Friday, June 27, 2014

Review: Rose Under Fire

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Stein
Companion Book to Code Name Verity
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: September 10th, 2013
Source: Library
Date Read: 6/20/14 to 6/26/14
368 Pages
Rating: 

While flying an Allied fighter plane from Paris to England, American ATA pilot and amateur poet, Rose Justice, is captured by the Nazis and sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious women's concentration camp. Trapped in horrific circumstances, Rose finds hope in the impossible through the loyalty, bravery and friendship of her fellow prisoners. But will that be enough to endure the fate that's in store for her?

Elizabeth Wein, author of the critically-acclaimed and best-selling Code Name Verity, delivers another stunning WWII thriller. The unforgettable story of Rose Justice is forged from heart-wrenching courage, resolve, and the slim, bright chance of survival.


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Congratulations Elizabeth Wein, for writing another fabulously heart-wrenching story about friendship that literally tore me apart. I don't know why I keep reading your depressing books. Why do I enjoy such sad writing?


Rose Under Fire is the companion novel, and I guess the sequel to Code Name Verity. Instead of Verity, we have Rose Justice, and American pilot from Pennsylvania staying in Europe to help with the war. Like Maddie (who we get to see again!), Rose is part of the ATA, or Air Transport Auxiliary. She basically taxis people from different places. After begging her uncle to set up a route to France, she finally gets her chance after Paris is liberated. But instead of coming back safe and sound, she ends up captured by the Germans, and sent to Ravensbruck, the notorious concentration camp for women.

I found Rose to be very relatable, because Rose is an American. She knows there's a war going on, but it never affected her and her family. During her time at the camp, she comes to realize that some of these people have a hard time remembering what it was like before. Yet even though she's somewhat out of the loop, she was still able to find a family within the group called the "Rabbits", a group of women that were experimented on for "research".

Not only does Rose Under Fire realistically portray the lives of the women living in Ravensbruck, the concentration camp in Germany for women, it also shows how important relationships can be in times of desperation. I absolutely loved all the "side characters" (I don't view them as side characters though). There's Rozayczka, or Roza, the Polish prisoner that later goes on to be Rose's best friend. Then Irina, a fighter pilot for the Soviets. Lisette, the camp mother of the family. And then lastly Karolina, the girl who always wanted to be a filmmaker. And then even though there were more side characters, I still remember each and every one of them.


When I told anyone at the Camp who I was, I'd say, "I'm Rose Justice. I'm a pilot."
When Roza first told me who she was, she'd said, "I'm Polish Political Prisoner 7705. I'm a Rabbit."

Rose Under Fire, for me, was easier to read than Code Name Verity. CNV had a bunch of plane terminology that I wasn't familiar with in the beginning. However, in Rose Under Fire, the details were more spread out and also weaved in with the dialogue. The amount of detail and research put into this book is incredible. I loved how the author managed to fit it all, while keeping me engaged and not bored.

And also, ROSE'S POEMS! They are scattered throughout the novel and I loved them!

On another note, Rose Under Fire actually didn't make me cry (but still, so many feels). It is depressing though, like you could tell with Rose's journal entries that she completely transformed from before the concentration camp to after she got back. That aspect really hit hard for me. Her writing used to be spunky and happy, like a normal teenage girl, like my writing, and then it become more sullen and realistic.


This book definitely deserves 5 stars, maybe even more than that. Every time I wasn't reading this, I caught myself thinking about what was going to happen next to Rose and her new family. And how was she going to escape? This book is an eye opener to what really happened in the concentration camps during WWII, especially since the author wrote most of the story based on eyewitness accounts. I definitely recommend this to anyone interested in WWII everyone.

15 comments:

  1. "Why do I enjoy such sad writing?" Lol. this is me..

    I keep seeing this in GR book recommendations. But I'm always having second thoughts in buying it. But you mentioned that there's a poem scattered. I'm a sucker for that. And your review convinced me! :) I have a question though, do I have to read CNV to fully understand the story? Do you think I should read that first?? :D

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    1. Yay I'm glad I convinced you!

      I'm not sure about that. I think it works either way. Sure, there's one character from Code Name Verity that appears, but it doesn't really affect the story that much. But then again, it gave me the feels so maybe you should read CNV first? But then I've seen some reviews that say CNV is so much better than Rose Under Fire, and that Rose Under Fire was bad compared to it. I don't knowwwww. I guess just read the one that you get your hands on first! Haha.

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  2. I love CNV, and I've been dying to read this book. I'm glad it's just as emotional and eye-opening as the first book, and I'm so excited to see Maddie again!

    - Kritika @ Snowflakes & Spider Silk

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    1. Yes you should definitely go read it! The material itself is just so saddening, and the writing just makes it even worse! (But in a good way).

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  3. "Like Maddie (who we get to see again!)" <--- THANKS A LOT FOR THAT. NOW I'M THINKING OF QUEENIE. NOW I'M CRYING.

    I'm too scared to read this...buuuut, I want to. That doesn't even make sense. So therefore it sums up my relationship with Elizbeth Wein's writing completely. Isn't there a 3rd book now? Agh. I need to get over my sadness and catch up.

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    1. THERE IS A THIRD BOOK????????? WHAT??????

      And yeah I understand you perfectly. You're scared to read this because it's going to make you cry and sob and be a emotional mess. Well, I am here to tell you yes, it will. BUT STILL READ IT ANYWAYS.

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  4. I cannot wait to get my hands on this one!
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

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  5. Okay, I have a physical ARC of this one, but I haven't touched it before. I just didn't feel compelled to do so for some reason *cringe* BUT I did make my grandmother read it. She loved it. I asked her why and she pretty much said the same reasons as you. And now I feel intrigued. I haven't really read a YA book, contemporary, in a WW2 settings. I want to feel the emotions you felt and see what you saw. I'm a crybaby too so I kinda cry easily, but how cares, gimme this book!

    Faye at The Social Potato Reviews

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    1. Yes DO IT! I can't wait to see what you think of the book! Especially all the characters and ROSE and augh the feels. The material itself, and then the authors writing, just, augh my heart.

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  6. I got really excited when you said this book is easier to understand (in terms of plane terminology) because that was one of my main problems with Code Name Verity. But I really really like the first so now I'm super eager to get my hands on this one. Plus, I kind of want to cry. ;)

    Summer @ MissFictional's World of YA Books

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    1. Haha there's still some plane terminology in here, but much much less. Instead there's a lot of details of concentration camps and WWII in general, but I got most of it. It read more like a memoir than a fiction book (though it is in diary form, like CNV)

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  7. YESSSSS.

    I SHALL NOW SIT IN SATISFIED SILENCE THAT YOU GAVE THIS BOOK FIVE STARS.

    Lol, but really, I'm so happy that you loved Rose Under Fire! Wasn't it just amazing?! I loved Rose as a main character as well, though I can't say I could relate to what she was going through exactly. Wein still did a wonderful job of creating a really realistic character all the same, though. Heh, I don't view them as side characters either. I didn't like Roza at first because of her sharp attitude, but then I grew to love her and that part in the book where Rose was despairing over how she'll never see Roza again was what had me crying. Oh, my poor heart. The best part is that a lot of the women Rose met in Ravensbruck were based on real women -- like, their names are the same and their stories, too. I just found that so fascinating.

    I didn't care much for Rose's poems, though. :P I'm not much of a poetry person, so that's probably why. Still, I adored this book a lot. Now I need to check out Code Name Verity!

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    1. IT WAS AMAZING! I loved Rose, and obviously I couldn't relate because I'm not from the era and never experienced a concentration camp, but I could relate in that she never knew the horrors of the war, or just brushed them off as propaganda. Being an American, she basically wasn't involved at all. BUT YES ALL THE CHARACTERS. When the diary ended, I was super mad because I thought I was never going to know what happened to Irina, Roza, and Lisette.

      I only paid attention to two of Rose's poems, The Subtle Briar, and then the one about hope that I can't remember at the moment. GO read Code Name Verity now!

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  8. I have seen this on NG but I didn't know that this is a companion novel for Code Name Verity...which I have not read but I've heard good things about! I'm so glad you ended up loving this one, the premise itself saddens me as I get depressed with anything that has to do with war but I'm glad that this was a realistic portrayal of that time and you were able to relate with Rose really well. Awesome review, as always, Val :)

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    1. Thanks Amir!! I know, I also get depressed with anything with war, but Code Name Verity and The Book Thief showed me how good these types of books can be (along with all the sobbing though).

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