mis­sion goals. He and his team face de­ci­sions of life and death when it comes to the Nazi sol­diers they en­counter in Ger­many, as well as with civil­ian work­ers at the sites they are sup­posed to bomb.

The Spy with the Red Bal­loon is an en­ter­tain­ing and thought­ful se­quel.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.