I’m a history fan and devour any book that sheds light on either the Civil War or WWII. When Litfuse had an opening for the WWII based novel How Huge the Night, I signed up right away.
Heather Munn and Lydia Munn deliver a haunting look at the Nazi threat and eventual takeover through the eyes of teenagers. Julien starts off wanting to see action and not really understanding the seriousness of the Germans. Thrown together with another teen who had to flee his home Julien finds more action than he bargains for. Friends have to choose allegiances and Julien has to watch his mother who is still haunted from experiencing the same thing during the previous war.
Nina is a Jew with a leg/foot deformity who watches her father die. She follows his advice and leaves her home with her brother, but for her, it isn’t so easy. She must not only hide her religion, but her gender. She cuts her hair and turns herself into Niko in an effort to save her and her brother.
I won’t give anything more away because eventually Julien and Niko are going to meet and I thought it was a gripping story showing how teenagers in this era in Europe had to be so confused. Julien starts to see the German “Heil Hitler” salute from his friends and is upset, and we understand why. Yet for many of those boys during that time they were listening to their parents, or the propaganda. They didn’t know the evils, they thought they were getting a strong leader. I found the entire backdrop and constant conflict right at your heels devastating and fascinating at the same time.
If you’re a history fan this is a must but I recommend it for anyone who would love to read a WWII era book from a teen point of view. I thought that aspect was handled with excellence. The setting and imagery still has me believing I can see the hungry refugees and the school yard conflicts.
You won’t forget How Huge the Night. I don’t think you are supposed to.
About How Huge the Night:
Fifteen-year-old Julien Losier just wants to fit in. But after his family moves to a small village in central France in hopes of outrunning the Nazis, he is suddenly faced with bigger challenges than the taunting of local teens. Nina Krenkel left her country to obey her father’s dying command: Take your brother and leave Austria. Burn your papers. Tell no one you are Jews. Alone and on the run, she arrives in Tanieux, France, dangerously ill and in despair.
Thrown together by the chaos of war, Julien begins to feel the terrible weight of the looming conflict and Nina fights to survive. As France falls to the Nazis, Julien struggles with doing what is right, even if it is not enough-and wonders whether or not he really can save Nina from almost certain death.
Based on the true story of the town of Le Chambon-the only French town honored by Israel for rescuing Jews from the Holocaust-How Huge the Night is a compelling, coming-of-age drama that will keep teens turning the pages as it teaches them about a fascinating period of history and inspires them to think more deeply about their everyday choices.
Link to buy the book: http://www.amazon.com/How-Huge-Night-Heather-Munn/dp/082543310X/ref=sprightly-20
This book was provided to me through Litfuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review.