Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein
Review by Lauren
copy from my sister; all opinions are my own
Official Summary: 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?
Review: I actually read this book about a month ago, but I decided to hold out on reviewing the book until Holocaust Remembrance Week. Rose Under Fire is the companion novel to the wonderful Code Name Verity (my review here) and they are both books that should be recognized this week for heartbreakingly realistic stories about young girls fighting in WWII. I would recommend reading Code Name Verity first though, as important plot points are mentioned in Rose Under Fire.
However, back to the book at hand. I obviously loved the latest by Elizabeth Wein and I honestly cannot tell you what book is my favorite. Both of these focus on young women thrust into horrible situations in which they must draw on their own strength and courage. Rose Under Fire is the only one that focuses on concentration camps in depth though, and I find it most fitting for this week. Rose is the definition of the idea that bravery isn’t about not being scared, but being scared and still fighting. Rose is terrified and fully believes that she will not survive Ravensbrück, the women’s concentration camp she ends up in.
Despite that, she finds herself growing close to the other girls in her bunk, who they call Rabbits, as they were experimented on in the name of science by the Nazis. She fights back in her own way. She does what she can to keep hers and others spirits up, especially by using her talent of creating poems. She can’t write them down, but she can write them in her head and recite them aloud. These poems are wonderfully done and included throughout the book. It doesn’t take long when reading this book to learn the fate of Rose, but I still don’t want to reveal it here. It’s always better to find that out for yourself, so be sure to read this book before anything truly big is spoiled.
Overall, this was a beautifully written book. It is easy to read, in terms of the writing, yet difficult to read, in terms of the emotion. This is a fictional book, but things like this did happen during WWII and that thought is always with you as you read. You are horrified by the things that occur in this book, but it’s not a fantasy book you can feel safe from. Holocaust Remembrance Week is an important event, but this period in our history is never forgotten and books like Rose Under Fire continue to show new generations just why it should always be remembered.