Resilience, retaliation and world-changing undercover work in Nazi Germany
Shortlisted for the Costa Children's Book Award 2018 | January 2019 Debut of the Month |
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.
The Costa Judges said : ‘A compelling, darkly thrilling debut - tense, cinematic and brilliant.’
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.
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.
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.
“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
|Publication date:||8th March 2018|
|Publisher:||Usborne Publishing Ltd|
|Suitable for:||13+ readers, YA readers|
|Genres:||Crime / Mystery, Thrillers|
|Recommendations:||Debuts of the Month, eBooks|
|Other Categories:||Costa Children's Book Award 2017, All Shortlists and Winners, Reviewed by Children|
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.More About Matt Killeen