Friday, May 2, 2014

Defy the Night - by Heather Munn & Lydia Munn

This is an amazing, intense story I couldn't put down!  It's told from the point of view of Magali, a fifteen-year-old girl living in France in 1941 when the French government is helping the Nazis, though the country is still free. They have created internment camps for Jews, Gypsies, etc. with barbed wire, armed guards, and not enough food to eat.  People are dying there every day and Magali wants to do something so badly to make a difference and fight back.  When she meets Paquerette, she finds her calling.  Paquerette works for an aid agency, who are allowed to go into the camps legally and have permission to take children out, as long as doctors and parents and the authorities agree.  She doesn't want to leave even one child behind who is allowed to go so she asks Magali if she would be willing to come help her.  They travel by multiple trains, watching over children of all ages, babies to teenagers. It's exhausting, terrifying work and Magali loves being the hero.  However, when she takes it too far and she puts lives at risk, will the people she cares about survive and will she ever be able to forgive herself?

This was such a fascinating story about true events you don't hear much about.  I loved learning more about what was happening in France at this time and what the whole atmosphere was like.  I felt I could relate to Magali's desire to do something to make a difference and I really admired her bravery and determination. She wasn't perfect, by far, and it was interesting to see her learning about the world and about herself as she not only grows up, but lives during such a harrowing time.  I think the fact the story was told in first person made it feel more personal and the feelings more intense because you feel like you're experiencing what Magali is.  There's a lot of action and excitement mixed in with intense emotions, which makes for a very gripping story.  It felt very realistic that Magali struggles with her faith and trying to understand how such horrible things can happen.  I definitely recommend this book and think it would be a great one for teens to read as well!

I received a free copy of this book from Kregel Publications in exchange for an honest review.

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