Projekt 1065: A Novel of World War II - Alan Gratz

World War II is raging. Michael O'Shaunessey, originally from Ireland, now lives in Nazi Germany with his parents. Like the other boys in his school, Michael is a member of the Hitler Youth.

But Michael has a secret. He and his parents are spies.

Michael despises everything the Nazis stand for. But he joins in the Hitler Youth's horrific games and book burnings, playing the part so he can gain insider knowledge.

When Michael learns about Projekt 1065, a secret Nazi war mission, things get even more complicated. He must prove his loyalty to the Hitler Youth at all costs -- even if it means risking everything he cares about.

Including... his own life.

This is an incredibly taut thriller, made even more engrossing and gut-wrenching due to the fact that so many of the events are real. Michael is a young boy in Germany, the son of Irish spies (and a spy in his own right), trying to do all that he possibly can to help defeat the Nazis and end the war. While a number of instances in the book are very convenient in terms of the connections between certain characters and events, the novel as a whole is really strong and will be incredibly popular with young fans of the spy thriller genre.

Gratz's pacing is superb and the action does not affect character development as can be the case in some plot-driven books. Michael's relationship with Fritz, a young and defenceless boy who eventually becomes a Nazi zealot, makes up the core of the book, tying together the motivations and tools that Michael and his family need to succeed. Sometimes the connections seem convenient, but overall they work to create a solid feeling of suspense.

Projekt 1065 was a real Nazi project, as were a number of other projects and events throughout the book, much of which Gratz discusses in a very thorough Author's Note at the end of the text. I definitely Recommend this novel!

(NOTE: This review is from an Advance Reading Copy - Out Oct. 11, 2016)

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