I finished reading Rose Under Fire in two days, and I had to finish it that quickly, because I couldn’t handle more nightmares. I loved the book, almost as much as I loved Code Name Verity, but whew… it was harrowing.
For those of you not living in the kidlit world, Rose Under Fire is Elizabeth Wein’s young-adult novel about a teenage American transfer pilot who is intercepted and arrested by the Germans, then imprisoned in Ravensbruck. To say the concentration camp setting was well-researched is a vast understatement. It was horrifyingly real.
Usually, when I finish a book I loved, I think, “I wish I had written that.” With Rose Under Fire, I thought, “thank God I didn’t have to write that.”
Interestingly, as I was reading the final chapter, my daughter was on the computer collecting the famous quotes of various children’s authors, for some project of hers. And just as I put my book down, she called out this quote to me:
You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.
― Madeleine L’Engle
I can’t imagine a better way to describe this particular work.