About the Book:
In the midst of war, one teenager is determined to make a difference.
If no one will do anything, she’ll have to do it herself.
In 1941 France is still “free.” But fifteen-year-old Magali is frustrated by the cruel irony of pretending life is normal when food is rationed, new clothes are a rarity, and most of her friends are refugees. And now the government is actually helping the Nazis. Someone has got to do something, but it seems like no one has the guts–until Paquerette arrives.
Smuggling refugee children is Paquerette’s job. And she asks Magali to help.
Working with Paquerette is scary and exhausting, but Magali never doubts that it is the right thing to do. Until her brash actions put those she loves in danger.
You can purchase a copy at Kregel’s website.
Historical books, whether fact or fiction, intrigue me – this book had several factual events but names and places were changed and Defy the Night is one of those books that will stay with you long after you close the cover. I read How Huge the Night back in 2011 and that book sort of starts the reader off, however you don’t have to read it to figure out what is going on in Magali Losier’s (Julien’s sister from How Huge the Night) life. Magali is 15 years old and wants to do something – anything to help those who are caught up in the war that doesn’t seem to be affecting her small French town. Her parents are resistant to her pleas but eventually, even though it’s a selfish act, relent and let her travel with Paquerette to an internment camp (before camps became death AKA concentration camps) to rescue the children who are being released. This of course means a whole network of people who write fake documents, teaching the children their new names, and more – all of which Magali is unaware of until she finds a local girl who is helping.
I found it very hard to like Magali’s character – she is whiny, she thinks she is better, smarter, more world wise than others and even gets mad at a friend when she is taken on a rescue mission over her. However, she is 15 and I can understand that she wants to do something instead of sit at home and help her mother who is plagued with migraines. I won’t give spoilers but I will say I did like seeing how Magali transforms herself and even begins to own her faith and lets God lead her to how she is supposed to help. Filled with details about the internment camps, nothing too descriptive and I’d feel safe giving this to my 12 year old to read, but enough that it gets the point across as to how horrible these places were and mothers were so wanting to have a hope that their child or children would survive would release them to organizations – some to never know or see their children again.
It wasn’t a quick read – it is very detailed so some areas were a bit long and drawn out but I can understand the reasoning behind it because if we didn’t have some of the descriptions we would lose some of what the book has to teach us. While I didn’t get attached to the characters in the book, Magali was just frustrating and my 12 often is more mature than this girl is – I enjoyed it for the history that I didn’t learn. We all know about concentration camps but I had no idea that there were relief organizations who rescued children, Jewish, Gypsy, mentally ill or handicapped from camps – it was the Nazi way of trying to get citizens to see them as caring – before the real truth came out. The brave people who worked this network, reminds of those who worked the Underground Railroad, it took faith, guts and a lot of prayer to do a good work – even though it was ‘legal’ to get the children out if they got caught with fake papers and found out, it would all end. If you enjoy books set in the time frame of WW2 then definitely this book will give you a dimension to that war.
(c) 2014, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws