Title: Orphan Monster Spy
Author: Matt Killeen
Pages: 400 pages (Paperback)
P.O.V: 3rd person
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Publication Date: March 8th, 2018 (Expected)
Publisher: Usborne Publishing Ltd
A Jewish girl-turned-spy must infiltrate an elite Nazi boarding school in this highly commercial, relentlessly nail-biting World War II drama!
After her mother is shot at a checkpoint, fifteen-year-old Sarah–blonde, blue-eyed, and Jewish–finds herself on the run from a government that wants to see every person like her dead. Then Sarah meets a mysterious man with an ambiguous accent, a suspiciously bare apartment, and a lockbox full of weapons. He’s a spy, and he needs Sarah to become one, too, to pull off a mission he can’t attempt on his own: infiltrate a boarding school attended by the daughters of top Nazi brass, befriend the daughter of a key scientist, and steal the blueprints to a bomb that could destroy the cities of Western Europe. With years of training from her actress mother in the art of impersonation, Sarah thinks she’s ready. But nothing prepares her for her cutthroat schoolmates, and soon she finds herself in a battle for survival unlike any she’d ever imagined.
“Sarah knew better than to judge by appearances. Young and old, tall and short, ugly and beautiful, fit and crippled- Sarah knew them to be equally capable of goodness, or in her experience, equally vicious and horrible.”
‘Orphan Monster Spy’, the debut novel Matt Killeen is a young-adult historical fiction in the backdrop of The Holocaust. The protagonist in the story is Sarah, a fierce, clever Jew with an Aryan appearance, who has nothing to lose.
Fleeing her mother’s brutal death she finds herself all alone in this dangerous world, where people like her is not wanted. When she comes across a mysterious man who turns out to be a spy, she finally finds a purpose of her life. She realises that she does not want to flee her Fatherland but wants to serve a greater purpose. Trained by her mother by the art of theatre, she makes the world her stage. Locking away all her emotions in a black box in her mind, she puts them in use just when needed. She is quick and sly and just like that a little monster is born.
The plot development is steady at the beginning and sucks you in right away. Sarah’s character was praise worthy. She taking down her enemies oh so fiercely was a treat to read. But the plot development seemed to wander and fizzle in the middle of the book and then again gained momentum towards the end. Also, I expected a, lot more of spying (because you know, the title!!).
The ending was packed with drama. It kept me reading without stop. I hope it is made into a series and we get to see more of the action and a hell lot more of spying.
Sarah’s character was quite well developed and it was easy to feel her emotions. Though other characters like that of the Captain’s and more so of Elsa’s needed more attention.
The writing style was witty and intense. Much enjoyable. It will keep you interested throughout. Facts about how Jews were portrayed in front of the ‘pure’ German race would intrigue you and to read about the social and personal conditions and injustice (all over again that is) of the time would disturb you.
All over this is indeed a good read and will leave you wanting for more. Recommended.
My Rating: 4/5
‘Orphan Monster Spy’ will be available in audiobook, paperback, hardcover and e-book.