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The boy who dared
Susan Campbell Bartoletti
Children's Fiction BARTOLE

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Returning to material she uncovered while researching Hitler Youth, Bartoletti offers a fictionalized biography of Helmuth Hubener, a Hamburg teenager who, in February 1942, was arrested for writing and distributing leaflets that denounced Hitler. Almost nine months later, on October 27, at the age of 17, Hubener was executed for treason. Opening her story on Hubener's last day, Bartoletti frames the work as third-person flashbacks, casting over the narrative a terrible sense of doom even as she escalates the tension. She does an excellent job of conveying the political climate surrounding Hitler's ascent to power, seamlessly integrating a complex range of socioeconomic conditions into her absorbing drama of Helmuth and his fatherless family. The author also convincingly shows how Helmuth originally embraces Hitler. His disillusionment seems to come a little too easily; American readers may wonder why Helmuth's reactions were not more common. But that question resolves itself as the author exposes the chilling gap between her own admiration for her subject and reflections, discussed in an afterword, from those who knew Helmuth, as in this comment from his older brother: "He should have known better than that.... A sixteen-year-old boy cannot change the government." Ages 11-up. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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main characters Helmuth Hubner
Hears that Germany is lying to people; tries to spread the word, but is captured and tried for treason; is waiting in jail to be killed; life starts to flash before his eyes.

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