Reader Reviewed Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen

Orphan Monster Spy

Written by Matt Killeen

YA readers   Debuts of the Month   13+ readers   
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March 2018 Debut of the Month | In a Nutshell: Resilience, retaliation and world-changing undercover work in Nazi Germany

Stinging with drama, action and, above all, a relentless sense of urgency, this ruthlessly remarkable debut sees an indomitable Jewess go undercover.

When Sarah’s mother is shot dead, there’s no time for sentimentality, no time to grieve. Sarah must press on, “keep moving”, for her survival depends on it. She joins forces with the Captain, a man she discovers is part of the resistance against the Nazis, and Sarah will spy for him. To this end, she adopts a new identity. She becomes Ursula Haller, the “good little dumb National Socialist Monster”. The Captain secures her a place at a school attended by the daughters of top Nazis, and here she must befriend Elsa, whose father is a leading scientist. The conditions at the school are repugnantly cruel, but Sarah is sharp and strong beyond her fifteen years. Though her childhood was curtailed by her actress mother, and then by the Nazis, she’s defiantly resilient, and infiltrates the grand home and secret lab of a top SS scientist. Compelling and quick-paced, the writing - like Sarah’s character - is indelibly raw, and this is a fiercely gripping read. ~ Joanne Owen

A message from the author; "Through Sarah’s fictional adventures I want to illuminate this time and make it real for the reader. I want them to understand that history, to interrogate it and then question the events of today. Nobody should ever say “this couldn’t happen now” because it can and it does. As the philosopher George Santayana said, “ those who cannot remember the past
are condemned to repeat it.” Read more from Matt Killeen here.

Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to receive a sampler of this title to read and review. You can read their full reviews by clicking here.

  • Khadijah Ahmed - 'Sarah is a girl on the run from Nazi Germany. She's also a girl with a gift for acting; an uncanny talent, capable of getting her in and out of trouble. I loved Sarah's internal monologues. MUST read more! #orphanmonsterspy'
  • Amy Laws, age 16 - 'Action packed from the first page, this certainly seems like it will be a gripping read. Filled with mystery and tension, the opening of this book raises a lot of questions for me, and therefore, the opening was really gripping and engaging.'
  • Humaira Kauser - 'be one of those books that you curl up in the corner and read until it is finished.'
  • Edel Waugh - 'Sarah is a young Jewish girl from Germany on the run to safer ground at a dangerous time in history. Coming to the rescue of a man in danger the pair form an unlikely friendship that proves to be valuable to them both.'
  • Izzy Read, age 17 - 'A young Jewish refugee on the run in WW2 bound to set your heart racing while also being reminiscent of today’s issues.'
  • Jenny Bridgeman, age 12 - 'This is a book set in World War 2 about an orphan who may be more than just a girl trying to survive the war. It felt very real and emotional in this sampler! This is a really good start to a story.'
  • Jacob Vyle, Y12 - Thorp Academy - 'All in all, I would recommend this book.'

Win a Chaos Walking Goody Bag!

To mark the 10th anniversary of The Knife of Never Letting Go, the first of the awesome YA trilogy that launched Patrick Ness, we are giving away FIVE fantastic Chaos Walking goody bags. Each prizes includes a special collector's edition of The Knife of Never Letting Go, a t'shirt and a print!

Find all 3 anniversary editions in the Chaos Walking trilogy here.

To have a chance of winning one of these prizes click the button below. Please note that this draw is open only for UK residents and is free to enter, multiple entries from the same email address will only be counted once.

The draw closes on 9 April 2018. The winners will be notified by 23 April 2018.

Good luck!

Enter prize draw Draw closes: 09/04/2018


Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen

A teenage spy. A Nazi boarding school. The performance of a lifetime.

Sarah has played many roles - but now she faces her most challenging of all. Because there's only one way for a Jewish orphan spy to survive at a school for the Nazi elite. And that's to become a monster like them. They think she is just a little girl. But she is the weapon they never saw coming... with a mission to destroy them all.


“Set in a brilliant, terrifyingly-imagined third reich Germany, Orphan Monster Spy's Sarah sits alongside Lyra and True Grit's Mattie Ross as one of the best spiky, clever, daring, unyielding protagonists I've read.” Martin Stewart, author of the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize-longlisted Riverkeep

“Orphan Monster Spy delivers dark, disturbing truths, wrapped tight in a story that twists turns and threatens to stab you in the back. Both unforgiving and brilliant - a book to leave you breathless.” Non Pratt, author

About the Author

Matt Killeen was born in Birmingham, in the UK, back when trousers were wide and everything was brown. Several careers beckoned, some involving laser guns and guitars, before he finally attempted to make a living as an advertising copywriter and a 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.

Orphan Monster Spy is his first novel.

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Book Info


400 pages


Matt Killeen
More books by Matt Killeen


Usborne Publishing Ltd

Publication date

8th March 2018




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