Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse


Amsterdam, 1943. Hanneke spends her days finding and delivering sought-after black market goods to paying customers, nights hiding the true nature of her work from her concerned parents, and every waking moment mourning her boyfriend, who was killed on the Dutch front lines when the German army invaded. Her illegal work keeps her family afloat, and Hanneke also likes to think of it as a small act of rebellion against the Nazis.

On a routine delivery, a client asks Hanneke for help. Expecting to hear that Mrs. Janssen wants meat or kerosene, Hanneke is shocked by the older woman’s frantic plea to find a person: a Jewish teenager Mrs. Janssen had been hiding, who has vanished without a trace from a secret room. Hanneke initially wants nothing to do with such a dangerous task but is ultimately drawn into a web of mysteries and stunning revelations—where the only way out is through.


Monday calls for more reviews of weekend reads, and this book definitely made my weekend wonderful!

Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse was a book I have been looking forward to reading for a good 2 months now. I was able to meet Monica Hesse this year at BookCon, and I had a wonderful time speaking with her!

There were so many things I absolutely loved about this book. A true 5 star rating. Here’s why:

The story was so incredibly unique. From the first page I read, I was completely hooked. I thought that I knew where the story would go, but I was completely wrong each time I guessed the future of Hanneke’s investigation. I was on the edge of my seat at all times.

Hanneke was such a fascinating person. It was such a cool thing to see her grow as a person throughout the book. At the beginning, it seemed as though Hanneke makes her decisions based on what Bas would do. She missed him. By the end, she seemed to know herself better. She makes decisions for herself. Go Hanneke.

I really loved learning about how many Jewish babies were sold off before deportation to concentration camps by the resistance. I also thought it was really cool how many college students put their lives in danger to be apart of the resistance against the Nazi’s during WWII occupation.

You all probably realize that N&I both love historical fiction. I was able to learn so much from the book. I find it so amazing when an author is able to tell a story and teach a lesson through their book. Monica Hesse went above and beyond my expectations of teaching a lesson. She showed me (and many other readers) an important world. A world so many people lived through WWII.

This book was beautifully written. When I saw that the book was 300 pages, I worried that the story would not be strong because of the shortish length. I was wrong, because the story was the perfect length. The writing seemed effortless.

I have no complaints about this novel. I know, you must be thinking of how great the book is.

If you are looking to learn something, or want to be “wowed,” go grab this book. I recommend it to anyone and everyone.

I hope Monica Hesse will continue to write stories like this one!

There is a wonderful article I read featuring Monica, Ruta Sepetys, and John Boyne because of their new releases in YA historical fiction.  I read that John Boyne, the author of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, just released a WWII book about a boy raised by the Nazi’s. I am going to hunt this book down the next time I am at the bookstore!

Thanks for listening (and happy reading!),

Sincerely, K


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