Historical, Young Adult

She was an all American girl

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

rose under fire

The Skinny: 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? – From Goodreads

BFF?: Good golly I ADORED Rose! She reminded me of what we think Americans should be: spunky, proud, energetic, smart, witty. Basically… she was your all-American girl. So to see her in the situations she ended up in… broke my heart! I loved that despite her situation, she didn’t seem to lose much of herself during her time in the camp. She was flawed, yes, but I think she was flawed in the way a lot of us Americans can be – we think “We’re AMERICANS!” and are untouchable, invincible. Rose was just a girl… she didn’t have a hard life, she came from a loving family, she was on her high school basketball team and had friends and school everyday things. She could have been anyone you knew, so I think that made her struggle, and in the end her triumph, even more incredible because… THAT COULD HAVE BEEN ME! It could have been my best friend. Okay.. enough gushing over Rose. 🙂

Readability: I love how Elizabeth Wein incorporates different styles into her writing. While everything was most definitely written in Rose’s voice, each section of the book was written for a different reason, and you could easily feel Rose’s attitude and personality and state of being with every page.

Crush Level: 0
Nil. While there was a little bit of romance mentioned, it honestly wasn’t anything to write home about. That wasn’t the focus of this book and I was glad for it. I love a good romance, but sometimes I just want friendships. I want struggles and relationships with those who see you through them. This book was chock full of them – sans romance.

Bonus Points
I THINK this is what they were celebrating – Rose Under Fire is set at the very end of the war so this isn’t spoilery – but being right in the middle of it made me extremely jubilant… but at the same time sad. France, where most of this book is set, was destroyed by the war. People were destroyed by it. So to see them come together and rejoice that the war is over, that their lives can return, made me feel that I will never feel that kind of jubilation.. that kind of pride and excitement. My home will never be destroyed (unless all these dystopian novels start coming true) so I will never get to feel what the people of France did on VE-Day. Which is a good thing, I’m sure…

Alllllll the feelings

Commencement Speech: It’s exceedingly rare for me that I love a second book in a series or companion series more than the first. Usually I’m like a mom when it comes to them: I love each in their own special way. And while I’m certainly getting mom-like on this series, I’m going to have to say that my love for Rose Under Fire well exceeded Code Name Verity… and that’s saying a lot because I love that book to pieces!

What struck me was that these two books are so similar yet completely different. They both feature women pilots dealing with the war. They both have passionate MCs who you struggle with right alongside them. But somehow… I felt so much more of a connection to Rose. I felt so much more for her and I think it’s because her personality seemed to jump right off the pages. My heart ached for her constantly and I needed her story oh so much.

This book also opened up a new eye for me. I knew about the Holocaust. I knew the things that went on in concentration camps. But I didn’t KNOW about the Holocaust. I didn’t KNOW about what went on in concentration camps. The experimental surgeries, the insane punishments, the living conditions, the thievery and conspiracy… it was wild to read these things and, at times, insanely hard to keep going.

Yearbook Quote: “…my heart ached for her bravery.”

Superlatives – Most likely to make you have the ugly heart-breaking cries

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8 thoughts on “She was an all American girl”

  1. GAH, I need to read both of these books (Rose Under Fire AND Code Name Verity). Soon. Soon. After spending my summer visiting these concentration camps, I want to read all the Holocaust/WWII literature I can while the history is all still fresh in my brain. The fact that this is a story about an American caught up in at all is even more interesting, as that’s an angle I’ve never seen. Thanks for the review, Candice!


    1. There’s like an author’s note at the end of Rose Under Fire about how she actually went to the concentration camp and stayed there overnight or something. Which made this entire book even more chilling. I really think since you’ve visited the places you would probably “get” the horrors in them even more. They’re both VERY good!


  2. Always like to hear that a sequel/companion book is just as good or better than the original book. That makes me much more eager to start the series- I have the audio of CNV to listen to soon. When the friendships/relationships are done so well, it’s funny how you don’t really miss the romance, huh? You make this book sound amazing!


  3. I loved Code Name Verity, so I’m really looking forward to this release! I finally remembered to pre-order it so I should get it sometime next week. So excited!


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