September 2012

A real boy’s Resistance

By Margi Preus
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Margi Preus, who won a Newbery honor for Heart of a Samurai, returns with another riveting work of historical fiction. Shadow on the Mountain tells the story of the Nazi occupation of Norway through the experiences of a boy named Espen and his younger sister, Ingrid.

The story begins in 1940, when 14-year-old Espen begins taking tentative steps to help the resistance. Espen has no doubts whatsoever where his allegiance lies, but he finds that some of his friends and classmates think differently. Why is his best friend Kjell riding in a car with soldiers? And how far will his soccer teammate Aksel go to please the occupying soldiers?

Shadow on the Mountain covers nearly five years in Espen’s life, as he takes on increasingly dangerous assignments. Preus captures the tension, fear and determination of Espen and Ingrid, and recounts the changes that take place as normal life disappears.

This fine novel, which includes an author’s note, a timeline, a bibliography and even a recipe for invisible ink, is based on extensive research. Preus had the opportunity to interview Erling Storrusten, who was a teenager in the town of Lillehammer during the Occupation, and many of the incidents are based on his experiences. The result is an authentic coming-of-age story, perfect for readers fascinated by the diary of Anne Frank or Lois Lowry’s classic, Number the Stars.

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