Resistance: Book 1

4 06 2012

As this book explains, World War II began in 1939 when Russian and Germany invaded Poland.  A year later, the Germans invaded France.   It was no time at all before the Nazis had control over the country, and France was divided in two – occupied France, controlled by Germany, and Vichy France, controlled by a puppet government out of the city of Vichy.

Neither was a dream situation, but being in occupied territory was much worse.  Soon after the country was under German control, a resistance started up, regular folks organizing together to help restore things to the way they were.  Of course, some French people agreed with the German ideas, and betrayed their friends and neighbors.

The afterward of the book explains that there’s virtually no written history of the French resistance movement, writing things down would have put the rebels at greater risk.  Some of their plans worked, while some failed.  Some of the resistance fighters lived, others were captured.  All we really know is that thousands of brave people, young and old, men and women, Jews and Christians, fought the Nazis in their own way.

This graphic novel (the first in a three part series) tells the story of one small band of resistance fighters.  The story focuses on Paul and Marie Tessier (brother and sister about 12 and 9 years old), their Jewish neighbor Henri, their older sister Sylvie, and Sylvie’s love interest Jacques.

When their small French village was over run by Germans, Henri’s parents were captured.  Henri was relaxing by the pond and missed by the Germans, so Paul and Marie take it upon themselves to hide him from the Nazis.  Accidentally, the siblings stumble upon some members of the resistance, who see the benefit to having innocent, unsuspected children working for them.   Before they know it, the Tessiers are in the middle of it all.

Honestly, this book is really good, because it exposes a part of history that most people aren’t aware of.  Most young adult WWII books focus on the Holocaust, DDay, or Pearl Harbor.  I’ve don’t remember seeing any other that focus on these types of events.

However, on it’s own, the book is pretty unsatisfying.  It’s unclear how “real” the story is, if the French resistance actually included young children like Paul and Marie, so it’s hard to 100% buy into it.  Also, because there’s two more books in the series, this one leaves you hanging at the end.  Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed the story – it was exciting and interesting – but I wish I had book 2 sitting here to see what happens.

This summer I’m on a quest to read 90 books in 90 days.  This was #17.

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